Kesavadev broke fresh ground in Malayalam Novels by introducing a fresh style of writing. His style was simple yet powerful. Through his writing he made a sincere attempt to fight against casteism and the exploitation of the working class. He was a strong advocate of freedom of the individual. His novels aim at a radical reformation of the society around him, and to achieve this he made workers, peasants and prostitutes, heroes and heroines in his works.
Sundariyude Atmakatha (1961)
Sakhavu Karottu Karanavar (1961)
Pankalakshiyude Diary (1963)
Thyagiyaya Drohi (1964)
Murukkankadayum Swargarajyavum (1964)
Kunjukuruppintte Atmakatha (1965)
Sukikkan Vendi (1967)
Aadyathe Katha (1968)
Njana Thettukaran (1969)
Oru Laksham Roopayum Karum (1969)
Maranathil Ninnu (1972)
Enikkum Jeevikkanam (1973)
Njondiyude Katha (1974)
Velicham Kerunnu (1974)
Randammayum Oru Makanum (1975)
Prema Viddi (1976)
Dev believed that a writer should have vivid and varied experience derived from life, guiding his commitment as a storywriter. Every writer has a view of life and his stories revealed, how he approaches the realities of life. Dev said that he is a writer with a purpose. The purpose is to highlight the humanism in man. Hence all his short stories convey a moral lesson concealed in the theme.
Kesava Dev's stories and characters there in were not alien to Dev. Many a times they were Dev himself or were part and parcel of his life and hence, very often one finds the writer taking sides with his own characters and sometimes his anger and aversion for some of them, comes out in the form of long narrations. Infact, without exception, every story of his retains and reveals the warmth of life.
"Bhavi Varan" (Prospective bride groom) is a touching story of Sarojini who had great ambitions about her bride groom. He should be rich, handsome, learned, respectable etc,etc. She spends the good part of her life dreaming of such a man to marry her but then in crucial moments, she settles for Konthiannan, a middle aged, unimpressive tea shop owner. Dev tries to give a moral lesson through the story, but the story, escapes out of his hands into one of emotional intensity.
In his story "Bus Yathra" (Bus journey) Kesava Dev writes about the tension and anxiety of Padmanabhan, a clerk in the munsiff's court. He is anxious to get back to office after the weekend holiday. That tension deprives him from enjoying the holiday. Dev has a special flair, to write about the problems faced by the middle class and the lower middle class. He truthfully narrates their domestic problems, financial constraints and social incompatibilities. He maintains austerity of words and subtly, conveys what he has to say in a sensitive manner and that makes "Bus Yathra" a finest example of Kesavadev's craft and diction.
The story "Pratigna" (Pledge) is about Kalyani who could not fulfill her desire to buy a brass vessel similar to the one that her neighbour Nani bought. Envious of Nani, Kalyani pledges upon god that she would buy a brass vessel within a year. Kalyani with all determination tries to save as much to buy the vessel. But unfortunately, her husband Gopalan falls ill and Kalyani's entire savings is spent on his treatment. Kalyani become sad and disillusioned that she is unable to buy the vessel. But at the same time she is happy that her loving husband has recovered from his illness. This story creates in the readers mind apathy for Kalyani.
Kesava Dev is accused of dry style of storytelling and of hard realism. May be that is true to a certain extent, but one can also experience the soothing of innocent love (Cool Drink), tender feelings of helplessness of the middle class (Maricheeni). In short Dev's short stories provide a strange mixture of hard realism and pure romanticism.
Devinte Cherukathakal (1940)
Devinte Cherukathakal (1942)
Oru Ratri (1946)
Red Volunteer (1949)
Jeevitha Chakram (1949)
Raghavante Amma (1949)
Annathe Natakam (1956)
Yamuna Ekagramayozhukunnu (1958)
Renduperum Naduvittu (1958)
Premikkan Neramilla (1959)
Bhavi Varan (1959)
Kollaruthaniya Kollaruthu (1961)
Aananthakaramaya Adimatham (1962)
Kesava Dev said, "I do not write to enrich my literature. Literature for me is my sincere and earnest attempt to examine the complicated issues in life". Kesava Dev who is acknowledged, as the foremost exponent of progressive Malayalam literature became a play write during the early stages of his literary career.
The themes of his plays and dramas range from a small talk of common men, their needs, hopes and aspiration to promiscuity and political corruption. It must be remembered that these plays were staged many a times, Dev himself playing the lead role on stage at the time when only the "Raja Part" gained applause from the audience. Kesava Dev converted drama from mere social entertainment to a powerful means for social awakening where serious and fundamental problems pertaining to the society are analysed.
"Eruttintte Maravil" and "Thondukari" have poverty as the core theme. In "Orumuri Thenga", Dev relates how a small problem between the neighbours flares up. "Ona Blouse" also carries such a theme. "Kollanum Kollathiyum Onnu" is one in a domestic setting. "Munnottu" written around 1947 reflects the emerging political situation in the country. The theme of "Pradanamanthri" is political corruption.
Though Dev was a fellow traveller for a number of years he could not compromise with the dictates of Calcutta thesis. He lost faith in Communism and his plays "Njanippa Communisttavum", "Mazhyangum Kudayingum", "China way" are popular political satires.
Kesava Dev cannot be considered as serious playwright. Dev as a dramatist comes only after the novelist and short story writer. But, as he himself has written, these plays serve a purpose and they are well known for their powerful and fast moving dialogue and when well directed will be worth watching on the stage.
Samara Kavi (1946)
Pradhana Mantri (1948)
Thaskara Sangham (1950)
Yachaka Premam (1952)
Njanippo Communistakum (1953)
Chekuthanteyum Kadalinteyum Idayil (1953)
Kollanum Kollathiyum Onnu (1956)
Nee Marichu (1956)
Mazhyangum Kudeyingum (1956)
Ona Blouse (1957)
Oru Muri Thenga (1959)
China Way (1960)
Kesavadevinte Natakangal (1967)
Malika Paniyaan (1971)
Avarenne Communisttallathakki (1953)
Russiayude Kamukan (1954)
Kal Noottandinu Munpu (1969)
Noval Novalistinte Kazchapadil (1973)
Enikku Thonnunnathu (1974)
Jeevitha Veekshanam (1977)
Chitrasala - Prose Poem (1945)
Kamukante Kathu - Prose Poem (1958)