I never thought it would come to this. The Malayalam Film Processor Machine has now decided to serve Padmarajan’s Rathinirvedam (1978) in bubble wrap and tinsel wrappings, to be directed by T.K.Rajeev Kumar.
All I can say is ughhh..and a heave a deep-drawn out sigh. Why exactly do they do this? Why? Rathinirvedam was our answer to lady Chatterley’s Lover and Lolita, in a way only a genius conceive and translate it on the big screen, treading the fine ground between pornography and sexual awakening that was brilliant, beautiful, at places corny but a cinematic experience, so much like Padmarajan’s other creations.
There was also the coming together of the great creative friendship of Padmarajan and Bharathan in Rathinirvedam ( Padmarajan’s screenplay and Bharathan’s direction), a creative collaboration that started with Prayaanam (1975) ( Journey a.k.a Progression). According to media reports, this is going to be produced by the veteran producer Suresh Kumar, who thinks he has hit mother lode and a probable way out of the current mess called Malayalam Cinema – remake old classics on shoestring budgets, which he found out by remaking MT Vasudevan Nair’s Neelathamara ( 1979) with Lal Jose. This would be the second Padmarajan creation to go under the Processor in the past month, the first being Nakshathrangaley Kaaval ( 1971). The report goes on to say that the movie would be told from the perspective of the now-grownup Pappu (played by Krishnachandran), but it isn’t clear whether it is a reminiscence of the same narrative, or they are reinventing it once again. TK Rajeev Kumar’s last remake, the lovable little classic Mutharamkunnu PO into Hindi, starring Rajpal Yadav, called Kushti didn’t even run for a day in release centers. It was the same fate of his previous remake of a Malayalam classic into Hindi – Sathyan Anthikkad’s Varavelpu into a cringe-worthy hideous thing called Chal Chala Chal in 2009, starring Govinda! This time he is trying it in a playing field he knows best – Malayalam itself! Though the digital realm still celebrates Rathinirvedam as glorified porn [ just try searching Youtube for videoclips of the film and you know what I mean 🙂 ], for anyone who has watched the movie, it was as if Padmarajan just laid bare your tribulations of your pimple-era with such lyrical beauty.
Malayala Manorama’s Sunday pullout Shree had come out with a feature on Rathinirvedam in 2004, which also featured a small interview with Jayabharathi who so rightly said :
Rathinirvedam is not a movie. It is an intensely beautiful and sad poem which can only be written by the likes of such geniuses, so rare as Sri.Padmarajan. I guess in away, that sums it all up.
Am sure, with the coming days, some rabid, nubile, trite TV anchor might get hold of Krishnachandran and Jayabharathy in the comfort of the air-conditioned TV studio, and start off the sessions by questions that would suspiciously sound like “What was your experience in working with Padmarajan?” and so on. I guess at this rate, you can witness the dismembering of Padmarajan’s body of work in the coming years, and once they have finished with it, maybe they will start with Bharathan’s. When you think about it, the current film makers have a treasure trove to pick from, an Aladin’s Cave of riches in the form of the movies from the 60’s and the 70’s. And it has also proved its commercial value once, so why not repackage it, tweak the script and make it again?
I was recently watching a documentary called Cinimayudey Kalpadukal, brought out by Moserbaer ( in VCD format, thank you very much! ), where Sri.Madhu speaks about this “Change that is a Cycle” I thinks he is absolutely right in his assessment of Malayalam Cinema’s current state of affairs. Pretty soon, who knows, there would be remakes of Kallichellamma, Murappennu, Yavanika, Irakal and if you are lucky, starting with the beautiful Pavithram, TK Rajeevkumar might even remake his own film!
Update : 23 February 2011.
Update: 13 November 2010
Shwetha Menon is all set to play the role of ‘Rathi’ in the remake of ‘Rathinirvedam’. You can read the full article here.