There is a story regarding the origin of my name. My mother wrote a short story in her youth in which the hero and heroine were one Balachandran and Prema. When my elder sister was born mother named her Prema and when I was born, I was named Balachandran.
But I still do not know who coined my full name, Balachandra Menon. Even though I have such a name, I often feel that I don't have a full name. Because, or the vast majority of people, I am only Menon. Some call me Balachandra and some others affectionately call me Balu. But for my family members and neighbours, I am Chandran. In my first film ‘Uthrada Rathri’ , my name was shown in the director credits, simply as Balachandran. It was only later on that Menon was added. When I sign autographs for my fans, I often feel that such a long name is a little bit troublesome too.
To tell the truth, the name I like best for myself is what my dear mother privately call me, it is Chanthu and sometimes Chanthoooo…!.
MY LOVE FOR THE HAT
I had a special liking for different type of hats, from early days. In film, I wears hats appropriate for the role I'm acting. It is this that led to the habit to buy varieties of hats during my travels which has turned into a large collection.
I always have used hats even before the hairline started receding. Now people think that I'm wearing hat to hide my baldness. Anyways, the truth is that I love to wear hats while traveling and working as a director or actor.
Origin of Headband
Story of tying a kerchief around my head :
There is an idiomatic expression in my native language Malayalam for getting ready for action.
Arayum Thalayum Murukkuka : Roughly translated, it is to tighten one’s belt or loin cloth and tie a band around the head, for action such as a fight or stunt. I too tighten my loin-cloth, that is invisible. What spectators see is only the kerchief around my head. Well, it shows that I got ready for some action.
There is a story about how I started that peculiar habit. It was during the shooting of the film Karyam Nisaaram long ago. I had to wear a wig in that picture. I had sent a person to bring the wig, but he did not bring it in time. Shooting was about to start and I became very uneasy and worried, I felt very angry. Seeing my restless and worry, Shri Prem Nazir, who was also acting in the film, enquired about the reason. I told him about the wig. Then he smiled and pointed to a workshop mechanic and told me :
“See that man. He uses a kerchief around his head to keep his hair under control. Tie a Kerchief like that and let us start shooting.”
It was since that day that day that I started tying kerchief around my head.
Little known Hobby
I love farming. I have had the privilege of owning a farm and also physically taking part in farming activities, along with hired labor at the farm. In recognition to my efforts, the Municipality of Malayankeezhu has awarded me and my farm the coveted Karshaka Shree award.