It is interesting to note that of the 12 movies directed by Venu Nagavally, 9 of them had Mohanlal playing the lead roles that mostly spoke about friendships and the bonds of unrequitted love. There was always an impending sense of loss in Venu Nagavally’s movies, specially the ones from the early years. At times, it almost seemed as if he deified sorrow, as one of my friends once mentioned, “Venu Nagavally’s characters thrive on grief. They seem to be very uncomfortable being in a sunshine state of mind.” Everytime I catch a rerun of his movies, or sit back with one on the DVD player, I can’t but agree with him. But, one also realises that its more the exception than the rule.
His movies celebrate friendships, and no one has been been able to replicate or even come close to his unbridled celebration of the bonds that make strangers bosom brothers. And he never gave in to the attempts by the media to slot him, this time around, in his avatar as the Director, in any established genre and tie him down in them. He flitted from friendships in campus to politics to relationships between married and single couples, practically disorienting the hawk-eyed movie scribe.
1986 Sukhamo Devi
1989 Lal Salam
1990 Aye Auto
1991 Kizhakkunarum Pakshi
1995 Agni Devan
1998 Rakthasakshikal Sindabad
2009 Bharya Swantham Suhruthu
Venu Nagavally‘s favorite leading lady seems to be Urvashi, having been fortunate enough to get some of her most memorable roles in her career from this ‘school’ of movies. Jayaram and Mammootty gone a movie each in his stint as a director, but when you thingk about it, it didn’t really matter. It would have done just as fine, had it been Mohanlal for them too. Really. His last movie as a director, Bharya, Swantham Shuhruthu (2009) had Mukesh essaying the lead role, along with Jagathy Sreekumar – the latter, an important part of most of his early films. I also feel that Ayirappara (1993) as a story and its narrative could have been actually a sub-plot of Laal Salaam (1989), and maybe he found it too cumbersome and lengthy and spun it off as a separate story altogether. Hey, its just my opinion.
Venu Nagavally‘s movies are also remembered for its songs, and his favorite has to be, undoubtedly Raveendran Mash. MG Radhakrishnan came second, and Rajamani seems to be the one who was responsible for the background score of many of his movies.
I intend to write about each one of them, as most of them are bound to bring a whole lot of memories associated with it gushing through. Regardless, it would be fun to revisit those moments in movies that curiously share a strange relationship with incidents as one came of age, that are incomplete without the other.
Here is one of them, which still is a part of the ‘Fraternity’s Spirited Discussions.’
Kavalam Narayana Panicker’s Athiru Kaakkum..