The grandmother of Malayalam actor Roshan Mathew, Rosamma, passed away last week. She was 87. Rosamma was buried in her hometown of Changanassery in Kottayam. In every way she was a feisty woman, who greatly influenced Roshan’s worldview. And she devoted her life to protecting her husband AE Augustine’s legacy: the family home called Alummootil. Or at least what was left of it after the house was partially demolished by the government to make way for a highway.
Roshan’s grandfather Augustine taught English at St Berchmans College. He was also a famous orator. And his oratory skills have clearly come down to Roshan. During an open mic performance at Kommune’s Spoken Fest about a year ago, Roshan told an unfortunate story of Alummootil, meaning under the banyan tree in Malayalam.
Roshan Mathew said he spent his school holidays in Alummootil, which was built piece by piece by his grandfather over 20 years. That’s how long it would take ordinary people to build their dream home with their ordinary salary. But according to Roshan’s account, Alummootil turned out to be a beautiful house with a garden that, ironically, contained a variety of trees, except for a banyan tree.
And in just over eight minutes, Roshan gives us a masterclass in public speaking and storytelling while sharing some fond memories of his childhood. The story of Alummootil is very recognizable as it is filled with aspirations and desires of the middle class. The story also reminds us of the high price ordinary people have to pay in the name of development. It’s a discouraging story. But at the same time, Roshan gives an uplifting ending to the story that will make you fall in love with Alummootil.
Roshan Mathew’s speech reminds us why he is one of the most promising young actors in India. He is a talent to watch out for. On the work front, Roshan will next be seen in Kuruthi, starring Prithviraj Sukumaran in the lead role. He also has Cobra, Kothu, Darlings and Chathuram in the pipeline.