After 32 years, Padmarajan’s Rathinirvedam (1978) gets remade (Sigh)

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.

Jayabharathy in Rathinirvedam (1978)
Jayabharathy in Rathinirvedam (1978)
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.

A new post on the confirmed cast and characters the 2011 version of  Padmarajan’s Rathinirvedam (1978)

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.

7 thoughts on “After 32 years, Padmarajan’s Rathinirvedam (1978) gets remade (Sigh)

  1. cinematters, I rememebr seeing Rathinirvedam as a teenager (did I tell you that I seem to have seen *very* age-inappropriate films?) and not really ‘getting it’ – until many years later, when I was doing my PG, I had a discussion with a classmate about movies and this came up – and he said it was a classic look at mostly any young male. 🙂 I never did think of it as pornography anyway – mostly, I think, those tags came along because distributors in other cities would take Malayalam films with ‘adult themes’ and then mix in scenes from real pornography into them. And Malayalam films got a bad rap. I saw Avalude Raavukal when I was in my early teens – and didn’t think of it as a sleazy movie at all. But then, I think I had an unusual childhood in that we were allowed to see all sorts of cinema, read all sorts of books – I don’t remember my having to hide a book or lie to go to the theatre. We even saw Blue Lagoon on video at home – all of us, from my grandparents to my nephews. 🙂 No one blinked an eye.

    1. Hi Anu,
      I would say you have been “awesomely lucky” 🙂 to have been born into such a progressive-minded family. I have always believed that Padmarajan and Bharathan teamed up to give the raging hormones of that era the most appropriate storyline that could be conceived on the big screen. To the current generation ( dipstick profile : my cousin who is 18 ) there is hardly any emotional connect to the narrative and finds it, in his own words, “a bit yellowed and old-fashioned”. I guess what raised our sensory levels and thresholds was the encapsulated environment that we all were brought up in, with any reference of ‘sexuality’ woefully absent. To that end, I guess both were brilliant marketers of that age who saw a demand and designed a ‘product’. Again, just my personal observations. Though i can never imagine not relating to the movie at any level even after countless re-runs, its not the same to the current generation, to whom information that ‘governs’ sexual awakening is at their beck and call, at their fingertips. I guess that takes away all the fun :D.. Thank you so much for writing in with your perspectives and thoughts across various posts. Appreciate it so much. While on the topic of Blue Lagoon, I presume you have also seen the corny, mutilated, mangled version as seen by IV Sasi, through his INA? Please do watch that too. :D..regards..cinematters

      1. I would say you have been “awesomely lucky” 🙂 to have been born into such a progressive-minded family.

        Yes, I’m beginning to realise that! 🙂

        I think we were a more ‘naive’ generation; I mean, I know I saw all these movies; and I certainly pillaged both my father’s and my eldest brother’s book cases; I read Madambu Kunjikuttan’s Bhrashtu when I was 13 – and all that caused me to do was to have a heated discussion with my brother (he was seven years older) on the fairness of the Namboothiri justice. :))

        Yeah, so in any case, those movies resonated with us *because* we were more innocent about hormonal surges :)) Today, everything is available at the click of a button. But I’m not sure that that makes things any better for today’s teenagers. Somehow, I think, taking away the mystery of something (that should be) so beautiful has cheapened it. But then, what do I know?

        I haven’t seen Ina actually! From the way you mention it, I don’t think I want to. :))

    1. Dear Anoop,
      I’m afraid you have approached the wrong place to exhibit your talent. This is a place that discuss old Malayalam Cinema, and have NO connection whatsoever to any of the film makers per se. Would request you to explore other relevant avenues for that, and would also wish you all the very best in your endeavors. Thanks for writing in. Regards..Cinematters

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