Ambazhathil Karunakaran Lohithadas (5 May 1955 – 28 June 2009) was an Indian screenwriter, playwright, director, and producer known for his extensive work in Malayalam cinema. Lohithadas was known for his rich, detailed, and realistic screenplays. In a career spanning over two decades, his films have won a National Film Award, 6 Kerala State Film Awards, and 14 Kerala Film Critics Award for Best Script.
Lohithadas made his debut as a screenwriter with Thaniyavarthanam (1987). He has written screenplays for 35 films in a 24-year-long career, such as Kireedam (1989), Dasharatham (1989), Sasneham (1990), His Highness Abdullah (1990), Bharatham (1991), Amaram (1991), Aadhaaram (1992), Kamaladalam (1992), Venkalam (1993), Padheyam (1993), Chenkol (1993), Chakoram (1994), Thooval Kottaram (1996), Sallapam (1996), and Veendum Chila Veettukaryangal (1999). He later became a director, and has directed films such as Bhoothakkannadi (1997), Karunyam (1997), Kanmadam (1998), Joker (2000), and Kasthooriman (2003). He died on 29 June 2009 due to a heart attack.
Lohithadas (or 'Lohi', as he is often referred to) was born on 5 May 1955 in Chalakudy, Kerala. He showed an initial interest in writing short stories, but failed to make a mark in that genre. He soon moved into Malayalam theatre in 1986 when his debut script was accepted for the stage by the legendary theatre personality Thoppil Bhasi. Bhasi's Communist Party of India (CPI)-backed drama troupe, the highly successful Kerala People's Arts Club (KPAC), produced the play, which led to his winning a state award.
Fresh with the play's commercial and critical success, Lohithadas was introduced to K. G. George by actor Thilakan. It did not help Lohithadas to start a career in Malayalam cinema. But it was K. G. George who gave the basic core idea of the story, later which was developed by Lohithadas to make the film Kireedam. Later, Thilakan introduced Lohithadas to director Sibi Malayil when Sibi was searching for a good writer for his films. Thus Lohi's first movie screenplay Thaniavarthanam was directed by Malayil and became a success. Together, Sibi Malayil and Lohithadas would later produce several memorable Malayalam movies. His screenplay works for Sibi Malayil are Thaniyavarthanam (1987), Dasharatham (1989), Kireedam (1989), His Highness Abdullah (1990), Bharatham (1990), Kamaladalam (1992), and Chenkol (1993). Other works include Veendum Chila Veettukaryangal (1999),Sasneham (1990) for Sathyan Anthikkad and Amaram,venkalam(1991) for Bharathan.
He later became a filmmaker and made works such as Bhoothakkannadi (1997), Karunyam (1997), Kanmadam (1998), Arayannangalude Veedu (2000), Joker (2000), Kasthooriman (2003) (which he himself produced), and Nivedyam (2007). Most of his works were critically and commercially successful. His works were recognised from his very first venture Thaniyavarthanam, which brought him the Kerala State Film Award for Best Story. When he went to Germany for a film festival for screening his first directorial venture Bhoothakkannadi, one of the German filmmakers asked him by seeing this movie whether he is a Psychologist or not. That film was a real and exact depiction of human psychology.
Thilakan has always been proud of Lohithadas who was introduced to Malayalam film industry by him. Lohithadas went on to become one of the most prominent classic screenwriters that Malayalam cinema has ever seen.
In the morning of 28 June 2009, he experienced chest pains and uneasiness at his home at Aluva near Ernakulam and was immediately taken to the Lisy Hospital, Kaloor, Ernakulam, where he was declared dead from a heart attack at 10:50.
National Film Awards:1998 – Indira Gandhi Award for Best First Film of a Director – Bhoothakannadi
Kerala State Film Awards:1999 – Best Popular Film – Veendum Chila Veettu Karyangal1997 – Best Film – Bhoothakannadi1997 – Best Screen Play – Bhoothakkannadi1992 – Best Popular Film – Venkalam1991 – Second Best Film – Bharatham1987 – Best Story – Thaniyavarthanam
Tamil Nadu State Film Awards:2005 – Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Film Portraying Woman in Good Light – Kasthuri MaanFilm Critics award for Best script – Thaniyavarthanam (1987)Film Critics award for Best script – Dasharatham (1989)Film Critics award for Best script – Kireedam (1989)Film Critics award for Best script – Bharatham (1991)Film Critics award for Best script – Chenkol (1993)Film Critics award for Best script – Chakoram (1994)Film Critics award for Best script – Sallapam (1995)Film Critics award for Best script- Thooval Kottaram (1996)Film Critics award for Best script- Bhoothakannadi (1997)Film Critics award for Best script- Ormacheppu (1998)Film Critics award for Best script- Joker (1999)Film Critics award for Best script- Veendum Chila Veettukaryangal (2000)Film Critics award for Best script- Kasthooriman (2003)Film Critics award for Best script- Nivedyam (2007)Film Critics award for Best Director- Bhoothakannadi (1997)Film Critics award for Best Director- Joker (1999)Film Critics award for Best Director- Kasthoorimann (2003)Film Critics award for Best Director- Nivedyam (2007),Asianet Film Award1999 – Best Script Writer Award – Veendum Chila Veettu Karyangal