Thampi Antony is a man of many hats. He has proved his mettle as an actor, film producer, entrepreneur and author. One of his books Vasco da Gama, a collection of 12 stories, recently won the Basheer Amma Malayalam Award this year. An elated Thampi says, “I started writing on a serious note five years ago. In this short span, 40 of my stories got published in prominent Malayalam publications.”
His stint with writing began in the form of dramas. Antony says he was not quite serious about writing then. “It just happened, and gradually came out as books,” he says. The plays were followed by poems, short stories and novels. Chila Penkuttikal Angineyanu is one of his earlier works. It, later, was added into the award-winning book. “Most of the stories had appeared in magazines,” says Thampi, who feels proud as an author.
However, his literary journey is not devoid of bitter experiences. His book Bhoothathankunnu, which unravels at an imaginary village through the eyes of its protagonist, was banned at the engineering college in Kothamangalam. where Thampi studied. He says, “Bhoothathankunnu is an imaginary place. The college situates at the top of the hill. The novel unfolds like diary entries of the lead character. It is not a mere campus story. It touches upon various sentiments prevalent among college goers during that time. I have included some real life persons in the book, too, with their permission. Back in our time, engineering colleges had more of a less-strict ambience compared to the current situation.
We had plans to launch my book there during a fest at the college. But, the management did not want the current generation to know about those carefree days. Hence they decided to ban the book!” But, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The sale skyrocketed. Now the second edition has come out. “Initially, I was upset about the ban. It seems the management could not comprehend the fictional part.”
His latest book is Pen Biker (Lady Biker), which describes the experiences of a female biker during her trip to the Himalayas. “The character is a professional biker. I got the thread from a woman who has been to the Himalayas on her bike. Later, I developed a story around it,” he says.
Meanwhile, he is active in films too. His film Eelam, directed by Vinod Krishna, where he plays a challenging role, is slated for release. The movie that happens in a bar is an adaptation of a story that the director wrote in a magazine. “The movie that was mainly shot in Kochi and San Francisco follows a surrealistic approach. It revolves around the Elam civilisation. I cannot divulge details of my character,” says Thampi, who also has Puzhayamma in the pipeline.
He keeps writing too alive. Three of his books — Marakizhavan, Ormapushtakam: Njanum Pinne Cinemayum and Chicagoyile Manju — are about to hit the market. “As the title suggests, Marakizhavan unfolds through the story of an old tree, spanning three generations. Chicagoyile Manju comprises my experiences as an expat,” he sums up.