Thrissur: Raising a wall of a different kind was the talk of the state for the past few days and that had kicked up a political row or two. But there is an old wall, rather a gigantic one, quite aptly known as ‘aana palla’ (elephant belly), which the politicians like to keep off for certain obvious reasons.
The wall surrounding the famous Vadakkunnathan Temple here was a hunting ground for politicians to put up their poll graffiti. Whenever elections were announced during the early days, political workers used to scramble to get a space on the wall behind the Vidyarthi Corner. Everyone eyed this portion as people coming from Karuppam Road and Swaraj Round could have a good view of the posters and writings on this side of the wall.
Many political leaders such as Achutha Menon and A R Menon tasted success after their names were splashed on the ‘aana palla’. But later things changed for the worse as many, whose graffiti were put up on the wall, had to bite dust.
NDP candidate Mannathu Venugopala Menon, K J George of the Janata Party and the CPM’s C L Varky were defeated in the elections after their names found place on the ‘aana palla’ as part of the poll campaign. Slowly word went around that it was inauspicious to have campaign doodles on the wall, and the politicians started to keep ‘aana palla’ at bay when it came to poll campaigning.
Election writings on the ‘aana palla’ wall were allowed till 1980 but later they were banned.
The top portion of the ‘aana palla’ wall resembles an elephant belly and the structure is as old as the Vadakkunnathan Temple. During Thrissur Pooram, people sit on this wall to watch the festivities.
Unencumbered VIP plot
Kerala Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar’s home in Anthikad near here has no boundary walls. When asked about it, the minister said, “There should not be any wall for houses. I have more faith in people rather than any wall.”
Interestingly, all the plaques and gifts that Sunil Kumar received during his political career are kept on a bench near to the door steps of his home and are up for grabs for anyone. More interestingly, no one had tried to break into his home. Interestingly, he doesn’t even have a green wall surrounding his home though he is a strong votary of organic farming.
Sweet voice from beyond wall
Thrissur’s own seasoned actress K P A C Lalitha has a story to tell about a wall. When highly acclaimed writer Vaikom Muhammad Basheer’s novel ‘Mathilukkal’ (Walls) was made into a film, Lalitha’s voice had a major role to play in the movie.
The protagonist in the film, essayed by Mammootty, strikes a chord with a sweet voice, that of Lalitha, coming from across the ‘woman’s wall’ that separates male prisoners from female prisoners. ‘Mathilukal’ was a milestone in Lalitha’s career as she made an indelible mark on the film just with her voice without appearing on screen.
The jump to stardom
Actor Anju Kurien gained a firm foothold in the Malayalam film industry after jumping over a wall in the recently released Sathyan Anthikad movie ‘Njan Prakashan’. Anju’s character enters the storyline by jumping off a wall, and seeing this, hero of the film, Fahad Fazil, takes to his heels in fear. Anju is donning a prominent role in a movie for the first time in her short career.
Anju would be the first female actor to appear on screen by jumping over a wall, and the shot was taken after many rehearsals.
One can get an insight into the culture of Thrissur town from the paintings on the inner side of the wall surrounding the Kollengode palace, which now houses the heritage museum. Relief paintings drawn by 60 artists on 60 panels give an aesthetic look to the wall.
The art works have been completed with the support of teachers and students of the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi. ‘Thrissur Pooram’, ‘Ilajithara melam’, ‘Anchuvilakku’, ‘Machadu Mamangam’, ‘Guruvayoor Satyagraha’, ‘Kolpadagal’, ‘Punnathur Kotta’ and ‘Pulikali’, among others, are portrayed in the paintings on the boundary wall of the palace.
History beckons at the artful wall of the Government College of Fine Arts here, the alma mater of former state chief minister K Karunakaran. The students of the college flaunt their sketching skills on this wall. Besides, many sculptures could be found near to the wall as if they are staring at the passersby on the road. Once students chose this wall, rather than a hall, to organise an art exhibition.
Architects Lijo and Reny are of the opinion that walls of a home and the boundary walls should breathe to facilitate proper natural ventilation. A distinctive boundary wall constructed by these architects to provide free flow of natural air for a house constructed on a small piece of land was a subject of discussion on many forums.
The house was sandwiched between another house and road, and there was little scope to open the windows for a whiff of fresh air. That’s when Lijo and Reny came up with the idea of erecting a boundary wall made of weathering steel with holes to facilitate smooth flow of natural air to the house. They got many accolades, including the young woman architect award, for this innovative thought.
Laurie Baker’s wall
The precinct wall of the Lalithakala Akademi has the imprint of renowned British-born Indian architect Laurie Baker. It was Baker who designed both the building and boundary wall. The wall still stands tall in Thrissur town and is a canvas for many artists.
A wall in tatters
The state’s most popular government-run guest house, Ramanilayam, here has tumbledown boundary walls to the chagrin of many. The guest house is being currently renovated and after that the wall should be redone.