Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bharya (1962)

Sathyan, Kottayam Chellappan, S. P. Pillai, Ragini, Rajasree, Adoor Pankajam etc

Like the ‘love triangle,' another favourite subject for films is that of the ‘other woman' The Telugu film ‘Swargaseema' (1945) was probably the first popular Indian film that focussed on this rather controversial subject. Tamil films like ‘Rakthakkanneer,' ‘Illara Jyothi,' (1954) ‘Town Bus' (1955) etc. are examples of successful films with this theme. The ageless subject even finds its place in ancient Tamil epics like ‘Chilappathikaram' based on which Tamil films ‘Kannagi' (1942), ‘Poompuhar' (1964) etc were made.

In Malayalam, ‘Bharya,' (1962) produced and directed by Kunchacko under the banner of Udaya Studios is considered the best and most popular film that discusses this subject. The film was adapted from the novel of the same title by E. J. Philip, popularly known as Kaanam E J. The novel is said to be based on a real incident, the Thiruvalla Ammalu murder case. Some of the early Malayalam films like ‘Ponkathir' (1954), ‘Ashadeepam' (1954), and ‘Mariyakutty' (1958) also used this same theme. Released as a Christmas gift, on December 20, 1962, the film broke many a box office record.

The dialogues written by Ponkunnam Varkey became a favourite and for the first time in Malayalam cinema dialogues of important scenes were released in a set of four 78 rpm records.

Popular artistes like Sathyan, Kottayam Chellappan, S. P. Pillai, Ragini, Adoor Pankajam starred in the film. Rajasree made her Malayalam debut in this film. Her name in the title cards was listed as Gracy, the name of the character in the film. Her role as the ‘other woman' became so popular that in some of her later films also her name in the title cards was shown as Gracy.

Benny (Sathyan) runs a parallel college. He leads a peaceful and happy family life with his wife Leela (Ragini), and children Molly (Baby Seetha) and Rajan (Master Jijo). Benny falls in love with Gracy (Rajasree), one of his students. Gracy's parents (S. P. Pillai and Adoor Pankajam) take undue advantage of Benny's blind love for Gracy. They gradually manage to eat into his wealth. Leela's attempts to bring her husband back fail. In fact, Benny does not even visit his ailing father Dr. Joshua (Kottayam Chellappan).

Benny plans to elope with Gracy. When Leela tries to prevent him she is beaten up. Leela falls unconscious. Thinking that Leela is dead, Dr Joshua orders his son to shoot her. He wanted to create an impression that Leela had committed suicide. Benny pulls the trigger. Leela, who was unconscious, dies of bullet injuries. Benny is arrested by the police.

A stand out performance by Ragini and Sathyan in the negative role were the highpoints of the film.

Nine songs by the Vayalar-Devarajan team turned timeless melodies. ‘Periyare, Periyare…' (A. M. Raja-P. Susheela) , ‘Panjarapaalu Mithayi…' (K. J. Yesudas-Leela), ‘Manas samadham thannattey…' (Raja-Jikki), ‘Omanakkayyil …' (Susheela), ‘Mulkireedamithenthinu…' (Susheela), ‘Kaanaan nalla kinavukal…' (S. Janaki), and a song and dance sequence pictured in colour, ‘Adam, Adam…' (Yesudas-Susheela) are still hummed.

Will be remembered: For its excellent music and the good story. As the film debut of Kaanam E J and the first Malayalam film of Rajasree.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Krishna Kuchela (1961)

Popular film companies and producers have always been engaged in a fierce competition. The result has been some excellent social, historical, action movies. In some cases films with the same plot or concept have been made and released almost simultaneously. There are also instances where movies flopped as a result of this competition.

Take the case of the Tamil films ‘Gnana Soundari' (1948). Two films, with the same title and storyline, one produced by Gemini Films, with M. K. Radha and V. S. Suseela in the lead roles and the other by Citadel Films that had T. R. Mahalingam and M. V. Rajamma in the lead roles. These films were released within a month of each other. While the Gemini film flopped the Citadel version became a runaway hit, a classic.

The Malayalam film ‘Krishna Kuchela,' produced by Udaya Studios,' and ‘Bhakta Kuchela,' produced by Neela Productions', had the same Bhagavatha story of Krishna and his childhood friend Kuchela. ‘Bhakta Kuchela' was released on November 9, 1961, and ‘Krishna Kuchela' on November 18, 1961. The Neela film, directed by P. Subramaniam, was a huge hit, whereas ‘Krishna Kuchela' failed miserably.

The Telugu film ‘Krishna Kuchela,' released on June 6, 1961, was the inspiration behind the production of the two Malayalam versions. This Telugu film, directed by C. Narayanamoorthy, was a crowd puller and is considered as one of the best mythological films in the language. Kuchela, played by C. S. R. Anjaneyalu, an actor noted for his mythological roles, came up with a brilliant performance. In fact, his role in the Neela production is widely believed to be the reason behind the film's success. The role of Krishna was played by another popular Telugu star, Kantha Rao. ‘Bhakta Kuchela' was an unusual collaboration between a Malayalam producer and an array of Telugu stars.

Directed by Kunchacko, ‘Krishna Kuchela' was shot at Udaya Studios. The dances choreographed by Hiralal and cinematography by T. N. Krishnankutty were commendable. The high point of the film was its music, which was composed by K. Raghavan.

Popular artists like Sathyan, Prem Nazir, T. S. Muthiah, Kottayam Chellappan, Ragini, B. S. Saroja, and KPAC Sulochana were cast in important roles. Apart from the popular story a few sequences from the Bhagavatha, like the birth of Krishna, Radha's love and devotion towards Krishna, enmity with Sisupala, slaying of Kamsa etc. were included as a sub-plot.

The competition between these two films was apparent in music and advertisement techniques. The distinctive numbers of the 78 rpm gramophone records of the songs indicate that they were released the same day or same week. Along with the publicity notices of ‘Bhakta Kuchela', especially in the theatres, ‘aval' or beaten rice was distributed in small packets wrapped in the publicity notice itself. Not to be left behind the publicity material of ‘Krishna Kuchela' were sent to houses along with ‘aval kizhi' or beaten rice packed in a small piece of cloth.

The songs in both the films were good. In this case, however, ‘Krishna Kuchela' scored. There were 22 songs in this film. Written by P. Bhaskaran and tuned by K. Raghavan some of them like ‘Omanakuttan Govindan…' (Shanta P. Nair), ‘Marayalle mayalle Radhey…' (K. Raghavan), ‘Umma nalkuthengineyamma…' (P. Susheela) and ‘Varnippathengine nin…' (M. L. Vasanthakumari-P.Leela) turned hugely popular.

Will be remembered:‘Krishna Kuchela' did not do well at the box office but it will be remembered as one of the two films with the same story, produced at the same time, which was the first instance in Malayalam cinema. It will also be remembered for its good music.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sheelavathi (1967)

Stories from Hindu religious texts were a favourite subject for Indian cinema right from the beginning. Most of the silent and sound films produced with such themes were successful at the box office. Silent films like ‘Mahasati Anasuya' (1921), ‘Sukanya Savithri' (1922) and sound films of the early period ‘Sati Ahalya' (Tamil-1937), ‘Sati Sulochana' (Kannada-1934), ‘Savithri' (Hindi-1937) are a few examples.

Sheelavathi is a name that appears in several Hindu texts. A chaste woman and a dutiful wife, she is not one of the five Sati's (Savithri, Sita, Draupadi, Anasuya and Mandodari) mentioned in Hindu Puranas and Upanishads.

Sheelavathi is so popular that a phrase has been coined that is often used to refer to a chaste woman or dutiful wife.

‘Sheelavathi Naalu Vrutham' , a poetic work, believed to be authored by Kunjan Nambiar, that tells the story of the ‘ideal' woman, was first published in 1874. The same story was written and performed by Nambiar as ‘Ottanthullal', a folk art popularised by him.

The Malayalam film ‘Sheelavathi' (1967) was probably the first Indian movie that told this story on screen. Produced under the banner of Aries Films and directed by P. B. Unni, the film was not successful. The high point of the film was the music by G. Devarajan.

Sheelavathi (K. R. Vijaya) and Ugrathapas (Sathyan) students and inmates at the hermitage of sage Athri (P. J. Antony) fall in love. They get married after they complete their Vedic lessons. Ugrathapas establishes his own Vedic school. The couple leads a happy family life. Lord Shiva and Parvathi subject Sheelavathi to a test of character.

Ugrathapas contracts leprosy. He tortures Sheelavathi for no fault of hers. The chaste and dutiful wife, Sheelavathi, runs the household by begging, makes no complaint and nurses her husband sincerely. One day Ugrathapas orders his wife to take him to the mansion of the courtesan (Vijayalalitha).

While carrying her husband in a basket on her head Ugrathapas's leg strikes Sage Mandavya's (Kottayam Chellappan) head. The sage curses Ugrathapas saying that he will die at the next sunrise.

To save her husband's life, Sheelavathi starts a penance. She pleads to the Sun not to rise the next morning and it does not. This is the power that the dutiful and chaste acquires in the story. She is now able to control the natural forces. The sun does not rise; the universe comes to a halt. Anasuya (T. R. Omana), the consort of Sage Athri appears before Sheelavathi and requests her to withdraw her penance. And she does so. Ugrathapas dies only to be brought back to life by the blessings of the Trinity. Sheelavathi's character is proved beyond doubt.

The nine songs written by P. Bhaskaran were set to tune by Devarajan.

The romantic duet ‘Valkalamooriya vasantha yamini…' (K. J. Yesudas- P. Susheela), and ‘Surabhi maasam vannallo…' (S. Janaki and chorus) became instant hits. The other hits include ‘Chirichu kondodi nadakkum…', and ‘Muttathu prathyusha deepam…' (Janaki). A devotional, ‘Om Saraswathim namami…' was rendered by Devarajan, along with P. B. Sreenivas and Yesudas.

Will be remembered:As the first Indian film to narrate the story of Sheelavathi. And for its music.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Kunjali Marakkar (1967)

Banner : Chandratara Productions

Producer : T K Pareekutty

Director: SS Rajan

Story/Dialogues: K Padmanabhan Nair

Lyrics: P Bhaskaran

Music: Chidambaranath

Star cast: Kottarakkara, Prem Nazir, Premji , S P Pillai, P J Antuny, Satyapal, Jyothilakshmi, P K Saraswwathi, Sukumari etc

‘Kunjali Marakkar' tells the story of the legendary 16th century naval captain. The life and times of martyrs and freedom fighters caught the attention of Indian cinema from its early period. But filming of such stories was not possible during British rule. Before Independence, the Censor Board had banned a Tamil social film, ‘Thyagabhoomi' (1939) directed by K. Subrahmaniam on charges that the film contained dialogues and sequences that went against the British. The Malayalam film ‘Veluthambi Dalava' (1962) that falls in this genre was not as successful as ‘Kunjali Marakkar.'

Many historical films, in various languages, were made after Independence. And most of them focused on the lives of martyrs and freedom fighters. They became the subject of Hindi like ‘Padmini' (1948), and ‘Jhansi Ki Rani' (1953); Tamil films like ‘Veera Pandya Kattabomman' (1959) and ‘Kappalottiya Thamizhan' (1961).

‘Kunjali Marakkar,' produced by T. K. Pareekutty and directed by S. S. Rajan was shot at Satya and Syamala Studios, Chennai. The film was edited by G. Venkitaraman, story and dialogues were by K. Padmanabhan Nair and fights directed by R. N. Nambiar. Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair, Prem Nazir, P. J. Antony, Kottayam Chellappan, Sukumari etc. played important roles in the film. Playback singer P. Jayachandran made his film debut in this film, though his songs in ‘Kalithozhan' (1966) were released first. The music, composed by B. A. Chidambaranath, was a high point of the film.

The Portuguese dominated trade in the Malabar after Vasco da Gama set foot in Kozhikode. The Samoodiri of Kozhikode (Premji) opposed the Portuguese. But the foreigners were supported by the local merchants and the Samoodiri's wicked nephew (P. J. Antony). Mohammed (Kottarakkara), a brave warrior and merchant supported the Samoodiri in his fight against the Portuguese. The Samoodiri honoured Mohammed by making him his naval chief and renaming him ‘Kunjali Marakkar'.

The Chief Minister Mangattachan's niece is in love with Poovalappil Nanu (Prem Nazir), a warrior-merchant. Rumours are spread that Nanu is killed by the Portuguese. Meanwhile, the Portuguese, with the support of the local traders and king's nephew try all their wicked tricks to capture Kozhikode and even to murder the Samoodiri. But Marakkar's timely intervention saves the country and the king. Nanu goes to Kochi and gets into the Portuguese troop and even manages to become one of their captains.

To save his people from Portuguese attacks, Samoodiri accedes to their request to build a fort in Kozhikode. Another fort is built at Kottakkal. When the land is attacked by forces from the sea, Marakkar stands up to them and staves off the attempted invasion. Nanu, in disguise as Antonio, captain of the Portuguese, takes charge of Kozhikode Fort. He lends secret support to Marakkar. But with the support of some local merchants and landlords, the Portuguese succeed in capturing Marakkar and killing him.

The film revolved around the brilliant acting of Kottarakkara in what must be one of his best roles. Premji also stood out in his role as the Samoodiri. P. K. Saraswathi, heroine of early Malayalam and Tamil cinema, made a comeback in this film. She played the role of the queen. Jyothilakshmi also impressed in the romantic role.

Music was one of the main attractions. There were six songs written by P. Bhaskaran and set to tune by Chidambaranath. A solo by K. J. Yesudas ‘Udikkunna sooryane…,' the romantic numbers ‘Mullappoo malayumai…' (P. Jayachandran), and ‘Muttathu pookana…' (P. Leela) were the most popular of them. Other hits include the devotional by S. Janaki, ‘Neeyallathaarundu abhayam…', and ‘Aattinakkare…' (Yesudas, Vasantha, Kamala).

Will be remembered:As the debut film of playback singer P. Jayachandran, for its good music and a stand out performance by Kottarakkara.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Koottukaar (1966)

‘Koottukar' is considered the first Malayalam film with communal harmony as the main plot. Earlier films like ‘Moodupadam' (1963) used this subject as a sub-plot.

V. Shantaram produced the classic film ‘Shejari' (Marathi)/ ‘Padosi' (Hindi) in 1941, both based on this subject. The story was written by the noted Marathi author Vishram Bedekar. ‘Koottukar' adapted the story of Shantaram's classic film with some changes.

Produced by A. K. Balasubramaniam under the banner of Saravanabhava the Malayalam adaptation failed to impress.

The Shantaram film was screened at the Canadian National Film Exhibition at Toronto in 1947 and also went on to win honours at various film festivals.

A multi-starrer, the film had Sathyan, Prem Nazir, Thikkurissi, Kottarakkara, S. P. Pillai, Manavalan Joseph, Ambika, Sheela, Aranmula Ponnamma among others.

The film was directed by Sasikumar, dialogues by P. J. Antony and music by M. S. Baburaj.

Raman Nair (Thikkurissi) and Mammootty (Kottarakkara) are close friends. Mammootty has lost a leg in a coal mine accident. The two families are very close, a perfect example of communal harmony.

Rahim (Prem Nazir) and Kadeeja (Ambika), the children of Mammootty are brought up by Kaathamma (Aranmula Ponnamma), wife of Raman Nair. And for Mammootty, a widower, Gopi (Sathyan) Raman Nair's son is like his own son.

Gopi is in love with Radha (Sheela), daughter of the village doctor (S. P. Pillai). He gets a job in the coal mine and leaves the village. The wicked Haji (Manavalan Joseph) attempts to molest Kadeeja, but Gopi intervenes in the nick of time and saves her. Haji spreads a false news that there is an illicit relationship between Gopi and Kadeeja. This causes a rift between the two families.

Rahim also gets a job in the coal mine. Here he has to face the rude behaviour of Gopi, his friend and now his superior officer. Rahim decides to take revenge and one night reaches Gopi's quarters armed with a knife. Here Rahim overhears Gopi requesting his superiors to promote Rahim. Rahim realises the true love of Gopi and they unite.

Kadeeja's marriage is fixed. Haji sets fire to Mammootty's house. Raman Nair jumps into the fire to save his friend Mammootty and both of them lose their lives. The film ends with the funeral scene of the two true friends.

Thikkurissi and Kottarakara excelled in their roles. But it did not match that of Gajanan Jagirdar and Mazhar Khan in the Hindi/Marathi film. Again the climax scene was one of the main attractions of the Shantaram classic. The two friends lose their lives when the dam in the village breaks. The fire in the Malayalam film failed to create that impact.

The six songs in the film were written by Vayalar Rama Varma and set to tune by Baburaj. The songs like ‘Asatho Ma sathgamaya…. Oru jaathi oru matham…' (K. J. Yesudas), and the duet ‘Kurumozhi mullappoo…' (Yesudas- S. Janaki) went on to become big hits. The other popular numbers include ‘Kannaadi koottile…' (P. Susheela), ‘No vacancy, no vacancy…' (Yesudas), ‘Nizhalukale nizhalukale…' (Yesudas), and ‘Veettilinnale vadakku ninnu…' (P Leela and chorus).

Will be remembered: As the first Malayalam film that focussed on the theme of communal harmony. Also for some of its memorable songs by Vayalar Rama Varma and M. S. Baburaj.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

P Susheela's first malayalam song - Trivia

P Susheela

All know that the singer came to Malayalam cinema through Seetha (1960)

There are some indications, and nowhere documented facts, that led to the entry of the singer to Malayalam. Probably one lullaby sung by her in a Tamil flm paved the way for this. I have come across such references in the past - interviews, comments by music personalities etc. Once a media person asked me whether I remember any lullaby sung by Suseela in mid 1950s that made her famous. I could not recollect, because it was her early period. And quite amazingly recently I happened to listen to one of her early lullabies. The media persoan asked me about the lullaby, on the basis of his interview with the playback singer P Jayachandran who referred to this song, and that he did not remember the details of the song. I located the melodious lullaby. It is from the tamil film "Kanavane Kan Kanda Deivam". (1955). I remember to have come across comments on this song, and probably this song might have paved the way for her entry to Malayalam cinema. For the first song by her in Malayalam, a lullaby, "Paattu paadi..." resembles her tamil lullaby. In both the songs, the mother character 's imagination is about the bright future of her son/sons. In the Tamil film, Anjali Devi, the heroine abandoned in the forest and struggling with her infant son sings the song. In the Malayalam film, Seetha Devi sings the song, abandoned in the forest and given refuge by the Sage Valmiki.

Listen to the Tamil song and recollect your memories of the Malayalam lullaby.


Listen to the song here

Two long lost songs of Sthree Hrudayam

Documenting the history of Indian film music - a challenging task. Malayalam film music, more difficult .
Songs recorded, but not included in the film. Songs once released,, subsequently removed. And so on. No documentation of such happenings.

Here is an example Name of the film : Stree Hrudayam (1960)

Recently I got a 78 rpm gramaphone record of two songs from the film. And I am surprised to note that these songs are not there in the songs book of the film
But the record lable clearly indicate these songs as from the film "Stree Hrudayam"
For your listening, I am attaching the songs.
Gramaphone record - Columbia record No. GE 36026
One is a Kathakali padam - probably from "Uttara Swayamvaram" (as the text indicate) " Pranavallabha...." - LPR Varma, Tripura Sundari and Shanta.
(Nothing known about the singers Tripurasundari and Shantha)

Another song, Ashtapadi - "Chandana charchita,....." L P R Varma

The story indicate the possibility of these songs in the film. The heroine is daughter of a temple priest. Ashtapadi being a Sopana sangteetham number being sung traditionally in temples. Other one, Kathakali, a temple art, the Kathakali padam also possible in the film

Listen to the songs here

Chandana Charthitha

Intha veen kopam

The song "Intha veen kopam...." was removed from the tamil film "Kanavane Kan kanda deivam " (Tamil. 1955). Sung by P Leela and Susheela.

Tamil Cinema history notes that the song was removed to reduce the length of the film. But the released gramaphone record of the movie included this song. The song sequence which the audience could not watch on screen, became a super hit and one of the early hits of Susheela.

And I remember clearly, Ceylon Radio used to broadcast this number, with special announcement about the song - THIS IS THE HIT NUMBER THAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE MOVIE.

Malayalam cinema history doesn't have any mention of a song being dropped for similar reasons. I mentioned about the songs from Stree Hrudayam. I could know about the songs, only after getting the gramaphone record of the songs.

Listen to the tamil song.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Kanakachilanka (1966)

‘Kanakachilanka' was an unusual Malayalam film with a thief as the hero. Some earlier Malayalam films did have golden-hearted heroes in disguise as outlaws or bandits. ‘Kerala Kesari' (1951) and ‘Thaskaraveeran' (1957) are two such examples. But the hero of ‘Kanakachilanka' was a ‘real' thief with a romantic heart. The plot of the film was from the block-buster Hindi film ‘Kismet' (1943) that created history by running continuously for three years in a single theatre in Calcutta. This film was an adaptation of the Hollywood film ‘Algiers' (1938).

‘Kismet' faced protests as it was felt that the film glamorised criminal life. In spite of such protests, the film became one of the most successful Indian films and its remakes ‘Premapasam' (Tamil-1956) and ‘Bale Ramudu' (Telugu-1956) were also hits.

The German film ‘Pick Pocket' (1959), directed by Robert Bresson, exhibited with English sub-titles was also popular in the country. Prompted by the success of these films, Sunderlal Nahata decided to produce a Malayalam movie with a similar story. The film had Prem Nazir in the lead.

Directed by M. Krishnan Nair, the script and dialogues written by Thoppil Bhasi, was the high point of the film. Editing by Prakasham, camera by B. J. Mohan and music composed by M. S. Baburaj were the other attractions of the film.

A rich landlord, Krishnan Thampi's happy family life takes a strange twist. His elder daughter Lata (Sheela), who is fond of music and dance, was crippled following an accident in her childhood caused by Shekhar, the son of Thampi's manager, Gopala Panikker. Shekhar is beaten up by Thampi and thrown into the nearby river. Thampi is sentenced to life on charges of murder. Thampi's wealth is appropriated by Panikker, leaving Lata and her sister Rema struggle for their livelihood. Years roll on.

Thampi befriends Ramadas (Prem Nazir), another prisoner in jail. Thampi sends a letter to Lata through Ramdas who he released. Ramdas introduces himself to Lata as an insurance agent. He rents a portion of Lata's house and they fall in love. Ramdas steals a diamond necklace from Panikker's house and gifts it to Lata. Meanwhile, a well-wisher arranges for the surgery and treatment of Lata's leg. She is cured.

Rema is arrested by the police for being in possession of the necklace. Lata tells the police that the necklace was gifted to her by Ramdas. The police then reveal the real identity of Ramdas and he absconds. Thampi is released from jail. He reaches the theatre where Lata's dance programme is on; Ramdas also reaches the venue. The police, who are tracking Ramdas, try to apprehend him. Ramdas is injured in the firing that ensues. Panikker identifies Ramdas as his son Shekhar from the scar he sees on his injured hand. Lata marries Ramdas.

The Malayalam remake was not as successful as the other versions. The producers adopted a new promotional technique. A dance sequence by Sheela which was removed by the Censor Board was included a few days after the release of the film.

The seven songs, written by Vayalar Rama Varma and set to tune by M S Baburaj, turned hits. The romantic number by K. J. Yesudas, ‘Manaswini manaswini ninte manasaveenayil…' was the most popular of them. The other hits include ‘Pon malayorathu…', ‘Aayiram chirakulla…', ‘Kunju kunju naalilenikkoru…' (P. Susheela), ‘Sakhi sakhi ninne kaanaan...' (Yesudas) and a comic number by A. L. Raghavan, ‘Polish polish Kochiyilum kittum…'

Will be remembered: For the good music, especially for the song ‘Manaswini manaswini…' and as the first Malayalam film that included an additional scene after the release.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chithramela (1967)

‘Chitramela' was Malayalam cinema's first portmanteau film, consisting of three short films. ‘Yauvanam/Vandikkari' (1974) and ‘Kerala Café' (2009) are two other popular Malayalam films produced under this category. It was European directors like Rosseto Rosselini who promoted and popularised this trend in films.

Along with the Tamil film ‘Bhakta Ramadas' (1935), produced by Parameswari Sound Pictures, another ‘bit film' (as it was referred to in common parlance) titled ‘Milakaay Podi' was also shown. But the Tamil movie ‘Sirikkathe' (1939) produced by Sree Rajam Talkies is considered as the first portmanteau film in India. In the case of the former film, it is believed that the bit was added to the feature film ‘Bhakta Ramadas' and was not originally planned as a portmanteau.

‘Chitramela,' was produced under the banner of Sree Movies. Veteran actor T. S. Muthiah made his debut as producer-director in this film. The music, composed by G. Devarajan, was the highpoint of the film.

The segment titled ‘Nagarathinte Mukhangal' was first in the compilation. S. L. Puram Sadanandan wrote the dialogues for the script by M. K. Mani. A crime thriller, this short film showed the tragic fate of children left alone at home while the parents enjoyed themselves at late-night parties and meetings. One such couple, Sheela and Ummer, leave their daughter at home with the servant and go for a party . The naughty girl plays with the telephone, dials numbers and interacts with the person at the other end of the line. One such call results in trouble. The call was to a house which happened to be the venue of a murder. The girl says over the phone that she knew what was happening there. The murderer (Kottayam Chellappan) locates the number, kidnaps the girl and attempts to kill her. But the intervention of the police saves the girl's life.

The second short film, ‘Penninte Prapancham', was a hilarious comedy. The story by T. E. Vasudevan was inspired by a Laurel and Hardy film. The dialogues written by Bhavanikutty provided space for humour. The characters in the film were the original film stars themselves. Adoor Bhasi, Manavalan Joseph and Bahadur are trained to drive a car by S. P. Pillai, their ‘asan' or teacher. They encounter hilarious situations with the women they meet. All the students and their teacher go into deep sleep. They wake up after 50 years to find that men have lost dominance; women, they find, have become all powerful in the world.

‘Apaswarangal', story and dialogues of which were by Sreekumaran Thampi, was the longest in the compilation. The film told the story of a tragic love affair between a blind girl and a street singer. Seetha (Sarada), the daughter of a ‘coolie' in a colony is in love with Babu (Prem Nazir), a street singer. A city wastrel's evil eye falls on Seetha and Babu is beaten up severely by his goons. A famous dancer happens to listen to Babu's singing. Babu goes on to accept the patronage of the dancer, separating him from Seetha.

The colony is hit by an outbreak of small pox. Except for Seetha and a small boy all the others die. Seetha and the boy leave in search of Babu. She hears Babu's voice from a theatre. Babu rushes to meet his lover. Seetha who is elated falls into his arms and dies. ‘Chitramela' is remembered for its music. All the eight songs, written by Sreekumran Thampi and tuned by G. Devarajan, became super hits. Seven solos by K. J. Yesudas, and a duet with S. Janaki, are considered gems in Malayalam film music. ‘Madampotti chirikkunna... (Yesudas-Janaki), ‘Akasha deepame...', ‘Paaduvan moham...,' ‘Kannuneer kayalile...,' ‘Nee evide nin nizhal evide..,' ‘Apaswarangal...,' ‘ Chella cheru kiliye...,' ‘Nee oru minnalaai ...' (all by Yesudas) are still popular.

Will be remembered: As the first portmanteau film in Malayalam. For its excellent music and as the debut film of T .S. Muthiah as producer-director.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Oru Penninte Katha (1971)

Sheela and Sathyan in the film

“Oru Penninte Katha” released in 1971 is considered to be one of the best Malayalam films produced in the 70s which proved that a good story with strong characters will always be a success. A new concept was experimented through the unusual story written by Moses, an amateur short story writer. Women-centred subjects have always been a favourite with Indian cinema. The film tells the story of a woman who takes revenge on the man who ruined her life, coming into his life in another guise.

Probably the Tamil film “Thyagabhoomi “ (1939) directed by the legendary producer and director K.Subrahmaniam presented first on screen such a character.

In this film S.D. Subbalakshmi performed the character of a Brahmin woman abandoned by her husband, who comes again into his life in another guise and takes revenge on him and the evils of the society that stood against her. Though the theme and the story of “Thyagabhoomi” and “Oru Penninte Katha” is not the same, the central characters of these films are women who suffer thus and the name of these women characters in both films is the same - Savithri.

“Oru Penninte Katha” was a huge hit at the box office. Produced by K.S.R.Moorthy under the banner of “Chithranjali”, the film was directed by K.S.Sethumadhavan and ranks high among the Malayalam films directed by him. The film was shot at Prasad Studios, Chennai and the main outdoor location was Munnar in Kerala. Cameraman Melli Irani copied on film the natural beauty of the tea estates for the few scenes and song sequences. Editing by Sreenivasalu and choreography by E. Madhavan was commendable. Music by G. Devarajan was excellent. Script and dialogues written by S.L. Puram Sadanandan impressed the audience.

Popular artistes like Satyan, K.P.Ummer, Muthiah, Govindankutty, Adoor Bhasi, Sheela, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Jayabharathi, Junior Sheela etc added star value to the film.

The grand success of “Oru Penninte Katha” prompted producers and directors to produce films based on stories having similar women characters in the lead role.

Savithri (Sheela) is the only daughter of Govindan (T.S.Muthiah) who is employed in the tea estates owned by Madhavan Thampi (Satyan). One day Madhavan Thampi happens to see Savithri singing and dancing on the riverside and is attracted towards her. Raghavan (Govindankutty) is the local leader of the labourers. Rajan (K.P.Ummer), another leader of the estate workers is involved in a criminal case framed against him by the estate owners and the police is in search of him. Rajan gets refuge in Savithri's house through Raghavan. Love blooms between Savithri and Rajan. Quite accidently Madhavan Thampi happens to see Rajan in his hideout. Savithri fears that Thampi may report it to the police. Her friend Thankamma (Jayabharathi) advises her to approach Thampi and plead with him to not report to the police. Accordingly Savithri reaches Thampi's bungalow and is raped by him. Thampi also informs the police and Rajan is arrested.

Savithri becomes pregnant, but Thampi disowns her. Govindan commits suicide and the helpless Savithri leaves town after giving birth to a child whom she leaves in the hospital. Thampi marries Subhadra (Kaviyoor Ponnamma) and they live happily with their daughter Sreedevi (Junior Sheela). Mismanagement of the business by Thampi results in huge losses. Thampi's estate and property is bought by a rich woman Gayathri Devi who comes from Bombay. Thampi contests the Assembly elections and loses. Raghavan, who is a nominee of Gayathri Devi, wins.

Gayathri Devi repays Thampi's debts too and she files a suit against Thampi for recovery of money she paid to clear his debts. Thampi's house is about to be attached when Subhadra approaches Gayathri Devi with a request to wait till their daughter gets married.

Gayathri Devi narrates to Subhadra the reason behind her actions. Gayathri Devi is none other than Savithri, the daughter of Thampi's poor servant Govindan, who was abandoned by him mercilessly. Savithri struggled hard in life in Bombay till she inherited a huge amount of wealth from a benefactor.

Thampi writes a letter to Gayathri Devi, in which he tells Sreedevi that it is her own daughter whom he adopted from the hospital. . Gayathri Devi transfers all her wealth in Sreedevi's name , but Sreedevi refuses to accept it and Gayathri Devi returns to Bombay.

Sheela and Satyan excelled in their roles. Even minor characters in the film impressed the audience. The gossip monger old woman in the town played by T. R. Omana, Thampi's faithful servant Unnithan performed by Adoor Bhasi, etc are examples.

The titles of the film adopted a new style, Satyan appearing on the screen to introduce the technical crew behind the production of the film. The technicians also appeared on the screen.

Songs written by Vayalar were composed by Devarajan. All the songs became hits. P.Suseela's “Poonthenaruvi ....” was an instant hit. The Kharaharapriya raga based romantic number “Sravana chandrika ....” (P Suseela) is one of the best in the genre. The devotional number “Vaanavum bhoomiyum....” ( P Leela) , “Soorya Grahanam....” (Yesudas) and “Kadalezhu kadalezhu....” (Madhuri, Jayachandran, chorus) etc were other hits from the film.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Prem Nazir and Sathyan in a scene from the film

‘Adimakal' won the President's Silver Medal for the best Malayalam film of the year under the category of regional language films. The film is considered one of the best social movies of the 60s.

A woman-centred movie, the heroine of ‘Adimakal' is a maid servant. Mythological characters, princesses and queens, college girls, society ladies etc. were the heroines of Indian films from the beginning of cinema. Probably the Telugu film ‘Devatha,' was the first Indian film that had a servant in a central role. The Malayalam adaptation of this film, ‘Paavappettaval' (1967) did not do well. But ‘Adimakal' was a huge hit.

This film was based on a novel of the same title authored by R. P. Parameswara Menon, popularly known by his pen name ‘Pamman' and was the first in the series of his novels that went on to be made into films. In ‘Adimakal' the focus was on sexual exploitation of maid servants in their work place and the injustice towards them. The novel also pointed a finger at the fraud religious leaders and sages.

The script and dialogues were written by Thoppil Bhasi. He was able to convey the message strongly through his sharp dialogues. Cinematography by Melli Irani and editing by M. S. Mani was commendable. The film was directed by K. S. Sethumadhavan.

Saraswathi Amma (Sheela) lives a saintly life having denounced all worldly pleasures. Anandan (Jaycee), her younger brother, lives with her. Saraswathi Amma is a disciple of Giridhara Yogi (Adoor Bhasi) whose hermitage is in her town. Ponnamma (Sarada) is her faithful servant. She manages the household giving her mistress time to engage herself in prayers and religious discourses. Raghavan (Prem Nazir) is a deaf-dumb, odd-job man in the neighbourhood. He nurses a silent love for Ponnamma.

Anandan's friend Appukuttan Pillai (Sathyan) is a bachelor and lives nearby. As requested by Anandan, Saraswathi Amma agrees to send him food from her house. Appukuttan takes a liking for Saraswati Amma and even proposes to marry her. Though Saraswaathi Amma gets annoyed she develops a soft corner for this kind hearted man.

Anandan seduces Ponnamma and she becomes pregnant. He then abandons Ponnamma and absconds. Ponnamma is thrown out of Saraswathi Amma's house, but she finds shelter in Raghavan's house. Raghavan says that he is responsible for her state thereby saving her from shame. Appukuttan Pillai brings Anandan back home and forces him to ask Ponnamma's hand in marriage. But she refuses and prefers to marry Raghavan.

Giridhara Yogi elopes with Raghavan's sister who was his favourite disciple. Saraswathi Amma realises that her religious gullibility has been the cause for so much suffering. She discards her saffron robes for a new life. Appukuttan Pillai gets transferred to a place quite far away and boards his train. He is pleasantly surprised to find Saraswathi Amma in the same train, willing to accept him as her life-partner.

Sathyan, Prem Nazir and Sheela were impressive in their roles. Deviating from the usual role of romantic hero, Prem Nazir came up with a stunning performance. Adoor Bhasi also excelled as the bogus ‘sanyasi'.

Songs written by Vayalar Rama Varma were set to tune by G. Devarajan. The devotional number ‘Chethi mandaram thulasi...' (P. Susheela) was elevated to the status of a prayer song. ‘Thaazhampoo manamulla thanuppulla...' (A. M. Raja) was another hit and one of the singer's best in the language. The other hits include ‘Manaseswari maappu tharoo...' (Raja), ‘Indumukhi ..... (P. Jayachandran), and the chorus ‘Narayanam bhaje...' led by Jayachandran. A few verses ‘Lalitha lavanga Latha…' from Jayadeva's ‘Geeta Govindam' rendered by P. Leela was also a hit.

Will be remembered: As a National award winning film, debut film of the novelist Pamman and for the excellent music.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Prahlada (1941)

Released on August 17, 1941, ‘Prahlada' was the third sound film and first mythological film in Malayalam. The film was produced and directed by K. Subrahmaniam under the banner of Madras United Artists Corporation. The film introduced to cinema, the noted dancer Guru Gopinath. He, along with his wife Thankamani, performed some memorable dances in the film. The film also introduced to cinema T. K. Balachandran, who went on to become a leading actor and producer. He starred as a child star in ‘Prahlada.'

The film was shot on spectacular sets at Gemini Studios. Cinematography by Kamal Ghosh was excellent. Haribabu, one of Indian cinema's best known make up man, worked in this project. But the film failed at the box office. No print, or a single film frame or a photograph of the film is available now. Repeated screen versions of the same story and success of some of the other language films with the same story might have adversely affected the success of the film.

Drawn from Vishnupurana, the story of Prahlada was staged in Malayalam as musical operas, and the first of such plays authored by Kunnath Neelakantan Moosath in 1924 was the most popular one. The mythological episode was produced as a silent film under the same title ‘Bhakta Prahlada' (1926) by Baburao Painter (producer) and Dadasaheb Phalke. The story was remade as sound films in almost all the major Indian languages several times, eight times in Hindi, three times in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada, as per available records. It is strange that in Malayalam, the story was never remade after the 1941 film. The first sound film in Telugu ‘Bhakta Prahlada' (1931) directed by H. M. Reddy also told the story of Prahlada. ‘Bhakta Prahlada,' produced in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada by AVM Productions, under the direction of Narayanamoorthy in 1967 that had S. V. Ranga Rao, Anjali Devi and Baby Roja Ramani (who later became famous in Malayalam as ‘Chembarathi Shobhana) is considered as the most successful screen version of the Prahlada episode. The film was dubbed into almost all the Indian languages also.

Guru Gopinath was a famous court dancer of the Travancore state. K. Subrahmaniam invited Guru Gopinath and his wife and dancer Thankamani to act in ‘Prahlada'. Guru Gopinath's disciple and relative of Travancore Dewan Sir C. P. Ramawamy Iyer, Kumari Lakshmi acted as Prahlada in the film. This was her first and last film. Her father Chidambaram was Private Secretary to the Dewan. The star cast included several artistes from stage and dance schools in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, like P. R. Rajagopala Iyer, T. V. Krishna Sarma, N. Krishna Pillai, C. V. Ramachandran, N. P. Chellappan Nair, Sarada Bai etc. The Tamil film ‘Prahlada' (1939) directed by B. N. Rao under the banner of Salem Sankar Films was a super hit and created box office records. The singing sensation of later years T. R. Mahalingam acted as Prahlada in the film. The storyline and the dialogues of this film were closely followed for the Malayalam version. The script and dialogues of this film was adapted for Malayalam by N. P. Chellappan Nair.

The episode from Vishnu Purana, a holy text of Hindus, tells the story of Prahlada (Kumari Lakshmi) who worships Lord Vishnu against the orders of his father Hiranyakashipu (Guru Gopinath). All the attempts of the demon king and his wife Kayadhu (Thankamani Gopinath) to change their son's mind fail. The Lord comes to Prahlada's rescue every time he is tortured by Hiranyakashipu. And then, finally, the Lord appears as Narasimha (a man-lion avatar) to kill Hiranyakashipu.

The main attraction of the film was a dance by Guru Gopinath as Yama, the god of death. Apart from acting as Hiranyakashipu, the dance sequences of the dancer and his wife stood out. N. P. Chellappan Nair also acted in an important role in the film. Master Sadasivam provided the mandatory comedy relief. Kumari Lakshmi impressed as Prahlada and the songs sung by her also became hits. But then the performance of the actors and actresses of the film could not in any way be compared to that of the Tamil film. R. Balasubramaniam as Hiranyakashipu, M. R. Santhalakshmi as Kayadhu and Master T. R. Mahalingam as Prahlada were simply superb in acting and singing.

The 19 songs written by Kilimanoor Madhava Varier, a Malayalam poet and Sanskrit scholar, were set to tune by V. S. Parthasarathy Iyengar. Some of the songs like ‘Gurukulamathil angekandathil…' a chorus led by Kumari Lakshmi, ‘Narayanam bhaje…' (Kumari Lakshmi) and ‘Ennomal thankame…' (Thankamani Gopinath) were popular.

Will be remembered: As the first mythological film in Malayalam. The debut Malayalam film of director-producer K. Subrahmaniam, debut of actor T. K. Balachandran and music director V. S. Parthasarathy Iyengar. It was also the debut film of Guru Gopinath and Thankamani Gopinath. The film will also be remembered for some of its songs like ‘Gurukulamathil…'

Monday, May 9, 2011

Aalmaram (1969)

The Malayalam film ‘Aalmaram' released in 1969 was the screen adaptation of the successful Tamil drama of the same title. Authored by Raman, an amateur playwright popularly known by his pen name, Bilahari, the Tamil drama was staged successsfully with screen and stage artistes like V.S. Raghavan, A.V.M. Rajan, Pushpalatha etc by the popular Tamil drama troupe, ‘Little Stage'.

The unusual success of this tamil play might have prompted the producer T K Pareekutty to produce its screen adaptation under his own banner, Chandratara Productions.

‘Aalmaram' was directed by A.Vincent and is one of the best directorial ventures of the renowned cameraman.

The popular Malayalam playwright, Thoppil Bhasi wrote the script and dialogues based on the Tamil drama for the Malayalam film. The catchy dialogues written by Thoppil Bhasi retained the highly emotional impact of the stage play. The story of ‘Aalmaram' was similar to that of films like ‘Kula Deivam' (remade as ‘Bhabhi' in Hindi), ‘Ghar Sansar' (1958) etc with women as the central characters.

Edited by G.Venkittaraman and with camerawork by A.Venkat, the film had good dances choreographed by K.Thankappan.

Music composed by A.T.Ummer was the highlight of the film. A multi starrer, the star cast included popular artists like Prem Nazir, Madhu, Kottarakkara, P J Antony, Adoor Bhasi, Sheela, Kaviyoor Ponnamma etc.

Ammini Amma (Kaviyoor Ponnamma) is the backbone of her family. Her husband Kesava Pillai (Kottarakkara) is a spendthrift and a gambler.

Ammini Amma struggles hard to run the household. Her elder son Gopi (Madhu) is a vagabond. Soman (Prem Nazir), the younger son is the sole hope of Ammini Amma. Soman is in love with Kusumam (Sheela), daughter of their neighbour Govinda Kurup (P J Antony). Both the families are happy to conduct the marriage of Soman and Kusumam.

But Ammini Amma insists that Soman's marriage be conducted only after her elder son Gopi's. Govinda Kurup brings a proposal for Gopi and it is finalised. But the girl's family comes to know about the irresponsible life of Gopi and they back out. Gopi quarrels with Govinda Kurup who had brought the marriage proposal. Kurup therefore is not keen to give his daughter in marriage to Soman. Soman leaves for Chennai where gets a job. The office typist

Kamalam is very considerate to Soman. Soman learns that Govinda Kurup is looking for a bridegroom for Kusumam and enraged, decides to get married before Kusumam. He approaches Kamalam but she tells him she loves him only as a brother. Meanwhile Gopi reaches Chennai to meet his brother Soman in his office, working late. There is a power failure. Kamalam is raped in the darkness. Soman is suspected of it. and he does not disown the charge against him to save his brother Gopi who is the culprit.

Meanwhile, Ammini Amma approaches Govinda Kurup to pay back moneylenders from whom Gopi and her husband had borrowed money. Out of shame and the disgrace brought to the family by her husband and elder son, Ammini Amma dies of a heart attack in Govinda Kurup's house. Kaviyoor Ponnamma's performance was at its best as the struggling mother who is portrayed as the ‘Aalmaram'.

Madhu as the vagabond son and Prem Nazir as the responsible son performed their roles impressively. Sheela, Kottarakkara, P J Antony and other artistes also handled their roles commendably.

Adoor Bhasi's performance as Radio Bhasi was a deviation from his usual comic roles.

The five songs written by P.Bhaskaran and tuned by A.T.Ummer became popular. Background music was by R.K.Shekhar. The romantic number “Pinneyum Inakkuyil Pinangiyallo...” (Jayachandran, S Janaki) was an instant hit. Other hits include the dance number “Noothana ganathin....” (Yesudas, Vasantha), “Paraaga surabhila...” ( Janaki), “Ellaam Vyartham....” (Jayachandran) and “ Pullani Varambathu....” (P. Leela, C.O. Anto).

Why remembered:

As a good family drama in Malayalam cinema.

For the excellent music.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Agniputhri (1967)

Prem Nazir, Sheela, T. S. Muthiah, T.K. Balachandran, Adoor Bhasi, Aranmula Ponnamma, Baby Usha etc.

SOCIALLY RELEVANTA scene from the film Agniputhri

‘Agniputhri' is a milestone in the history of Malayalam cinema. The film was a screen adaptation of a stage play of the same title written by S L Puram Sadanandan. First published in 1949, it was performed on stage successfully by Deshabhimani Theatres, Attingal with talented artistes like D. K. Chellappan, Rajalakshmi etc. who immortalised the characters in the family drama. The drama projected a burning social issue, rehabilitation of prostitutes.

The film won the National Film Award for best script in 1967 and was the first Malayalam film to get an award in this category. This was also the first Malayalam play to be telecast by Doordarshan, Delhi. Screen adaptations of stage plays seldom succeeded at the box office, but ‘Agniputhri' was an exception.

The film was remade in Hindi as ‘Darpan' (1970) with Sunil Dutt and Waheeda Rehman in lead roles. The success of the Malayalam film might have prompted for the Hindi remake but the film did not succeed. The story of ‘Agniputhri' is similar to the story of ‘Aadmi' written by A. Bhaskar Rao. Probably the classic film might have inspired playwright S L Puram to select the controversial theme for this play. The Hindi film ‘Sadhna' (1958) directed by B. R. Chopra also had a similar story.

‘Agniputhri' was produced by actor Prem Nawaz. Directed by M. Krishnan Nair, the film was shot at Satya and Syamala studios, Chennai. The script and dialogues written by S L Puram was the highpoint of the film. Saraswathi Amma's (Aranmula Ponnamma) joint family faces problems and conflicts when her younger son Rajendran (Prem Nazir) marries Sindhu (Sheela), the orphaned inmate of a destitute home. Rajendran is a college teacher; he is impressed by Sindhu's singing and decides to marry her even after knowing her bitter past. Sindhu is a prostitute and Rajendran, who takes sympathy on her decides to give a new life

The feudal conservative hypocrisies of the family are graphically criticised in the film. Rajendran's brother, Doctor Jayadevan (T. S. Muthiah) had an illicit relation with Sindhu and even fathered her daughter Bindhu (Baby Usha). Unknown to others in the family, Bindhu grows up in Jayadevan's home as their adopted daughter. Sindhu was not aware that Rajendran was the brother of Jayadevan. Rajendran's cousin Chandran (T. K. Balachandran) also had a fling with Sindhu. Both Jayadevan and Chandran force Rajendran to send Sindhu back to the destitute home and save their family honour. But Rajendran's refuses.

Jayadevan's wife Sandhya (Vasantha) and others come to know of Sindhu's relations with Jayadevan and Chandran and all about Bindhu. The family is torn by conflicts.

Sindhu, who wants to keep away from all this, decides to end her marriage with Rajendran. She tells him that she is suffering from an infectious disease. But Rajendran is not ready to send Sindhu away. Finally, Sindhu decides to leave the family which will help safeguard the future of her daughter who otherwise will have to bear the stigma of a prostitute's daughter. Bindhu calls her mother back. Sindhu is overwhelmed but she dies of a heart attack.

Sheela excelled in the lead role. Deviating from the usual romantic hero role, Prem Nazir impressed as the college teacher. T. R. Omana excelled as the gossip-mongering grandmother.

Five songs written by Vayalar Rama Varma and tuned by M. S. Baburaj became hits. ‘Kannu thurakkatha deivangale...' (P. Susheela) was perhaps the most popular of them. ‘Iniyum puzha ozhukum...' (P. Jayachandran) is considered as one of his best in the language.

Two children's songs, ‘Aakashathile Nandini pashuvinu...' and ‘Kili kili parunthinu...,' sung by Susheela are best examples of melody and poetic imagination blending well with the film situation. Another sentimental number by Susheela, ‘Agni nakshathrame pinneyumenthinu...' that brought out the past of the characters also left a huge impact.

Will be remembered: As a good social movie. As the first Malayalam film to win a National award for the best script and for its music.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Kudumbini (1964)

Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair, Prem Nazir, Punjabi, Sheela, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Aranmula Ponnamma, Jayasree, Adoor Bhasi, Master Shaji etc.

FAMILY DRAMA Kaviyoor Ponnamma and Master Shaji in a scene from the film

Released on December 22, 1964, ‘Kudumbini' was one of the best family dramas in Malayalam.

The film was based on the Malayalam novel of the same title authored by K. G. Sethunath. Scripted by Sasikumar, the dialogues were written by another popular Malayalam novelist E. J. Philip, who was popularly known by his pen name, Kaanam E. J.

The story of this highly emotional family drama resembled some of the Hindi films like ‘Ghar Sansar' (1958), ‘Bhabhi' (1956) etc. and Tamil films like ‘Kula Deivam' (1956). ‘Kudumbini' was a huge box office hit.
The star cast included popular artists of the time like Thikkurissi, Prem Nazir, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Sheela etc.

This was the debut film of playback singer Zero Babu. Though C. O. Anto entered Malayalam cinema in 1963 through the film ‘Kadalamma', it was ‘Kudumbini' that brought the playback singer to the limelight. This was the second film of music director L. P. R. Varma and one that brought him fame.. His first film ‘Sthree Hrudayam' went unnoticed.

The film was shot at Film Cntre, Chennai (then Madras). Film critics consider the dialogues written by Kaanam E. J. as a model for such family dramas.
Successful novels, when adapted on the screen, very often failed simply because of unimpressive dialogues. ‘Kudumbini' was an unusual example of some very good dialogues that managed to keep the emotional impact of the novel on screen also.

The story…Raghava Kurup (Thikkurissi) lives happily with his brother Madhavankutty (Prem Nazir), sister Sarada (Jayasree) and mother Parukutty Amma (Aranmula Ponnamma) in a small village where religious customs, practices and traditions were strictly followed .

The conduct of the temple was the responsibility of Kurup's family. The land holdings of the family were often sold out to raise funds to conduct the festival.
Raghava Kurup marries Lakshmi (Kaviyoor Ponnamma) and she takes over the administration of the household. Lakshmi objects to the lavish spending, especially for the annual temple festival.

Except her husband all other members of the family disagree with her view. The landlord Swami's (Punjabi) eye is on the land holdings of Kurup's family. With the support of his manager Kelu Nair (Adoor Bhasi), he takes advantage of the dispute in Kurup's family over the conduct of the festival and turns Madhavankutty against his brother.

Madhavankutty demands his share of the ancestral property and vows to conduct the festival. When Kurup disapproves, Madhavankutty leaves home in protest.
Raghava Kurup resolves the family dispute by transferring the property in Madhavankutty's name and decides to leave home with his wife and son. Madhavankutty realises his mistake and requests his brother not to leave, to which Raghava Kurup accedes. But the peace and harmony established in the family does not last long. Madhavankutty marries Janaki (Sheela), his lover with the blessings of his elder brother and his wife. Sarada poisons the mind of Janaki and turns her against Lakshmi.

The family is split and Raghava Kurup shifts to a small house with Lakshmi and son Manikuttan (Master Shaji).

Janaki, who is pregnant, is admitted to the hospital and her condition becomes critical. Kurup and Lakshmi rush to the hospital. Lakshmi donates blood and Janaki's life is saved. But disruption of power supply in the hospital and negligence results in the death of Lakshmi.

The film focussed on some of the undesirable traditions followed in some of the villages, like families spending on festivals just for the sake of honour or prestige. Most of such families are ruined because of such extravagant spending.
Kaviyoor Ponnamma excelled as Lakshmi, the central character. Master Shaji impressed with his natural acting. Thikkurissi, Prem Nazir and others also did justice to their roles.

Seven songs written by Abhayadev and set to tune by L. P. R.Varma became popular. The solo sung by Anto, ‘Veedinu ponmani vilakku nee...' became an instant hit and is considered the best of the singer. Two children's songs, ‘Ambilimaman pidicha ...' (K. J. Yesudas) and ‘Enthellam kathakal undammakku...' (P.Leela) also became very popular. The other hits include the romantic number ‘Swapnathin pushparathathil...' (Leela-Yesudas), ‘Veedana ellam enikku...' (Leela), ‘Olathil thulli ...' (Leela) and ‘Kanninu kanninu...' (Zero Babu).

Will be remembered: As a good social film. As the debut film of playback singer Zero Babu and for its excellent music.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Kidappadam (1955)

Cast: Prem Nazir, Thikkurissi, Kottarakkara, Miss Kumari, Kumari Thankam, Adoor Pankajam

OLD CLASSIC A scene from the film, Kidappadam

‘Kidappadam,' released in 1955, was the 21st film produced at Udaya Studios. A moderate commercial success, the film was produced by Kunjacko under the banner of XL Productions and was directed by M. R. S. Mani. The film focused on the hardships faced by the farmers and the methods adopted by the landlords to snatch the land holdings of small farmers.

Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai wrote the dialogues for the script penned by Kunjacko. The story of the film was adapted from Bimal Roy's Hindi classic film ‘Do Bigha Zamin' (1953). The story of the Hindi film was written by Salil Chaudhary . ‘Kidappadam' can be considered as a remake of the Hindi film with some minor changes. The dialogues reflected the sentiments and emotions contained in the dialogues written by Paul Mahendra for ‘Do Bigha Zamin'. A multi-starrer , the star cast included Prem Nazir, Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair, Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair, Muthukulam, Miss Kumari, Kumari Thankam, Adoor Pankajam etc. The dances by Baby Girija were an added attraction of the film.

The story of the dispossessed peasant and landlord had been told many times before in Malayalam in films like ‘Navalokam' (1953), ‘Sariyo Thetto' (1953) etc. but in ‘Kidappadam', a much wider context was chosen with rural poverty at one end and the brutal effects of city life at the other. The story revolves around a small farmer Sankaran (Prem Nazir) who lives with his father (Thikkurissi), wife Kalyani (Miss Kumari) and son Ravi (Boban Kunjacko) in a small village in Kerala. The small plot of land in which they live was owned by the family by hard work and was beloved to them, more than their life. Sankaran's father had borrowed money from the landlord (Kottarakkara). The landlord's wife (Kumari Thankam) hated Kalyani, while the landlord had an eye on this young woman. The landlord's manager (Muthukulam) was at hand to support his master's evil plans. The landlord sues Sankaran's father for non-repayment of the debt using the blank papers that he got signed while lending money. He demands the ‘Kidappadam' (dwelling) of Sankaran as repayment of the debt. The landlord allows Sankaran some more time to repay the debt failing which, he says that he would confiscate the property.

Sankaran leaves the village and reaches Chennai (then Madras) in search of a job. His goal is to earn money and repay the debt. Sankaran faces several hardships. Unable to find a good job, he works as a rickshaw puller. Unknown to Sankaran, his son, Ravi also reaches the city and works as a mobile coffee vendor. Both Sankaran and Ravi face the cruelty of the city.

In the village, Kalyani struggles hard for a living. She also struggles to protect herself from the landlord's clutches. The money sent to her by Sankaran and Ravi is stolen by the landlord's manager. Sankaran's father dies of hunger and illness; Sankaran is injured seriously in an accident and his leg is broken. Ravi meets Sankaran and they decide to return to their village in time to save their plot from being confiscated. But fate works against them. They get into a wrong train and reach the village after the end of the extended date. The landlord takes over their plot. Physically and mentally shattered Sankaran dies when he sees his ‘kidappadam' taken away. Kalyani and Ravi walk away from the village bringing the film to a sad end.

The Hindi original ‘Do Bigha Zamin' was promoted as the epitome of Indian neo-realism. But the Malayalam remake, with some minor changes in the story line, failed to come anywhere near the original. This was perhaps because the remake focused on entertainment factors like comedy, dances etc. and also because of the changes brought about in the story.

Miss Kumari impressed with her subtle acting. Prem Nazir also did well as the tragic hero. But their performance paled in comparison to that of Balraj Sahni and Nirupa Roy in these roles in ‘Do Bigha Zamin'. Thikkurissi as the poor farmer, Baby Girija with her dances, Mathappan as a rickshaw puller and Adoor Pankajam as his wife also impressed.

Eight songs written by Abhayadev were tuned by V. Dakshinamoorthy. Some of the songs became instant hits. A solo sung by A. M. Raja ‘Kunkuma chaaraninju pularkaalam…' was the most popular of them. A duet by Raja and Revamma, ‘Ennini njaan nedum...', ‘Paavanamidamani ...', ‘Abhimanam vediyathe...,' ‘Panathin neethiyil…' (all by Raja), and ‘Naalathe lokathil...' (L.P.R.Varma and Stella Varghese) were other hits from the film.
Will be remembered: As a social film with a strong storyline. For its good music, particularly for the song ‘Kunkuma chaaraninju..

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

‘Ganalokaveethikalil,' on Kochi FM, completes 200 episodes

Landmark movieA scene from the Malayalam film, Balan

‘Ganalokaveethikalil,' the programme documenting the evolution of Malayalam film music, focussing on the history of Indian film music, with special emphasis on South Indian cinema music, completes 200 episodes on February 24.

The 200th episode of the programme, which began in 2007, will be broadcast at 8 a.m. on All India Radio, Kochi FM. Films released in Malayalam are analysed chronologically. The 200th episode will start with films of the year 1959. Each film and its songs are discussed in detail. Along with Malayalam films the analysis includes a comparative discussion on Hindi, Tamil and Telugu films.

Chronological analysis

The programme has so far featured 70 films that were released from 1938 to 1959. Ninety singers, 25 music directors and 22 lyricists have so far found mention, their work analysed.

The entry of each singer, lyricist and music director is supplemented with relevant details about the artiste. Their career is highlighted giving all relevant details like their debut, contributions in other languages etc. Interesting interviews with the artistes are included wherever possible.

The well researched programme is produced by a team headed by musicologist, B Vijayakumar.

They have unearthed songs never before broadcast by AIR, and some not in circulation before. The team has put together songs from film prints as gramophone records of these films were not made. For example, the programme included the first playback song in Indian cinema, from the film ‘Dhoop Chaon' (1935) and also three songs from the Malayalam film ‘Kerala Kesari' of which, it was widely believed, that gramophone records were not made.

Singers, long forgotten, like Stella Varghese (who sang in ‘Kidappadam'), Lalitha Thampi, Machad Vasanthi, Seeethalakshmi (who sang and acted in ‘Gnanambika'), lead actress of the first Malayalam talkie ‘Balan,' M. K. Kamalam, Kumari Thankam, the glamour star of yesteryears, Meena Sulochana (who sang in ‘Shariyo Thetto), singers like Seeethalakshmi (‘Gnanambika'), Syamala (‘Newspaper Boy') and many others recounted those early days and rendered songs.

Produced by K. V. Sarathchandran, AIR, Kochi FM, the team includes V. M. Girija and Shaji Yohannan, N. Ajith, Shijo Manuel, Sunil Elias and Deepak Sujathan.

A public function to mark the landmark 200th episode is slated to be held sometime in March this year.

Chechi (1950)

Cast: Cherthala Vasudeva Kurup, Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair, G. N. Raju, S. P. Pillai, Miss Kumari, Aranmula Ponnamma etc.

‘Oachira Parabrahmodayam Nadana Sabha' was a leading drama troupe. Popular playwrights like Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai, N. P. Chellappan Nair and others wrote several historical, mythological and social dramas for the troupe. ‘Yachaki', ‘Vasanthi', ‘Suprabha, ‘Chechi' were some of the social plays staged by the troupe. In 1950, Swami Narayanan produced the film version of the play ‘Chechi' with the same title.

The drama was a huge hit. Popular stage artiste and singer Vaikom Vasudevan Nair played the hero in the play. Aranmula Ponnamma and Thankam Vasudevan Nair, sisters in real life, and Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair also played important roles in the play.

There was a time when theatre was taboo for women. Male artistes like Oachira Velukutty performed the roles of female characters. And when women did venture to act they faced a lot of flak from the society. ‘Chechi' was an strong reply to such mindless criticism.

Playwright N. P. Chellappan Nair wrote script and dialogues for the film. Highly emotional dialogues, mandatory to a stage play, were modified for the film. But they carried the punch and sentimental impact. Directed by T. Janakiram, the film was shot at Ratna Studios, Salem. This was the debut Malayalam film of T. Janakiram. Radhika (Miss Kumari) is a popular stage actress. The society is suspicious of her morality and rumours are spread about her personal life. Radhika entrusts her younger sister Malathi (Omana) with the landlord Singapore Gopalan (K. S. Krishna Pillai) requesting him to look after her and leaves to another town. Radhika wanted to keep her sister away from the rumours and disgrace heaped on her because she chose an acting career. Malathi grows up under the guardianship of Gopalan without knowing that her elder sister is a stage actress.

Radhika joins the drama troupe owned by Ratheesh (Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair). Ratheesh blackmails Radhika with the threat of disclosing the truth about her to Malathi. This was one of his nasty tricks to win over Radhika. The hero of the troupe Prafullachandran (Cherthala Vasudeva Kurup) is in love with Radhika. Having failed in his attempts to win her heart, Ratheesh manages to influence Kanakam (Aranmula Ponnamma), wife of Gopalan and succeeds in his plan to stay with the family of the landlord.

Malathi falls in love with Vasantha Kumar (G. N. Raju) son of Gopalan. But Ratheesh poisons Vasantha Kumar's mind with stories about the private life of Malathi's sister Radhika. Malathi is abandoned by her lover and she leaves the landlord's home in search of her sister. When Malathi comes to know about the facts from Radhika , her anger and hatred against her elder sister melts. Radhika pleads to Vasantha Kumar to marry Malathi, but he refuses. Ratheesh attempts to murder Vasantha Kumar to usurp his wealth. Prafulla Chandran intervenes in time and saves Vasantha Kumar's life. Thinking that the allegations about her life ruined the life of her sister, Radhika decides to end her life and sends her last words in a note to Malathi. All of them rush and manage to save Radhika's life. They now come to know about the tricks played by Ratheesh and misunderstandings are cleared. Radhika marries Prafulla Chandran, and Malathi marries Vasantha Kumar.

There were 11 songs written by Abhayadev and tuned by G. K. Venkatesh. Some of the songs became hits. A classical raga-based number sung by Kaviyoor Revamma, ‘Kalitha kalamaya Kailasavasa...' was the most popular. Some of the songs were direct copies of popular Hindi tunes. Other hits from the film include ‘Varumo en priya manasan…' (T. A. Lakshmi), and ‘Chudu chinthathan...' (Kalinga Rao-Mohan Kumari).

Will be remembered: Debut film of music director G. K. Venkatesh, playback singer T. A. Lakshmi and director T. Janakiram. And for the classical based song ‘Kalitha kalamaya Kailasavasa...'

Saturday, February 26, 2011

യേശുക്രിസ്തുവിന്റെ ജീവചരിത്രം - മിശിഹാചരിത്രം

ലോകനാടകദിനത്തിലെ സംഗീതനാടകചരിത്രത്തിലെ ആകാശവാണി പ്രോഗ്രാമില്‍ നിന്ന്
കടപ്പാട്: ആകാശവാണി

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Kusrithikuttan (1966)

Cast: Thikkurissi, Adoor Bhasi, Master Suresh Varma, Ambika, Pankajavalli etc.
FAMILY MELODRAMA Ambika in a scene from the film

‘Kusruthikuttan,' was a remake of the Telugu hit ‘Deeksha' (1951) directed by K. S. Prakash Rao. The Telugu film was remade in Tamil as ‘Anni' (1951). In both the language versions singing star G. Varalakshmi was the heroine and her performance considered the best in her career. During the early 50s ‘family melodrama' was quite popular. The story of such films focused on typically affectionate characters in families like mothers, daughters-in-law, elder brothers etc. on who the emotional element revolved.

Several Hindi films were produced with similar stories with their titles indicating the nature of the story. ‘Bhabhi' (1938 & 1957), ‘Bhabhi Ki Choodiyan' (1961), ‘Bahu' (1955), ‘Bhaurani' (1940 & 1950) etc. are examples. This trend was followed in the South Indian cinema also, particularly in Tamil. ‘Kula Deivam' (1956) and ‘Anbukkor Anni' (1961) are examples.

In Malayalam, films which told similar stories, like ‘Kudumbini' (1964), ‘Chettathi' (1965) etc. also proved to be successful. It was the success of such emotional dramas that prompted producers Latha Movies to remake the Tamil box office hit ‘Anni' as ‘Kusruthikuttan' in Malayalam. Since ‘Chettathi' (elder brothers wife), the Malayalam equivalent of the Tamil ‘Anni', was already used for another film released the previous year, the producers might have opted for the title ‘Kusruthikuttan' (mischievous child).

Directed by M. Krishnan Nair, ‘Kusruthikuttan' closely followed the story of the ‘Anni' and the dialogues written by Thikkurissi for the Malayalam film reflected the sentiments of the dialogues written for the Tamil movie by M. S. Subramaniam. This was the debut Malayalam film of music director Vijaya Bhasker. And the music was one of factors that contributed to the film's success.

A novel publicity technique was adopted by the producers and distributors. The publicity notices distributed by the theatres were in the form of a song booklet instead of the normal practice of a single bill sheet. The main characters in the film spoke about themselves through these ‘notice booklets'.

The star cast included popular artistes like Thikkurissi, Adoor Bhasi, Ambika, Pankajavalli, Sukumari etc. A pet ram featured in the film was prominently projected in the advertisement campaigns.

The story is about the emotional bond between Lakshmi (Ambika) and her brother-in-law Gopi (Master Suresh Varma). Young Gopi is entrusted by his dying mother to her grown up step-son Madhavan Nair (Thikkurissi) and his wife Lakshmi. They make a solemn promise and Lakshmi dedicates herself to its fulfilment. Gopi is dear to Lakshmi as her own son Unni, if not dearer.

Gopi is a bundle of mischief and is precocious for his age. Very early in life, Gopi feels that he has a mission to discharge, as the avenger of the wrongs against the weak. Gopi becomes a terror to the ‘bad' in the village. But in the eyes of Lakshmi, Gopi could do no wrong though she is duly plagued with news of his misdeeds.

Lakshmi's mother (Pankajavalli) arrives to poison the mind of her daughter and son-in-law against Gopi. Once, Gopi and his pet ram ‘Krishnan' attack Johny, the son of the landlord under whom Madhavan Nair is employed. Johny's hand is broken. Lakshmi's mother sells Krishnan to the slaughter house. Madhavan Nair is dismissed from service by the landlord. Patient so far, Madhavan Nair revolts and partitions the house and forbids Gopi from coming to his portion of the house. Gopi and Lakshmi cannot stand the separation. Gopi attempts to meet Lakshmi. Lakshmi's mother humiliates Gopi and in his fury the boy throws a cup towards the woman, but the cup hits Lakshmi and injures her.

Gopi attempts to meet his sister-in-law by breaking the fence put up by Madhavan Nair. Madhavan Nair's heart melts and accepts his younger brother. Everyone comes to know that Lakshmi's mother was trying to separate the brothers.

The story is simple and moving; well written and narrated. Ambika excelled in her role. Thikkurissi, Pankajavalli and others performed their roles impressively. The performance of Master Suresh Varma was outstanding. The comic track involving Adoor Bhasi and Sukumari also impressed.

Five songs, written by P. Bhaskaran, were tuned by Vijaya Bhasker. The devotional number ‘Ammaye kalippikkan themmadi vesham kettum...' (S Janaki-B.Vasantha) and the solo by Vasantha, ‘Mani chilampe manichilampe...' became super hits. The other hits include the lullaby ‘Raareero unni raareero...' (Janaki) and the P. B. Sreenivas-Janaki duet ‘Punnellu koythallo...' The super hit song ‘Ammaye kalippikkaan...,' which was repeated several times in the film, was sung by Janaki as a solo also.

Will be remembered: As the debut Malayalam film of music director Vijaya Bhasker. For the songs, especially for ‘Ammaye kalippikkaan...' and as a good social film. 

Post Script:

 In 1947 the legendary film producers based in Kolkata, "New Theatres" produced a bilingual film "Chhota Bhai " (Hindi)/"Ramer Sumati" (Bengali) based on a story written by Sarathchandra Chatterji which told the story of an affectionate daughter in law of a Hindu joint family who loved her brother in law as if he was her own son.  

The highly emotional character was performed by Molina Devi and though the film was not a  huge success at the box office, this family drama remain one of the best under this genre in Hindi cinema.   Hindi film "Ustad Pedro" (1951) produced by "Omar Khayyam Films" also had a similar story line.  

The story of the telugu movie "Deeksha" was developed from these two Hindi films, and the telugu movie and its Tamil remake "Anni" created records in collecting at the box office.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Oraal Koodi Kallanaayi (1964)

This early Malayalam film sought to project basic social issues like unemployment of the educated. This screen adaptation of the stage play of the same title, written by popular playwright S. L. Puram Sadanandan, was a box office success. Written in 1956, the play was staged the same year by Kalpana Theatres, a troupe headed by the playwright himself. The stage play was a hit. It won the gold medal for the best play in the competition conducted by Samastha Kerala Sahitya Parishad.

The popularity of the stage play paved the way for the screen version. Produced under the banner of Thomas Pictures, this was the first film produced and directed by P. A. Thomas. The script written by Sasikumar, who later became a very successful director in Malayalam, had some deviations from the original. The dialogues written by the playwright were impressive.

Apart from the unemployment of the educated, the film also criticised the practice of accepting huge donations for appointment of teachers by managements of Government aided private schools. The film was a hard blow directed straight at such managements.

Cast: Prem Nazir, Sheela, T. S. Muthiah, S. P. Pillai, Murali, Ambika, Devaki etc.

SOCIALLY RELEVANT Sheela and Prem Nazir in a scene from the film

The film was shot at Film Centre, Chennai. Camera by P. B. Maniyam and dance direction by Kalamandalam Madhavan was commendable. Several personalities from professional drama made their entry to Malayalam cinema through this film. Popular among them was music director Job. He was assisted by George Pallathanam, another popular stage artiste. This film saw the debut f lyricist Sreemoolanagaram Vijayan. The film is widely considered one of the best musical hits of the early years of Malayalam cinema.

The star cast included popular artists like Prem Nazir, S. P. Pillai, Muthiah, Adoor Bhasi, Ambika, Sheela etc. Stars like Gemini Ganeshan, Thikkurissi, P. J. Antony, Alleppey Vincent, Kushalakumari etc. appeared in guest roles. A stage play featuring these artistes was an added attraction of the film. The publicity campaign of the film adopted new methods like printing still photos of the scenes on the cover pages of notebooks.

Govindan (T. S. Muthiah) is a poor farmer who struggles hard to bring up and educate his children. His elder daughter Devika (Ambika) secures the job of a school teacher, but only on donating a huge amount to the management. Govindan's son Prabhakaran (Prem Nazir) is an unemployed graduate and another daughter Sharada (Devaki) is undergoing teachers training course. Govindan borrows money to educate his children from the local financier Manakku Kamath (S. P. Pillai) by pledging his house and land.

Owing to hard work and neglect of health Govindan contracts tuberculosis. The family struggles to survive on the income of Devika. Prabhakaran helps at a teashop owned by Beeran (P A Thomas). He also assists in maintaining the accounts there. Beeran's daughter Aysha (Sheela) falls in love with Prabhakaran. Shekharan (Murali), Devika's colleague in school proposes marriage. But duty bound to her family, Devika requests Shekhar to wait till Prabhakaran gets a good job. Meanwhile, the Government does not approve of Devika's appointment and she loses her job.

Soon, Devika also falls prey to tuberculosis. Shekharan helps Devika for the treatment, but the disease turns acute. Manakku Kamath sues for his dues and the court orders confiscation of Govindan's house. Prabhakaran reaches the spot with money to prevent the execution of the court order. The police also reach the spot. They arrest Prabhakaran for stealing money. Heartbroken Devika dies bringing the film to a tragic end.

This was perhaps the first South Indian film to focus on burning social issues like unemployment and the illegal appointments in schools. Hindi films like Bimal Roy's ‘Naukari' (1954) and Raj Kapoor's ‘Shree 420' (1955) had unemployment as its sub-plot.

Ambika excelled in the role of the struggling teacher who sacrifices her life for the family. Prem Nazir handled his dual-faced role of the romantic hero and the dejected unemployed youth quite impressively. S. P. Pillai's hilarious comic role, in which he used the Konkani slang, was a unique experience. This character reappeared in different forms later films like for example in ‘Kannur Deluxe' (1969).

The lyrics were by Abhayadev and Sreemoolanagaram Vijayan. Two poems written by the great poet G. Sankara Kurup were also included. The music composed by Job was excellent. Some of the songs became very popular. The romantic hit, ‘Kinavilennum vannenne ikkili...' (K. J. Yesudas-P. Leela) is still considered one of the best in this genre. ‘Karivala vikkana...' (Leela) is one of the early hits of the singer. The prayer ‘Karunyam kolunna snehaswaroopa...' and the children's song ‘Poovukal thendum poompaatta…' (both by Leela and chorus) are the best film versions of G Sankara Kurup's poems. Another duet by Yesudas and Leela, ‘Chayakkadakkaran Beeran kakkede...' (Yesudas-Leela) was another popular hit.

Will be remembered: As the debut film of music director Job and lyricist Sreemoolanagaram Vijayan. As the first venture of producer-director P. A. Thomas, as the first film based on a play by S L Puram Sadanandan and for its lsongs.