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.
Four out of five friends stared blankly when I asked for the actor who played the title role in Bharathan‘s eponymous Vaishali (1988), which is also a telling tale on a starburst which was “ooed and aahed”, and then, got neatly packed away in our cinema’s dusty, moldy archives. MT described the film as one of his “good films, though he felt, Bharathan had over-decorated it a bit, maybe because he was a painter“. Other epithets for Vaishali, the film, includes the “prettiest film” ever made in Malayalam and Bharathan’s painting in Celluloid, but, one has to acknowldege, there has never been a film, visually dense, exquisitely textured and sensually glowing as Vaishali (1988).
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.
A week down the line, I realize it is difficult to get out of the vice-grip that a literary work by Padmarajan has on your soul. It was on a whim that I dusted off the old, dog-eared collection ( from my school days) of the Celestial Storyteller, and dived straight in, starting with Nakshathrangale Kaaval (1978). It might have been a coincidence that the recent news report about his son, Ananthapadmanabhan starting off on preliminary scripting in remaking the 1978 film version of this fantastic story of three souls bound together in deep friendship, love, immorality, lust and celestial love.
I remember watching the movie in one of the late-night sessions of Doordarshan Kerala, thanks to probably a very bored program executive trying to bring some life into the otherwise staid proceedings of DD’s program chart. But try as I might, now, I just cannot recollect the main protagonists of the movie, I know there was MG Soman as Prabhu and Adoor Bhasi as Varmaji (Uncle). Recently I got hold of an old movie-still from the film which had MG Soman and Jaya Bharathi which brings me to the next question