I felt a short update on this was overdue ( no, there isn’t anything that you have not already read or know), but simply because the project is finally underway with the shooting of the new version progressing at Mavelikkara and they are looking for a festival release, from what I could gather from the reports. Shweta Menon finally IS reprising the role of Rathichechy and the makers have finally found their 2011 version of Pappu in Sreejith Vijay, who debuted in Fazil’s Living Together (2011). ( The Asianet news anchor in the attached video seems to refer to him as Sreejith Ravi, have no idea why! )
The original script of P Padmarajan has been re-written by Vinu Abraham, who says that he has “re-written” the script keeping in mind the sensibilities of the current era and the generation that would go to watch the movie” in mind.
But he also swears that the main story stays the same but for the movie-goer, the new version would be a ‘brand new movie’ altogether..! Ummm, what was that again?
Listen to Vinu Abraham and TK Rajeev Kumar speak about the movie.
P Padmarajan and Bharathan, when they teamed up to make this coming-of-age story, it was nothing short of being ‘revolutionary’ in those times, for the closed, constricted and conservative and (mostly sideways) view of the traditional Malayali’s view on sex and sexual attraction. Most chose not to speak about it, and the ones that did were vehemantly shooed down. It took real verve to speak of a tale such as that, that of seduction, sexual attraction and infatuation – all condensed in 13 reels and to have it shown in your neighborhood cinema. It also helped that the social mores 30 years back was an inviting and fertile petridish for a brave new experiment on this scale.
Would it be the same 30 years on? I frankly doubt it. At an age when sexual discovery, exploration and gratification are right there on the dials of your personal cell phone ( they even attached a camera to that, thank you very much), and the notions of love and lust undergone an ‘industrial’ change, would the version 2.0 of Rathi Chechi ‘work’ for the present generation?
Shwetha Menon speaks about the project.
Suresh Kumar, the veteran producer who feels he has struck motherlode by this method of blending, puree’ing and then microwaving an old classic is a safer bet at the box-office ( Neelathamara version 2.0 must have been the starting point) is banking on the Malayalam movie fan again to make it shine at the box-office.
Here is the producer Suresh Kumar’s take on the production.
KPAC Lalitha is the only one from the original cast that is present in the new version, as Rathi’s mother, the one originally done by Meena. Shammi Thilakan replaces in the role played by MG Soman in the original. The music is by M Jayachandran.
As Jayabharathi said in an interview in 2004, “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.”
That should suffice, I guess.