Tea Shops in Malayalam Cinema

Fading Screen Icons.

The Teashop Interiors The ubiquitous, humble teashop in our everyday lives seems to have been the best indicator of our ‘social progress’, going by the way it has evolved. With the screen ‘life’ more often reflecting the real life, its gradual disappearance from our daily lives, for sepia junkies like me is a painful reminder of the momentum that is taking our lives on a blazing trip onwards, seemingly on a one-way ticket.  I miss them terribly in screenplays these days. No, its not that their ‘presence’ was a significant pivot in the screen narrative, but it had, and it held its place, in the grand scheme of things, just like it did in real life, to our ordinary, and at times, extraordinary life in our quaint hamlets. A cursory look through the screen narratives from the 60′s to the present, say 5 decades, offers an amazingly surprising ‘evolutionary curve’ of our lives, the change in pace, ‘texture, environment and relationships in the screenplays that translated to movies. The ‘agrarian’ aspect seems to have all but disappeared from our screens – hardly one find the main protagonist tilling the land,  ploughing the field or for that matter, the lady love winnowing the harvest grain ! Gone is the Post man whose very presence is underlined with the simple one liner “Oru Kathundu/ Oru Reyisteerrrundu ..”, or for that matter, the local Toddy Shop.

I intend to cover all of these going forward, but amongst all of these, the fading away of the ‘orthodox teashop’ seems to be the most prominent. The ‘social development curve’ from “grabbing  the common day’s newspaper and settling down” to “grabbing a coffee and scurrying” has made its presence felt in our urbane narratives also. A teashop used to be the social meeting place for an ‘unhurried’ generation in their unhurried scheme of things, where there was no class divide – everyone drank from the same ‘glass’, there was no political correctness to opinion – you could argue till the cows came home ( literally), and above there were no demands, aspirations or expectations placed on you, something more akin to the socialism inside a Toddy Shop. But there was a big difference. A glass of frothy, sweetened, milky tea could never deaden your senses. Here is a compilation of the onscreen life of the ubiquitous, humble teashop and its onscreen role in the narrative, in its own laid-back sort of way. It throws up a lot of interesting perspectives. It sure does.

Neelakuyil (1954)

The earliest one I can remember that subtly (?) makes the tea shop another tool in the celluloid effort to demolish the walls of separation based on caste, color and creed. It sure seemed to be the center of most of the activities driving the movie forward, and P Bhaskaran ( as Sankaran Nair, the Postman) makes it a point to hang around Manavalan Joseph‘s Bhagavathi Vilasom Teashop, his most comfortable domain. I think P Bhaskaran tried to paint the two socially contrasting entities, that of the  constricted, orthodox, ‘claustrophobic’ social  nature exhibited by Sreedharan Nair ( Sathyan) who  surprisingly never sets foot inside the Teashop, and the genial postman, who is already a ‘socialist’ with his heart. The teashop is also the place in the movie where the community organically coalesces, and  yet in a state of flux. Bhagavathi Vilasom also plays cheerful host to bartering ( remember the pawning of the ring at the tea-shop?), counselling, and as the movi progresses, decision-making that becomes the turning point of the movie. I think, amongst other things, P Bhaskaran was also emphasising the importance of free speech, open thought and physical interactions and where else to portray it better than the local teashop ?

Here is Kayalaraikathu,  probably the first song picturised in a teashop in Malayalam cinema, and the first Mappilappattu onscreen in Malayalam, set to music by Raghavan Master.

Raarichan Enna Pouran (1956)

Rarichan Enna Pouran - Pattupusthakam Cover

Courtesy : MSI

Again, directed by P Bhaskaran, Rarichan enna Pouran was a tale that interestingly put love between two religions, and Rarichan ( Master Latheef ), who considers himself to have a heart of faith than of organised religion, that is caught between the people he loves and their aspirations. The chief protagonist, young, lissome Khadija (Vilasini) and her mother Beeyathumma (Mrs. KP Raman Nair) who runs a teashop in the tiny hamlet, caught at the crossroads between the town and the countryside and on a hand-to-mouth existence. The axis of the movie is this teashop and the financial doldrums that the mother and daughter find themselves in, as they seek to redress and reclaim the young girl’s love. The Teashop is also their home, to which Rarichan is adopted by the generous Beeyathumma, and this bond also results in him taking a life-changing decision towards the end of the movie. The point is, it is the Teashop and the social stature that the humble place of social commerce that is the core of this movie. also, this movie might also be the first in Malayalam cinema that portrays a woman running a teashop, her own business, taking charge of her own life. ( Please correct me if I am wrong ).

Nairu Pidicha Pulivaalu (1958)

P Bhaskaran again ! An absolutely delightful gag-fest, this brought  travelling circus to malayalam cinema for the first time. Produced by TE Vasudevan, the story revolved the intense rivalry between the two ‘leading teashops’ of the village, owned by Paithal Nair ( TS Muthaiah ) and Kuttappa Kurup ( Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai ). The most delightful aspect of the movie is that it gathers momentum and moves ahead in just two domains, either in the environs of the Peninsular Circus, or at any one of the tea shops. As both Kurup and Nair vie for the contract to serve food for the members of the circus, there is also hidden agendas, desires of the flesh and of course, a case of long-lost love that unravels between these three places. The contrast of the two teashops, one run as a family, and the other run by a disgruntled, weary, irritable father-nimcompoop son duo is a delight to watch. As in with his other movies, there are a whole lot of things ‘happening’ inside the Tea shop at any given time. Along with the brisk business that takes place, are the beginnings of a marriage proposal, preening the  prospective groom, hatching a conspiracy, or even serving the buttoned-up pseudo Victorian-era management from the visiting circus, the teashop common area doubles up as the family’s visting room. This should also be the first movie that presented this premise of two warring teashop factions :) In Muthaaramkunnu PO, it became a ga-riot when the premise was taken over by VD Rajappan and Jagathy Sreekumar. If you haven’t watched this movie, please do.

A clipping from the movie. Notice the layout, the body language, the activities, the decor and the topics of conversation. :)

Bhargavi Nilayam (1964)

The Local Meeting Place I always like to think that there were two worlds in Bhargavi Nilayam – the mansion, that represented everything mysterious, eerie, dark and conspiring was one, and the local tea shop that the Writer frequented, represented a microcosm of the ‘normal’, real world that everyone else lived in ! Every time I watch the movie, I believe in it a little more than before. And the bridges between the two worlds, the keys to the mysteries in the mansion are always found in the tea shop. It is here that the Writer finally comes to believe in the apparition that is rumored to haunt Bhargavi Nilayam, it is here he meets the alleged murderer of Bhargavi, its in the tea shop that he is bestowed the grudging respect of the local community for having the courage to stay in the mansion, all alone – the teashop becomes the stage for many events in the movie. Maybe it was unintentional, but it becomes a powerful technique to enrich our experience of watching Bhargavi Nilayam.

You can read in detail about the movie here.

Olavum Theeravum (1970)

Madhu in Olavum Theeravum PN Menon‘s phenomenal movie that literally brought Malayalam cinema to the ‘Glorious Outdoors’ from the dank confines of the kitschy studio floors had its script by MT Vasudevan Nair. The protagonist Bappootty’s ( a brilliant role by Madhu ) main domain of social interactions and exchange is the local teashop, where everyone knows everyone else. In Olavum Theeravum, Kuttan Nair’s teashop is the armageddon for Bappootty and Kunjali ( Jose Prakash in a specially menacing role ), and the way MT builds up the ‘almost confrontational scenes’ has to be watched to be believed, with the help of silence, a broken down gramaphone and the sound of the river lapping the bramble-thick shoreline.  Sample this from the Screenplay . Please note, all rights rest with DC Books.

ബാപ്പൂട്ടി : കേട്ടില്ലേ, ഒരു ചായ.
[ രംഗം പൂര്‍ണമായ നിശബ്ദത. കുഞ്ഞാലി ബാപ്പൂട്ടിയെ നോക്കാതെ അടക്കിപ്പിടിച്ചു ഇരിക്കുകയാണ്. സുലൈമാന് എന്തെങ്കിലും ചെയ്‌താല്‍ കൊള്ളാമെന്നുണ്ട്.തന്‍റെ വീര്യം കാട്ടാന്‍ നാരായണന്  കൌതുകവും ഉണ്ട്. ഭയവുമുണ്ട്. അലക്കുകാരന്‍ കെട്ടെടുത്തു, മേശപ്പുറത്തു ചില്ലറയിട്ടു പുറത്തു കടക്കുന്നു.നിന്ന നില്പില്‍ നിന്ന് നായര്‍ നീട്ടിയ ചായ വാങ്ങിക്കുടിക്കുമ്പോള്‍ ബാപ്പൂട്ടി നേരേ നോക്കുന്നില്ലെങ്കിലും എല്ലാവരെയും ശ്രദ്ധിക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. ഒഴിഞ്ഞ ഗ്ലാസ്‌ മേശപ്പുറത്തു വെച്ച് ഗ്ലാസില്‍ അരയില്‍ നിന്നും ഒരു അണയിടുന്നു. നിശബ്ദതയില്‍ നാണയം ഗ്ലാസില്‍ വീഴുന്ന ശബ്ദം.എന്തിനും തയ്യാറായി ഒരു നിമിഷം കൂടി നിന്ന് ബാപ്പൂട്ടി പുറത്തു കടക്കുന്നു. പുറത്തു കടക്കുന്ന ബാപ്പൂട്ടിയുടെ നെറ്റിയില്‍ വിയര്‍പ്പു പൊടിഞ്ഞിട്ടുണ്ട്‌. കഴിഞ്ഞ നിമിഷങ്ങളിലേ  പിരി മുറുകി പൊട്ടുമെന്ന അവസ്ഥയുടെ ഫലം. ]

It eventually explodes, and it also becomes the subject of conversation for the entire community, back at the teashop afterwards. For that matter, everything that happens between them becomes the conversational topic for the hamlet, so thoroughly devoid of excitement. And it happens at Kuttan Nair’s teashop.

Kodiyettam (1977)

I have just taken Kodiyettam as an example in Adoor Gopalkrishnan’s body of work where the humble beverage, and the meeting place around it always find a mention, much akin to the early movies of Sathyan Anthikkad. One of my favorites is Kodiyettam where Shankarankutty ( Gopi deserved that Bharath Award ) almost blissful relief as he hangs out at Velukkutty’s teashop, the only place where he is accepted without any questions or demands. He can  be himself there, no questions asked. In fact, the movie opens out with a scene at the teashop that establishes the fact and then takes it from there.  Brilliant, unquestionably !

Mutharamkunnu P O (1985)

I really think the ‘Dueling Teashops Concept’ was inspired from the 1958 classic, Nair Pidicha Pulivaal. The movie, with its unpretentious set of characters, so real that you can almost name them from where you came, also features two tea shop owners, Jagathy as MK Nakulan and V. D. Rajappan as MK Sahadevan, siblings in real life, at each others throats literally, in eternal conflict over an alleged stolen inheritance from their mother’s deathbed. Though it doesn’t ‘achieve’ anything in the narrative other than adding another hue to the colorful life in the hamlet, it sure has its rib-tickling moments, bizarre though it may be.

Here is a clipping.

Ponmuttayidunna Tharavu (1988)

The Tea Shop in Ponmuttayidunna Thaaravu Though credit should go to Sathyan Anthikkad for weaving his early movies mostly centered around villages and the characters it spawns, it was also delightful to have the teashop and its owner become a natural participant in the whole proceedings. Amongst all, I love Ponmuttayidunna Thaaravu (1988)  the best ! The very premise of a rambling teashop with a precarious loft that doubles up as a classical dance classroom is howlarious. What becomes the icing on the cake is when the whole bunch of bananas fall on a customer’s head, as a result of the  ‘co-curricular activity’ upstairs. Aboobackar ( Mamukoya ) lives the role, holding court to unfounded rumors, confounded rumors and everything in between, and it also helps that the main protagonist has his shop right next door, the one center of the universe around which the village seems to go around in a very, laid back and lazy arc. You almost wish you could catch the Panchayath Member ( Shankaradi as Madhavan Nair), the local cattle trader ( Oduvil as Paappi ), and the village’s favorite goldsmith ( Sreenivasan as Bhaskaran), sitting around and shooting the breeze on a rickety wooden bench, twirling their ‘medium’ and ‘strong chais’ as you walk through your hometown, but alas, they just seem to have disappeared.

Peruvannapurathe Visheshangal (1989)

I have always wondered why Ranjith never revisited this genre that he had absolute mastery over, this art of achingly funny situations construed out of everyday happenings. In Peruvannapurathe Visheshangal, the tea shop is the nerve centre of all conspiracies, where battle plans are drawn, revised, cancelled and again redrawn, and at times set into motion half-heartedly. I don’t think there has ever been a movie on the lines of this that chronicled a movement centered around a tea shop, to bring together two hearts that fell in love after a long deliberation :) Everytime I watch  Jagathy put on his saddest face and mumble  “Cheemium” to a visibly irritated Parvathy, I fall down laughing !

Watch from 3:40

Maalayogam (1990)

Sibi Malayil discussed some cold, hard-hitting aspects of our hypocritical and hypercritical society, along with the vanity that weighs down on the shoulders of a generation that refused to acknowledge anything than a job with the government services, and an unforgiving, barely supportive family system that looked upon marriage as ‘fair trade.’  Kaliyugom Paramu Nair (Oduvil in one of his memorable roles), a fatalist to the core, and heartbroken that the son that he dotes on doesn’t even bother about taking the little business forward makes him a little more bitter everyday. Sibi makes the teashop and the business it represents a discussion point on many levels. Only Lohithadas could have written up a screenplay such as this that truly sits like deadweight on your chest. One of the few movies that make you squirm without even uttering a semblance of profanity.

Watch from  1:12

Next : Tea Shops | Women Empowerment on celluloid

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63 thoughts on “Tea Shops in Malayalam Cinema

    • And what would be the nature of that project be, Nandhu? Or are you too, a student of Class X looking to complete a project from your English Reader in the Kerala State syllabus? :) Glad to be of help. Thanks, cinematters.

  1. I really think the malayalam movies I watched made me fall in love with the ‘chayakkada’. The ‘unhurried atmosphere, as you have so beautifully described here, appeals to me the most. And yes, Sathyan Anthikkad movies almost always included them considering that his movies revolved around the ‘common man’ of those times. I miss the landscapes that are fast disappearing and the feel of those sleep, laid-back villages of Kerala of those times. And this is all that remains of it- visuals in the movies that we can still watch….and then blogs like yours.
    ‘Ponmuutta idunna tharavu’ was my favourite too…

    • Thank you Vidya :) One cannot but wax profound, when it comes to our chayakkadas :) Did you also know that the the Importance of Teashops In Malayalam cinema is a subject for the Class X English reader for the state of Kerala syllabus ? So there, what more proof do you need of its undeniable presence in our lives, though sadly, it is an institution that would be gone soon too. Thanks, cm

  2. I AM PARVANA DARLY.THE ARTICLE ‘TEASHOPS IN MALAYALAM CINEMA’ KNOWS ME ABOUT THE SIGNIFICANT ROLE OF TEASHOP IN OUR MALAYALAM FILMS

  3. I’M ABHIJITH J KUMAR. IT WAS VERY HELPFULL FOR MY ENGLISH PROJECT.IT HAS BEEN GIVEN BY “ANILA TEACHER”.ST.GORETTI H.S.S.PUNALUR.’THANKS FOR THIS .

  4. wow its awesome
    it was very much helpfull for my project in English thank you for the information given in this page

    • Hi Gilby,
      You never explained what you “wanted” ? And if you are a Class X student under the Kerala State Government’s academic syllabus, looking for that answer to the “exercise” in your English reader on the same topic, let me assure, yours is not the first note. :) And please ensure that you check your classmates’ answers too. Regards..cinematters

        • See, its like this Rajesh – its only lately that I have come to know about this subject of Teashops in Malayalam films being a topic in the Class X English reader under the Kerala Government syllabi.And an exercise from the chapter asks the students to compile more ‘instances’ of how Teashops played an important role in the social dynamics as displayed onscreen, and the young ‘uns turn to the Web. And as they fish with the keywords, Google most of the times, throws up this post :D. This enlightenment came to yours truly via a note sent by an English Teacher from God’s Own Country who wrote in to say that thanks to this post, most of the answers in her class looked suspiciously similar :) Hope you got a fair idea ..regards..cinematters

  5. Near Ottappalam I encountered what could possibly be the best Chaya Kada in my life, so far (I woundn’t be so presumptuous as to claim the prime standing for the district- there could be better claimants, nevertheless). It’s the Hotel ”Jaya Bharath” at Vaniyamkulam, on the Pattambi-Ottappalam road, standing cheek-to-jowl with the Ajapaa-madom, an old ashram. The hotel has been running for the last 40 years or so and their service, dedication and quality is exemplary, to say the least. Their food is tasty, and the matronly Valliamma goes around, taking orders, serving food if she can, checking the quality of food, taking feedback from their customers. They perform two very important winning qualities: recognizing the returning guest- treating him well, and most importantly, they seemed to have grasped the importance of -that elusive quality in eateries I\’ve seen- Cleanliness: no fallen food, no stained tabletops, no clogged basins, no flies (they have the UV bug zapper) and best of all, no cockroaches creeping along the edges. These are their new premises- the old primises,were the typical Chayakada interiors- the glass-walled shwcases, the ancient samovar, the steam from the dosas and idlis, the shaft of sunlight from a skylight opening falling onto the wooden table, the beam illuminating a waft of steam rising from the glass cup bearing scalding hot, steamy strong fragrant tea…
    This is a family business, too, and from the news reports stuck on the walls, they have their fair share of fans and regulars from amongst the film crowd, especially when they come shooting around Ottappalam. Actor Jeyaram, according to them, is one such fan, who stops here often to have spicy fried paruppuvada and strong hot Chaya.
    Now this place is one Chaayaakada, if at all I\’m going to become a movie-maker, ever, where I’ll base some actual scenes.
    just joking!

  6. Real Life chayakadas.

    In real life I only go to chayakadas. Never been to CCD, Barista etc. Nowadays due to chemical infused milk that comes fron TN I dont drink the usual chaya from most teashops. I go for Kattan. However there are two (excpetions)chayakadas that are my favorites in TVPM-dist. The reason being they are cute and the milk is real cows milk from the owner’s cow. NH 47 when you go from TVM to Kollam.. just after Kaduvapalli..(pink striped mosque dome) on the right side there is a quaint little teashop run by an ol ammavan in his 70s. It is in the front yard of a house but away from the footpath. It is also under a cashew tree..with only one wood bench strategically placed on a step carved out of the terrain. The tea is excellent and you can feel the burst of the cow’s milk flavor. The ammavan is very friendly. Too bad no kadis. He closes the shop once he runs out of milk!
    The second one is a cute and old fashioned chayakada on MC road.A couple of miles before Kanyakulangara it is on the right side. In a very rural setting..greenery all around. The speciality is a kannadi almara filled with fresh home made snacks. The snacks are not made factory made…but made by the owners mother who lives nearby and delivered fresh every hour! I met her too, a nice lady around 75. The milk for the tea comes from the owners house. Ullivada, Parippuvada, mulkau baji Modakam,are out of the world. When I go to TVM and come back I purposely take that route to 1. stop at the teashop 2.enjoy the greenery in that route..3. slow relaxed drive. Not to mention the quality time I spend at the shop chitchatting with the annan there.
    Guys check em out.

  7. I remember TV Chandran’s Mangamma released in the late 90s. Belonging to the same genre, played out entirely in the precincts of a tea-shop, Revathy and Nedumudi Venu put in stellar performances in this movie. It aptly depicts the state-of-mind of the first two paragraphs of your essay on movies with tea-shops as a background. It skilfully caricatures the evolution of the Keralan political and cultural milieu, through the communist 50s into the late 70s as capitalism began to engage the mindset of the average Malayali. Worthy of mention here definitely.

    • Dear Soni,
      I haven’t watched the movie, so this is some great info.Let me try getting hold of a legal copy of the movie. Will surely have that included as this continues. In the interim, why not put down your thoughts on the movie here at OMC ? Its been a long time :)..regards..cinematters

  8. When PM Tharavu was first releases the title was “PM thattan”. This led to a protest from the thattan community. But the posters had already been released abd pasted all over Kerala. Due to a court order the producer was forced to make small strips of ” tharavu” only and paste them over “thattan” all over Kerala. In TVM..theese guys did a good job of covering Thattan and pasting tharavu. Naughty college guys got hold of a few tharavu posters and started pasting them at odd places all over town. Near Govt Press Statue before Resdiency Tower hotel, “Shanti Nagar” had Tharavu on it for quite some time.

    • Dear Sibi,
      I too have heard about the controversy and had tried in vain to get hold of one the original posters for a while. THAT would have been quite a collectors’ item, won’t you agree ? I do hope somday, an image of that will surface somewhere on the Net :D..regards..cinematters

      • You need to read Raghunath Paleri’s book “Vismayam Pole”, where this is mentioned.
        Also the central premise of the gift is based on a ‘true story’ of what happened when he was in 4th standard. The central character was his classmate, thattan!. It is a good read

        Sathyan Anthikad and Paleri both have mentioned that the name change was a very painful decision for them

      • Happy Reading :)
        Last year around this time I got most of the film books from Indulekha for my quiz preparation. Need to do a revisit .

  9. Hi

    So true!

    Aadaminte Makan Abu has the tea-shop, but the same role that
    were so skilfully done by Mamukoya, Oduvil and others of
    the “golden generation” is being terribly handled by Suraj
    Venjaramoodu. Horses for Courses!

    Anil

    • Dear Anil,

      In the very first teashop scene in Peruvannaapurathey Visheshangal ( the clip includes that), notice how Oduvil ‘goes about his business’ while the conversation happens between the ones in the frame, washing dirty chai glasses in the steel basin, his body language..they were living encyclopedias when it came to ‘performing’ onscreen. Thankfully, the movies still remain with us.Thanks and regards..cinematters

  10. Oduvil Unnikrishanan truly represented the quintessential chayakada kaaran in Malayalam cinema, along with Mamu Koya; wonder if this role can be replaced by anyone else. No one brought the chaya kada to life on screen as Sathyan Anthikkad did in his movies (atleast earlier movies), especially in Peruvannapurathe Visheshangal and Ponmuttayidunna Thaaravu.

    Tea Shops and barber shops have always played the part of discussing popular sentiments echoed in the movie and so have had an important role in it.

    • Dear Pradeep,
      You can say that again :) Also, though Peruvannapurathe Visheshangal had all the characteristics that one comes to expect from a Sathyan Anthikkad movie, it is actually directed by Kamal, with Ranjith’s screenplay. The pair followed this up with Pradeshika Varthakal the subsequent year, and I always hope they would team up again, just for once, to repeat the magic on a similar theme, one of these days. Appreciate your regular visit to OMC..regards..cinematters.

  11. I think the famous sitcom “Friends” had its roots in Malayalam Cinema… at least the chaayakada face of it… nowadays it’s just CCD or Barista… miss the chaayakada days… remember our very own MM :)

    • Dear Stanley,
      THAT, is a very interesting perspective, I should say :) And as far as the graduation to CCD is concerned, Sathyan Anthikkad’s movies, which once have given us some of its finest moments, also seem to have taken a leap of faith. In Vinodayathra, the main protagonists choose the local coffee shop at the mall as their meeting place :D. Maybe the story demanded it, but then again, the evolution seem to have set in, what say :).. Thank you for writing in..regards..cinematters

  12. Although the chayakkada doesn’t play a huge part in the narrative, the role of Oduvil in Melepparambil Aanveedu as a tea shop owner is what comes to my mind when I link teashops and Malayalam films…the most natural manner in which he prepares tea and the shaking of the cup and the ‘arippu’ is simply superb…

    • Dear Chechi,
      If you pick the most favorite teashop owners in Malayalam cinema, 4/5 of them would have been played by Oduvil Unnikrishnan. Even in the compilation that I just put down he plays two diametrically opposite faces of the tea shop owner, the acerbic, bitter, despondent father in Maalayogam, and the rollicking, blissfully-cruising-on-self-destruct-mode-yet-conniving tea shop owner in Pervuvannapurathey Visheshangal. And here, you bring in another ‘face’ of his, from Meleparambil Aanveedu :). Oduvil and his peers would be hard to replace. As Salim Kumar remarked, coming generations would learn from their movies on waht natural Acting means for the Malayali psyche. Thanks so much for writing in..regards..cinematters

  13. Another wonderful theme that you have started.
    OT: Its hard to believe Mutharamkunnu PO was directed by Sibi Malayil. This looks like a Priyan movie, maybe because of the writing department. Also this was recently remade to Hindi.

    • Dear Rajesh,
      Glad you liked it. Muthaaramkunnu PO was Jagadeesh’s story, and Sreenivasan wrote the screenplay, his early attempt at slapstick and earthy comedy, which I guess he kept refining as he went along. And yes, I have watched Kushthi, remade into Hindi by our own TK Rajeev Kumar, who also made a gang-raped version of Varavelpu into Hindi called Chal Chalaa Chal – and I really forced myself to watch it till the end. Passing a kidney stone was way easier. Regards..cinematters

  14. I miss the chaayakkadas in real life too. When we were kids, we would take a bus frm Trichur to Kozhikkode, and then from there, take a jeep to Kottakkal where my father’s family lived. On the way, achan always stopped for a tea – and I got a GoldSpot. :) Of course, after we grew up, women weren’t really welcome in the male-only establishments, but we had two chaayakkadas near our college that were run by women, and they had a covered room for the college girls – one of them had the best masala dosas and parippu vadas. (I’m getting hungry for both, now!)

    From the films you mentioned, the only ones I haven’t seen are Malayogam, Mutharamkunnu PO and Ponmuttayidunna Tharavu – the last one I have on DVD – I just haven’t gotten around to seeing it. Thanks for a trip down nostalgia lane.

    • Hi Anu,
      GoldSpot..! Yessss!The chayakkadas run by women as you mentioned, was a strong social marker in our movies, as I have rarely seen representations on such a scale in the other regional movies that I have watched, be it Hindi, Telugu, Kannada or Tamil. I think it was a powerful symbol. Thank you for dragging me back, drooling with your mention of parippu vadas and chais ( Please don’t mention them in the same breath in future in these parts, please :D ). And you got to watch Ponmuttayidunna Thaaravu asap :). Thank you for writing in..Also, couldn’t help but dig this up..cinemattters

    • >>the only ones I haven’t seen are Malayogam, Mutharamkunnu PO and Ponmuttayidunna Tharavu – the last one I have on DVD

      Please dont miss Tharavu, its an all time classic.

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