Actor Jose Prakash who died on March 24 is one of the best known faces in Malayalam cinema. He began as a singer and actor in Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair's Sheriyo Thetto in 1953, and made a successful career as a villain.
He faced the camera for the final time in last year's sensational movie, Traffic, directed by Rajesh Pillai.
Director Rajesh Pillai shares his experience of directing the legend.
I feel that it was God's gift that a true legend like Jose Prakash sir was part of Traffic.
Though a brief role, it was a character that made a tremendous impact in the film. I wanted him for the role and suggested it to the film's scenarist, Sanjay (of Bobby-Sanjay duo).
In Traffic, it was after his phone call to the police commissioner that the cop changed his mind and decided to go ahead with the crucial journey with the heart.
The situation in the story was powerful and we needed an actor who could be convincing enough to say those lines, which came from a person who was mature in life. When we went to Jose Prakash sir, he readily agreed to do it.
Then, just before shooting started, he fell ill and was admitted to hospital. He remained serious for a while but to the surprise of everyone, he was discharged just two days before the scheduled day of shooting. He promised me that he would do the role even before leaving the hospital.
He had the energy of a young artiste. He was visibly thrilled and was already dressed for the role when we went to him on the day of shooting.
I believe this is one aspect that the youngsters should learn from the great man: his professionalism and dedication for work were amazing. After every shot, he would ask me if I was happy with it.
His passion for films has made him one of finest actors in Malayalam cinema ever and he was truly a wonderful human being as well.
May his soul rest in peace.
Photograph: Jose Prakash (sitting) with Rajesh Pillai (right)
(As told to Vijay G)