The Google Doodle for the day is depicting Malayalam actress PK Rosy and it’s the perfect time to read up about why it’s important to celebrate the actress on her 120th birth anniversary.
During her time, Rosy broke many significant societal barriers as she was the first female lead in Malayalam cinema and, reportedly, the first Dalit actress in Indian cinema.
“In an era when performing arts was discouraged in many sections of society, especially for women, Rosy broke barriers with her role in the Malayalam film Vigathakumaran (The Lost Child). Though she never received recognition for her work during her lifetime, Rosy’s story is relevant to conversations about representation in the media. Today, her story serves as motivation and inspiration for many,” reads Google’s blog post about the Doodle.
So who was PK Rosy?
Born in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, in 1903, Rosy belonged to a Dalit Christian family where her parents were daily wage workers. Before becoming the first female lead actress in Malayalam cinema with the movie Vigathakumaran (The Lost Child) in 1928, Rosy had been making a name by acting in Kakkarissi plays.
In Vigathakumaran, Rosy played the role of Sarojini, a Nair woman. The upper caste community was furious and up in arms about a Dalit woman playing the role and pelted stones at the screening of the movie. An enraged mob even burned down her home, leading her to run away.
Rosy went on to marry lorry driver Kesavan Pulai and live the rest of her life in Tamil Nadu as Rajammal.
Sadly, the actress received no recognition for her work during her life time. Posthumously, her legacy was honoured by director Kamal who made Celluloid, a biopic on her life.
In 2019, Women in Cinema Collective launched a film society in her name. “Naming the society after Rosy is an attempt to take note of all those who have been excluded from dominant cinema histories and have been brought to light by many a scholar, historian and activist.”
What do you think of Google’s tribute to the icon?