By far the most illustrious and celebrated Malayalam writer in recent times, M.T. Vasudevan Nair is acclaimed as one of the foremost authors in contemporary Indian literature. M.T., as he is fondly known to every Malayali, apart from being the phenomenal writer that he is, has also made his mark as a pioneering film maker in the modernist tradition of narrative cinema in India. His association with the mainstream 'middle cinema' over the decades starting from the age of innocence of realist narratives in Malayalam for which he has written the screenplays, has produced several successful yet artistically notable films marked by his distinct authorial touch that has captured the public imagination,flouting the facile norm of art versus commerce. Even so, when it came to using film as a more personal medium for creative expression in keeping with one's own sensibility, the artistic ideals M.T. set himself were of a very high order as is borne out by Nirmalyam which was written and directed by him. apart from the many literary awards, including that of the Kendra Sahitya Akademi and Jnanpith bestowed on him, M.T. has been conferred D. Litt. and Padmabhushan. His works have been extensively translated into most Indian regional languages as well as English and other European languages.
During his long tenure as the editor of the leading Malayalam literary journal, the Mathrubhumi Weekly for several decades, he played a pivotal role in ushering in the modernist movement in Malayalam literature. As the President of the Thunchan Smaraka Trust, by virtue of the goodwill and good offices vested in his role, he spearheaded a cultural movement that kindled a sense of dedication among the Malayalis to the revered memory of the 16th century saint-poet of Malayalam, Thunjathu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan who is rightly considered the progenitor of modern Malayalam language. As the moving spirit behind this cultural reawakening, not only could MT mobilise public opinion as well as the cooperation of various governmental and non-governmental cultural agencies towards reviving the languishing monument in the poet's birthplace but could restore the literary legacy associated with the place from a state of decline to its full glory as a veritable pilgrim centre of learning and a hub of literary activity. Whenever he held positions in institutional bodies, like chairman of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi or Member of the Executive Committee of the Kendra Sahitya Akademi and was active in the public realm in that capacity, the leadership quality and organisational prowess that M.T. has displayed in those activities are widely recognised as exceptional.
M.T. was born in 1933 in Kudallur, a small village in the present-day Palakkad district of north Kerala which was under the Malabar district in Madras Presidency during the British period. He spent his early years in Punnayurkulam village in the neighbouring district of Trissur. After graduating from Victoria college, Palakkad he taught for a while as also did some other jobs before finally joining Mathrubhumi Weekly as the assistant editor by which time he was already an established writer in his own right.
the notion of literature until the last quarter of the nineteenth century in Kerala was by and large synonymous with verse, not to say poetry. Thus when versification was the order of the day -facile, long-winding, alliterative verses with their obsessively contrived rhyme schemes, either erotic or devotional-prose as a genre did not enjoy any literary prestige though it was gaining ground as a popular form.
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