Nonagenarian film director takes the Gandhian way

 
T K Menon shows a photograph of his film Batohi (1946). PTIT K Menon, born and brought up in Kerala, had directed yesteryear actors Bharat Bhushan, Bhagwan Dada and actress Krishna in a Hindi film ‘Batohi’ which was released in 1946.

He now lives all alone in Kuttikode village some 40km from here and has adopted the self-reliant way of living.

“I have chosen to live this way... as Gandhiji used to,” Menon, who was born on August 25, 1911, said.

Away from his family and children, Menon cooks and does the household chores himself and brightens up when asked about his glittery days in Mumbai. “He lives his life as an astute Gandhian. He tells us at times that Gandhi’s way of life should be followed,” his grandson Binoy B Nair, who works as an assistant professor of Physics at Coimbatore, said.

Nair added, “He lives alone, cooks his food and hardly meets anyone. A maid occasionally visits him to give him groceries and vegetables”.

Menon has a huge collection of photographs of his film ‘Batohi’ and has kept them carefully preserved in a polythene sheet in his four-room single-storeyed house here.
“I loved Hindi films a lot and hence I ran away from my home here to Mumbai leaving my under-graduate studies midway,” he said, adding, “I distributed my films myself and also travelled to Sri Lanka in connection with my work”.

The nonagenarian fondly remembers his ‘film days’ when he was featured on the pages of film magazines like Blitz and quips that “those days I looked good but now I have this long white beard”.

“I have not watched films for a long time, the last Hindi cinema I watched was a black and white movie, possibly it had Raj Kapoor as the protagonist,” he said, regretting his weak memory due to old age.

Menon had completed his second Hindi film ‘Chabeela’ in 1948 but could not release it for reasons he does not remember now. “There was a rumour sometime back that I died but I am happy to be alive,” the former filmmaker, who returned to his home state in 1980, adds with a grin.

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