K. T. C. Abdullah – Famous stage artist best known for his supporting roles in Sudani From Nigeria and Arabikatha

K. T. C. Abdullah (1936–2018) was an acclaimed stage artist from Kozhikode who got a late recognition in movies playing the memorable role of of Soubin Shahir’s stepfather in the highly acclaimed 2018 Malayalam film, Sudani From Nigeria. Ironically he passed away a few months after the release of the film, which earned him a lot of popularity. He was a stage actor, playwright and play director, who was mostly associated with Kozhikode theatre circle.

K. T. C. Abdullah was born in Palayam, Thiruvananthapuram. Since school days he used to write. His active career in theatre began in the early 1960s when a new drama company, United Drama Academy was formed. He started off with amateur plays, and over the years turned a strict professional, by writing, directing and acting in plays. As a film actor he was first seen in Dweep (1977). He has appeared in films in regular intervals, but it took a long time to get recognition in films. His roles in Yes Your Owner and Arabikatha, both starring Sreenivasan, teacher in Kaanakinav and Rikshaw puller of Kattathe Kilikoodu got noticed. He appeared in around 45 films including Neelakasham Pachakkadal Chuvanna Bhoomi and Gaddama.

When the filmmakers of Sudani From Nigeria were in search of veteran theatre artists to play the realistic roles in the movie without any makeup, their search ended in three artists of Kozhikode – K. T. C. Abdullah, Sarasa Balussery and Savithri Sreedharan, and the trio took the movie to a new level through their natural acting skills. Definitely their experience in theatre helped them a lot. Though his role as estranged husband of Savithri Sreedharan was brief, it was sufficient to evoke sympathy from audience.   

K. T. C. Abdullah – Some interesting and less-known facts

1. Three character artists who appeared in the film, Sudani From Nigeria – K. T. C. Abdullah, Sarasa Balussery and Savithri Sreedharan have worked together in many theatre troupes and plays staged in Kerala. All of them are natives of Kozhikode who worked for many decades in theatre, giving less importance to films.

2. His busy schedule in theatre always prompted him to stay away from films. Yet he appeared in many Malayalam feature films and short films.

3. He worked with Kerala transport company (KTC) since 1951, after which he was fully active in theatre. That’s how KTC tag got added to his name.

4. During his early days in theatre, he shared stage with film actors Mamukkoya and K. P. Ummer, who were theatre artists then.

5. He was a television artist and also an A-grade radio artist.

6. His last film, ‘Mohabbathin Kunhabdulla’ directed by Shanu Samad is yet to get a theatre release.


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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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