|Prem Nazir, Madhu, Kottayam Chellappan, Ramu Kariat, Adoor Bhasi, Sheela, Kamaladevi, Ushakumari, Meena|
The Malayalam film ‘Ramanan', released in 1967 was the screen adaptation of the most celebrated poetical work of the renowned poet, Changampuzha Krishna Pillai, which was first published in 1936. ‘Ramanan' , a play written in the form of a verse is a pastoral tragedy. It was written by Changampuzha after the tragic death of his friend Edappally Raghavan Pillai in 1936 . The work is considered as the best elegy in Malayalam literature by critics.
Ramanan was popularised by Kedamangalam Sadanandan on stage in the form of a Katha Prasangam when Changampuzha was alive. This bestseller was reprinted several times and was prescribed as a text for the various courses in Malayalam literature by Kerala university.
Edappally Raghavan Pillai was a bosom friend of Changampuzha's and they were referred to as the ‘Edappally poets' since both hailed from the same place. Edappally Raghavan Pillai committed suicide in 1936 and the cause for the tragedy was the failure of a love affair in the life of the young poet. This tragedy upset Changampuzha. Soon after Changampuzha recovered from the shock and collected his thoughts in tranquillity to write ‘Ramanan', the best elegy in Malayalam literature. The elegy was published during the same year of the death of Raghavan Pillai, 1936 and was an instant best seller.
‘Ramanan' became a testament of romantic love. It is doubtful whether there is any youth in Kerala, who has not read or quoted lines from this elegy.
On the 60th death anniversary of Changampuzha, in 2008, ‘Ramanan' was brought out as a music album by the Carnatic vocalists Edapppally Ajit Kumar and Sreevalsan J. Menon under the label of Manorama Music.
It was D. M. Pottekkat, the renowned short story writer and novelist, who came forward to produce a movie, adapting the immortal Malayalam classic, almost 20 years after the death of the poet. D. M. Pottekkat wrote the script and dialogues and directed the film also. A few characters who are not in the original poetic work were created by the script writer for the screen version.
The film was shot at Vijaya, Vauhini and Shyamala Studios in Madras.
The camera was handled by U. Rajagopal and editing was done by K. Narayanan.
Dances were choreographed by Moorthy jointly with C. Gopalakrishnan. The film was technically good. But it failed at the boxoffice in spite of the leading stars like Prem Nazir, Madhu, Sheela etc in the cast. Music composed by K. Raghavan was excellent and the songs still linger in memories.
Ramanan (Prem Nazir) and Madanan (Madhu) are the two shepherds who are bosom pals. Meek and handsome, Ramanan used to sing and play the flute as he led the flock to the pasturesChandrika (Sheela), the daughter of the wealthy Advocate Peshkar (Kottayam Chellappam) gets fascinated by the charming shepherd with the sweet voice. Madanan warns Ramanan about the treacherous ways of the wealthy and advises him to keep away from Chandrika.
But Ramanan is blinded by his love for Chandrika and the lovers meet frequently on the hill top. The maid servant Bhanumathi (Kamaladevi) supports Chandrika. Chandrika's mother Madhavi Amma (Meena) comes to know about her daughter's affair with the shepherd. Her aristocratic parents prevents of Chandrika from meeting her lover. Though Chandrika stood by her lover at first, she later changes her mind. She agrees to marry Rajan (Ramu Kariat), an affluent youth that her parents chose for her. Bhanumathi raises her voice against the injustice towards Ramanan, and she is shown the door.
The broken hearted Ramanan hangs himself on a tree at the hilltop where he used to meet Chandrika. The tragedy occurs on the day of the wedding of Chandrika.
Prem Nazir and Sheela performed their roles in impressively.
Kottayam Chellappan, Kamaladevi and other artists also performed the roles assigned to them in a remarkable manner. The other characters created by the script writer for the film version, Karthi (Usha Kumari) who also loves Ramanan was one of the good performances in the film. Adoor Bhasi as the temple priest, Manavalan Joseph as Vallon, Karthi's father, also performed well. Though there was no significance deviation in the storyline the script and dialogues failed in passing on to the audience the emotions contained in the original work. The only relief was the songs, the lines selected from the original work. Music composed by K. Raghavan was excellent and based on folk tunes.
The romantic duet sung by K.P. Udayabhanu and P. Leela, ‘Kananachayayil Aadu Meikkaan Njaanum.....' is considered to be one of the best in Malayalam cinema.
Karimbuzha Radha made her debut as playback singer through this film.
The chorus led by her, ‘Malarani kaadukal ....' became an instant hit.
The other hits from the film include ‘Ekantha Kamuka ninte manoratham....' (Santha P. Nair), Velli nakshatrame ninne nokki,' ‘Chapala Vyamohangal...' (both by Udayabhanu), ‘Neelakuyile neelakuyile nee...' (Karimbuzha Radha).
Will be remembered:
As the screen adaptation of the immortal poetical work of Changampuzha
For the excellent music As the debut film of playback singer Karimbuzha Radha.