By Sanu George
Thiruvananthapuram — Ace comedian and hugely popular Malayalam actor Jagathy Sreekumar, 66, who has been confined to a wheelchair for the past five years following an accident, is still hoping against hope that he would one day return to stand before arclights.
Exactly five years ago, in the early morning hours of March 10, 2012, the actor was seriously injured in a road accident near Kozhikode in north Kerala while he was dashing off to reach a shooting location on the Kerala-Karnataka border. In a career spanning 41 years, he had already acted in more than 1,100 Malayalam films.
After that accident, Jagathy was shifted by an air ambulance to the Christian Medical College, Vellore, near Chennai, and was there for a year.
While the actor has not regained his speech, he is able to understand what is spoken to him.
Today, the actor is mostly confined to his wheelchair or lies in his bed at his home in the state capital. He continues to undergo various therapies and is surrounded by his immediate family members all the time, besides his personal physician.
When this IANS correspondent met him at his home on Thursday along with a journalist based in Melbourne, the actor was lying in the bed. Jagathy’s face lighted up when the Melbourne-based journalist, who had hosted him at his residence on the actor’s last visit to Australia, asked if he remembers him.
Jagathy, as he is popularly known, put out his hand to hold the journalist’s hand.
When the journalist handed over a copy of a Melbourne magazine that he edits, which had the picture of Jagathy when he was there, the actor nodded, implying that he recalled his visit.
His face again lit up when the Melbourne journalist reminded the actor of how he relished eating crocodile and kangaroo meat during that visit.
Jagathy then more firmly clutched the hand of the journalist.
The actor has a daily routine which includes walking for a while with support. He is taken around in a wheelchair and then he lies down on his bed. Most of the time Jagathy listens to music and moves his lips to the words.
When it was time to bid goodbye to the actor who with his effortless comedy roles has given thousands of his fans happy moments through his films, there were moist eyes.
When he extended his hand to this correspondent, it was difficult to hold back the tears, and all one could tell him and reassure him was, “You will certainly return to make all of us smile again.”
In response, Jagathy clutched this correspondent’s hand more tightly.