Kochi: Acclaimed Malayalam film director Kamal today said his biopic 'Celluloid', which will hit theatres on February 15 2013, is a tribute to J C Daniel, considered the father of Malayalam cinema. Daniel was 'sidelined' by history and the film is a touching tribute to the filmmaker who died unsung.
Kamal told reporters after a preview of the film, which has Prithviraj playing the lead role of Daniel and Mamata Mohandas essaying the role of his wife Janet.
The movie is directed, scripted and co-produced by Kamal, who says he could not give any assurance to his producers that it would do well at the box office.
Daniel was the first filmmaker of Kerala who produced, directed, wrote, photographed, edited and acted in the silent film 'Vigathakumaran' (The Lost Child).
In 1926, he established the first film studio in Kerala and made the film, which was exhibited in Capitol Theatre in Thiruvananthapuram on November 7, 1928. P K Rosie, a Dalit convert, was his heroine, who portrayed the character of an upper caste Nair girl.
'Vigathakumaran' ran into trouble after a few shows some people were aghast that a Dalit girl had been picked to do the role.
Prithviraj, who was also present at the press meet, said he was happy to essay the role of Daniel. The actor said he had read a lot of books on Daniel and done some research to know more about the character he was portraying on screen.
Prithviraj portrays a young Daniel with dreams of making it big in films and his later life as a forgotten old man, unwanted by his children.
The actor is also cast as the youngest son Harris Daniel, who had burnt the reels of the historical film as a six year old, thus not leaving any trace of the film.
Prithviraj says he is optimistic that those who love cinema would definitely watch the film.
Reality show singer Chandini debuts as the Dalit girl in 'Celluloid' who never sees herself on screen. Kamal, who saw her on the small screen, decided to cast her as Rosie.
Veteran actor Sreenivasan portrays the role of film journalist Chelangatt Gopalakrishanan due to whose efforts it was proved 'Vigathakumaran' was the first Malayalam film and Daniel its director, producer and cinematographer.