Sridevi – Kamal Haasan in Malayalam Cinema | Satyavan Savithri (1977)

Satyavan Savithri was the only movie of that genre directed by PG Vishwambharan, a director known for his ‘populist’ movies. His second outre’ on something that was in the similar veins would come in 2002, in the form of  hilarious-but-serious version of his take on Vadakkan Paattukal, starring Vani Vishwanath as Unniyarcha – a clunky dud called Puthooram Puthri Unniyarcha ! Back to Satyavan Savithri. The story is from the Mahabharatha, and was about the unflinching, steadfast love and devotion of a wife for her husband that transcend even the prospect of death, to the point where she manages to bring back her husband, born with a terminal curse, to life, impressing even Yamadharma, the Lord of Death.

Continue reading Sridevi – Kamal Haasan in Malayalam Cinema | Satyavan Savithri (1977)

Kuttyedathi (1971) | Memorable character sketches

The characters from Kuttyedathi (1971) is very much like his creations from MT’s earlier works – you can almost recall one from where the place you came from, regardless of which part of Kerala you hail from, and yet, every single one has an indefinable, distinct identity. There is also one interesting fact that I noticed with the movie – Kuttyedathi(1971) has to be the only movie where almost all of the creative heavyweights of the Kozhikode Theater circuit came together in a project ! P Santha Devi, Kuttyedathi Vilasini, Philomena, Nilambur Balan, Balan K Nair, Kuthiravattam Pappu – cameo or a leading, they ensured the characters came alive on screen for you. It was  almost as if the character was destined to be there, at that part of our protagonist’s life to make events happen. {Crazy, I know, but then again, its just my perspective 🙂 }.

Continue reading Kuttyedathi (1971) | Memorable character sketches

Harischandra (1955), Malayalam’s first successful mythological film

Harishchandra (1955) - Title MontageAs I mentioned about the timeless relevance of Harishchandra’s story as juicy meat for a film producer, I wonder how it would fare if someone were to make it today, when you have the best of the technical advancements available along with the sensibilities of our times. My guess is that it would fall flat on its face and the Producers know that. Harischandra (1955) was the first mythological film in Malayalam that was successful, prompting Merryland and Neela Productions to produce ‘blockbusters’ like Bhakta Kuchela,’ ‘Sree Guruvayurappan,’ ‘Devi Kanyakumari’, and Kumarasambhavam amongst others in the 69-odd movies that were produced in Merry Land. Harishchandra was directed by Antony Mithradas which has been erroneously credited to P Subramaniam on the cover of the VCD that I have ! Harischandra (1955), is according to B Vijayakumar,  a scene-by-scene ripoff of the Kannada version from 1943 and the Tamil indigenous production from 1944 (starring the legendary PU Chinnappa and Kannamba ) which surprisingly didn’t fare as well as the dubbed version from Kannada!

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Guess who wrote to Old Malayalam Cinema ?

Kiran Vergis in Kakkothi Kaavile Appoppan Thaadikal

Old Malayalam Cinema received a mail from a character from an unforgettable film that was released 22 years ago.

A certain Murli wrote in a cryptic note at the Kakkothi Kaavile Appoppan Thaadikal (1988) post, that almost hid a note of glee in that. It read,

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MT’s Films | Kuttyedathi (1971)

Kuttyedathi (title)

Kuttyedethi (Kutty, the Elder Sister) created something of a revolution in popular film viewing when it was released in 1971. There wasn’t anything quite like it  that the Malayalam movie fraternity had ever witnessed on screen. Directed by PN Menon, with MT’s script, here was Kutty ( Vilasini), the part-tomboy, part-introvert, with a tongue that could slice through steel and a defiance to meaningless tradition, that almost bordered on arrogance, and beneath all, she still craved  a growing woman’s simple pleasures of life.

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Director Kamal, Cinematographer Vipin Mohan on their favorite movie.

Kamal Director

Director Kamals first movie was Mizhineer Pookal (1986). Kakkothikavile Appooppan Thadikal ( 1987 ) was his third Malayalam movie. Now with close to 40 films that defy categories and genre to his credit, he still considers Kakkothikavile Appooppan Thadikal as the one closest to his heart. I think it is not difficult to see why.

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Songs from Kakkothi Kaavile Appoppan Thaadikal (1988).

Revathi in Kakkothi kavile Appoppan Thadikal There were three songs in the film, written by Bichu Thirumala and set to music by Ouseppachan.

Continue reading Songs from Kakkothi Kaavile Appoppan Thaadikal (1988).

Kakkothi Kaavile Appoppan Thaadikal (1988)

Kakkothikkavile Appooppan Thaadikal

There is no other film that weaves a story around childhood and sibling love  like Kakkothi Kaavile Appoppan Thaadikal (1988), in Malayalam, written by Fazil and  directed by Kamal , and looking at the way things are progressing, there never will. Kamal calls it the movie closest to his heart, Vipin Mohan (legendary cinematographer) says there can be no film like this, ever. It doesn’t have a single superstar of the times, no sky-high budgets, no glitz. All it has  is a beautiful story of separation, independence and the inevitable reunion, deftly woven around a myth that stays sacred in the collective consciousness of one’s childhood – everything that is embodied by an appoppan thadi ( Grandpa’s beard a.k.a Calotropis Gigantea) !

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Onnu Muthal Poojyam Varey (1986)

The movie hall where I watched Onnu Muthal Poojyam Varey (1986) – From One to Zero has now disappeared and in its place stands a shopping arcade.  It was a beautiful movie that  revolved around a young, widowed mother, her adorable little daughter and this unknown caller who befriends the child, and before she knows,  is inextricably drawn into this relationship and realizes that the Voice has become an inseparable part of her life. It is also a depressing moniker of the progression of  a story, from hope to hopelessness and perchance a faint ray on the horizon.

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