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29 December, 1997

Malayalam writer Malayattoor was an officer and a gentleman 

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Dec 28: Veteran writer Malayattoor Ramakrishnan died at his residence in Sasthri Nagar here on Saturday morning. He was 70.

Malayattoor was ailing for sometime now and was in and out of hospital. On Friday he had retired to bed very late. When a relative tried to wake him up by 12 noon, there was no response. His physician who arrived soon after confirmed that he had died in his sleep by about 11.30 am.

Malayattoor was suffering from severe stomach-related complaints and had also suffered a paralytic stroke, from which he had recovered only partially.He is survived by his wife Krishnaveni, who is ailing and bedridden. He has a son Viswanathan working in Bahrain and a daughter Shobha, who lives in Bangalore with her husband, an IAS officer. His daughter had come down two days ago to tend to her father.

Malayattoor, author of more than a dozen novels and a number of short stories was a multifaceted personality. He was a well-known cartoonist and painter also. He had also done scripts for films. His Brigadier Stories had broken fresh ground in Malayalam humour literature.

Born in 1927 at Kalpathi in Palakkad, K V Ramakrishna Iyer was to become famous later as Malayattoor Ramakrishnan. He worked as sub editor in Free Press Journal in Mumbai. This was a brief dalliance with journalism. He later entered the judicial service and was a magistrate for sometime.

Malayattoor entered the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in 1957. His long career as a bureaucrat is narrated in his work The Service Story. He was a member of the Revenue Board and chairman of Lalitha Kala Akademi for seven years. He had interacted with a lot of ministers belonging to different political hues, most of whom later became his friends. In fact, Malayattoor was one writer who had friends everywhere.

He resigned from the IAS in 1981 to devote himself fully to writing.

Malayattoor's Verukal had won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi award. Among his other famous novels are Yakshi, Yantram, Nettoor Mathom and Amritham Thedi.He had also published a series of books revolving around the character Brigadier, a tough as nails ex-soldier who is a hard drinker and also a rascal to boot. His novel Yantram had bagged the Vayalar award. Malayattoor had also translated the Sherlock Holmes novels and Bram Stoker's Dracula to Malayalam. He was also an impulsive artist and drew hundreds of cartoons and sketches of his friends. Though some of his writings do have autobiographical strains, he also wrote some autobiographical works including Service Story and Ente IAS Dinangal which was serialised by a newspaper.

Malayattoor had also authored scripts for several films. The most famous of these were Yakshi, starring Sathyan and Iyer The Great starring Mammootty.

He had also directed a film Odukkam Thudakkam. Quite recently he was involved in a litigation with actress Hema Malini, who had made a Hindi version of Yakshi.

He was also one of those rare writers who was comfortable in both English and Malayalam.

Copyright © 1997 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


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