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John Abraham: Quick Facts

Life Sketch and Filmography of John Abraham


John Abraham was born on August 11, 1937 at Kunnamkulam, in Thrissur district, Kerala. His father's name was Chennakari (Kuttanad-Allepy district) Vazhakkat V.T. Abraham and mother's name was Kottayam Adimatra Saramma. He went to primary school at Kuttanad, the backwaters and rice bowl of Kerala, where he also spent his childhood. He then shifted to Kottayam, where he studied in CMS School, Bortal School-Keezhillam, MD Seminary School, among others. He went to 11 schools in all, as following his mother’s death he was with her family and elder sisters. He graduated in History from Marthoma College, Thiruvalla (Alleppy district). Though he enrolled for his post-graduation in Politics in Dharward University, Karnataka, he abandoned it later to join the Life Insurance Corporation, where he worked for three years before resigning to join FTII in 1965 to pursue his dreams in films. He passed out in 1969 with a Gold medal in Diploma in Direction.


His first diploma film Priya was half an hour long. After this, he made a film on Himalayas for the Films Division. He was associated with Mani Kaul’s Uski Roti (1969) and even acted as a beggar in it.


His first film Vidyarthikale Ithile Ithile (Students, This Way, This Way, 1972). His other feature films are Agraharathil Kazhuthai in Tamil (Donkey in a Brahmin Village, 1977), Cheriyachante Kroorakrithyangal (Evil Deeds of Cheriyan, 1979) and Amma Ariyan (Report to Mother, 1986).


He also made a film called Kaliyattam on Theyyam. He had many films in the pipeline with scripts and titles ready such as, Kayyor (based on an uprising in British Malabar), Joseph a Priest and Nanmayil Gopalan (Noble Gopalan), but unfortunately passed away before he could make them.


He wrote and directed a street play called Naykali (Dog's Play) with a cast of over 100 people, which was staged at Fort Kochi.


Abraham also wrote short stories in Malayalam; 'Nercha Kozhi' (The Sacrificial Cock), Marananatharam (After Death) and John Abrahaminte Kadhakal (Stories of John Abraham) are some collections of his stories.


Abraham fell from the roof of an unfinished building and died on May 31, 1987, in Kozhikode.


John Abraham Award for Best Film


The John Abraham Award for Best Malayalam Film was instituted in 1998 by the Federation of Film Societies of India (Keralam) in memory of  the filmmaker who was the guiding spirit behind radical initiatives for people’s cinema. The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 50,000, a certificate and a memento. Each year, the award film is selected by a jury of eminent filmmakers, critics and technicians.




1. Vidhyarthikale Ithile Ithile (Students, This Way, This Way) (1969)-B&W. Malayalam /35 mm/


Direction: John Abraham

Cinematography: Ramachandra Babu

Music: M.B Sreenivasan

Cast: Adoor Bhasi, Jameela Beevi, Madhi and Jayabharati

Producer: Minnal


2. Agraharathil Kazhuthai (Donkey in a Brahmin Village) (1978) B&W/35 MM/Tamil


Direction: John Abhraham

Screenplay: Vekat Swaminathan

Cinematography: Ramachandra Babu, Anandakuttan

Editing: Ravi

Music: M.B. Sreenivasan

Production: Nirmithi Films-Charlie John, John Abraham

Cast: M.B. Sreenivasan, Swathi, Veeraraghavan, Krishna Raj

Awards: Best Feature Film in Tamil


3. Cheriyachante Kroorakrithyangal (Evil deeds of Cheriyan) (1980). B&W,35MM, Malayalam.


Direction: John Abraham

Cinematography: Madhu Ambat

Editing: Suresh Babu, Balan

Production: Janshakthi Films

Cast: Adoor Bhasi, Nedumudi Venu, Kaviyoor Ponnamma

Awards: Special Jury Award. Kerala State


4. Amma Ariyan (Report to Mother). (1986), B&W, 35MM, Malayalam


Direction: John Abraham

Cinematography: Venu

Editing: Beena Paul

Music: Sunitha

Singers: Umbai, Nazim

Production: Odesa Movies

Awards: Special Jury award: National