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P. K. Rosy (Rajamma, Rosamma, Rajammal),[2] a Dalit (purportedly a Christian)[3] woman, was the first heroine of the first Malayalam language movie Vigathakumaran (The Lost Child), directed by J. C. Daniel.[4][5] She played the character of a Nair woman "Sarojini" in the movie.[2]

P. K. Rosy
PK Rosy.jpg
Rosy in 1928
Thycaud, Trivandrum
Years active1928–1930
Spouse(s)Kesava Pillai[1]
ChildrenPadma, Nagappan[1]
Parent(s)Poulose, Kunji[1]


Early lifeEdit

She was born to Paulose and Kunji, as Rosamma, in 1903 at Nandankode, Trivandrum to a Pulaya family. Her living relatives confirm her father died when she was very young leaving her family steeped in poverty. Her younger years were spent as a grass-cutter. But they also remember her incredible affinity towards the arts from when she was very young.[citation needed]

During those days, acting was often not a woman's work and women who considered acting as a serious profession were labeled licentious or "loose". Rosy's love for acting seems to have surpassed concerns she may have held for what society would call her.[6]

Her family was said to have converted to Christianity and changed their name from Rajamma to Rosamma,[7] and that she herself was a Christian.[3]


Well before she was "discovered" in 1928 by the director J.C. Daniel she was already an experienced actor, skilled in a form of Tamil Dalit theatre called Kaakarashi.[8] However, Dalits in Indian society have been historically ostracized from "mainstream" professions, relegated to the most degrading occupations and deemed spiritually polluting to touch.[citation needed] When Vigathukumaran was released, members of the feudal Nair community were enraged to see a Dalit woman portray a Nair woman. Many eminent members of the film industry at the time refused to come and inaugurate the opening of Vigathakumaran if Rosy was to be physically present there. The director, Daniel, himself didn't invite her to the opening at Capitol theatre in Thiruvananthapuram, fearing backlash. But Rosy had attended anyway, but was made to watch a second showing instead by lawyer who refused to inaugurate the film until she left.[9]

Reports state that she fled in a lorry that was headed to Tamil Nadu, married the lorry driver, Kesavan Pillai and lived her life quietly in Tamil Nadu as "Rajammal".[10]

In 2013, Kamal directed a biopic on Daniel, titled Celluloid. The film is partially based on the novel Nashta Naayika by Vinu Abraham, and also deals with the life of Rosy. Newcomer Chandni Geetha portrays her.[11] Two other films about her life have also been made: The Lost Child and Ithu Rosiyude Katha (This is Rosy’s Story).[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e "P K Rosy & the History Behind". Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b Sebastian, Meryl Mary (June 2013). "The Name of the Rose". TBIP. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  3. ^ a b Harikrishnan, Charmy (14 August 2016). "The return of Dalit heroine in Malayalam cinema". Retrieved 22 March 2019 – via The Economic Times.
  4. ^ Pillai, Meena T. (7 March 2013). "The daughters of P.K. Rosy". Retrieved 22 March 2019 – via
  5. ^ Chelangad, Saju (8 December 2013). "History in retrospect". Retrieved 22 March 2019 – via
  6. ^ Pillai, Meena T. "The daughters of P.K. Rosy". The Hindu. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  7. ^ Chelangad, Saju (24 November 2013). "The forgotten star". Retrieved 22 March 2019 – via
  8. ^ "Locating P K Rosy: Can A Dalit Woman Play a Nair Role in Malayalam Cinema Today?". Savari. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  9. ^ a b "The Name of the Rose | The Big Indian Picture". Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  10. ^ Hariprasad R (9 October 2012), Rosiyude Kadha - Part 2 (The story of first Heroine of Malayalam Film Industry), retrieved 5 June 2017
  11. ^ Manalethu, Biju Cheriyan (22 January 2016). "Chandini Geetha - Film Actress, Singer". Cinetrooth. Retrieved 20 May 2017.

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