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Google doodle: Remembering controversy's child Kamala Das

kamala-doodle

Google Doodle, on Thursday, paid tribute to legendary poet and author Kamala Das, known for her works in English and Malayalam. The doodle marks the anniversary of her controversial autobiographical book—Ente Katha (My Story)—first published on February 1, 1973. 

In a blog post, Google wrote that the doodle celebrates the work she left behind, which provides a window into the world of an engrossing woman. Kamala Das, also know as Madhavikutty (pen name), and Kamala Surayya, wrote openly about women, delved into their minds, sexual lives, and marital relationships at a time when talking about such subjects in public was a taboo.  

First published in Malayalam, Ente Katha stirred up a hornet's nest as she gave a brutally honest depiction of her childhood, coming of age,  sexual yearnings, emotional clashes, marital issues and extramarital affairs. If that was not enough, she courted yet another controversy with her conversion to Islam at the age of 65 in 1999, after which she changed her surname to Surayya. The sight of Kamala, dressed in a purdah, had come as a shocker to many.

Born to V.M. Nair and renowned poet Balamani Amma on March 31, 1934, Kamala is a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi award and many literary awards such as the Asian World Prize, Kent Award, and Ezhuthachan Puraskaram. Kamala, considered to be one of the most prominent feminist voices of her time, also earned the distinction of 'The mother of modern Indian English poetry'. Kamala died in May 2009.

As Kamala's turbulent life gets made into a Malayalam movie Aami, the film, too, is mired by controversy. Right from the beginning, the film was in the news after Vidya Balan who was supposed to portray Kamala, opted out at the last minute. The role was later taken up by Malayalam actress Manju Warrier. Director Kamal courted yet another controversy recently for his sexist statement: “Had Vidya played the role, sexuality would have crept in. This was a part even I didn’t pay much attention to.”

Now, as the film gears for release on February 9, it has found itself in fresh trouble with a petition in the Kerala High court to censor the film. The petition which claims Madhavikuttty to be first case of 'love-jihad' in Kerala, says the film 'Aami' supports 'love jihad', and was created to twist narratives. 

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