Maliyakkampurayil Chacko Punnoose, also known as "Navodaya Appachan", was born on February 6, 1925 at Pulinkunnu in Alleppey District. His father Mani Chacko was a coir exporter. In his earlier years Appachan was known as the younger brother of Kunchacko of Udaya Studio which was started in 1946. Appachan became the manager and co-ordinator at Udaya Studio starting with the production of "Jeevitha Nouka" which was released in 1951. He was always seen in his trademark white "jubba" while conducting all businesses. After Kunchacko's death, Appachan left Udaya and started Navodaya.
While he was at Udaya, Appachan had encouraged Kunchacko to make films with newcomers. He continued that tradition at Navodaya. Appachan was responsibile for introducing many artists to the malayalam film industry such as directors Sibi Malayil, Fazil and Priyadarshan, actors Mohanlal, Shankar, Poornima Jayaram, Shalini, and music directors Jerry Amaldev and Mohan Sitara.
He was regarded as a producer who took risks and boldly tried out new ideas. "Thacholi Ambu", the first cinemascope film, "Padayottam" - South India's first 70 mm film, "My dear Kuttichathan" - first 3D film in India were all produced by Navodaya during Appachan's tenure. Appachan also produced Malayalam TV's first mega serial "Bible Kathakal".
"My dear Kuttichathan" received the President's Gold Medal in 1984. Appachan was honored with the JC.Daniel lifetime achievement award in 2011 for his contributions to malayalam cinema. Appachan also served as the president of the Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce and South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce.
Appachan built the Kishkindha theme park, spread on over 115 acres in Thambaram, Chennai. It was modeled after Disneyland, and is considered to be the model for other such parks that mushroomed in the country.
In his early years Appachan lived in a modest home near St. Joseph's school in Alappuzha, and then moved to Ernakulam to be near Navodaya Studio. Appachan passed away on April 23,2012. He is survived by his wife Baby and two sons Jijo and Jose.
Compiled by Dr.MadhavaBhadran