‘A moviemaker committed to public service’, Lenin Rajendran would quip whenever his college mates asked about his future choice – movies or politics. He was then the SFI unit secretary at the University College. It was a promise to himself, one well kept. Moulded by the philosophies of his radical self, his movies were a revolution in themselves. They scripted success on their own merit – never hinging on superstars, trends or set formulas.
Lenin was born in Uruttambalam, Thiruvananthapuram, to the couple Velukkutti – a transport department employee – and Bhasamma. A fan of Sivaji Ganesan, MGR, Nazeer and Satyan, he was crazy about movies from an early age.
At University College, politics became another passion. He found a job soon after studies, as wished, at Financial Enterprises in Kochi. Acquaintance with filmmaker PA Backer there was a turning point, slowly becoming a part of the latter’s movies. He wrote scripts. His first movie ‘Venal’ came out in 1982. Then came the political satire ‘Prem Nazirine Kanmaanilla’. It was an inquiry into how long a society sustained its interest in a celebrity after he meets with an accident.
He loved to take up new challenges. ‘Swati Tirunal’, Daivathinte Vikruthikal’ and ‘Kulam’ were perfect examples of such adventurous filmmaking. He recreated memorable characters from history and literature on the silver screen – like Alphonsachan, Swati Thirunal and Raja Ravi Varma. ‘Meenamasathile Suryan – based on Kayyur Protest, a historical event for the Communist party - was also a notable political movie.
Drama was equally a part of his being. He strived to bring back the glorious days of dramas. He staged G Sankarapilla’s ‘Mudhevitheyyam’ and Kumaranasan’s ‘Karuna’.
Unparallel was his skill to cast the most suitable actor for a role; Om Puri in ‘Puravrutham’, Anant Nag in ‘Swathi Thirunal’ and Raghuvaran in ‘Daivathinte Vikruthikal being some of them. Mainstream actors like Biju Menon, Samyukta Varma and Jagati Sreekumar became part of his movies. The undeniable charm of his movies will forever remain in the hearts of his fans.