The social and political plays staged by Kerala Peoples Arts Club, popularly known as KPAC were instant hits. Most of such plays were made into films. Several of these plays were written by Thoppil Bhasi, the renowned playwright.
Mooladhanam written by him and published in 1958 was a hit and successful on the stage too. The play was made into a film with the same name by M. Kassim under the banner of Azeem Company and was released on August 15, 1969. The film was a huge box office hit. The script and dialogues were written by the playwright. Thoppil Bhasi won the State award for the best script. Directed by P. Bhaskaran, the film was shot at Vasu Studios. Cinematography was by P. R. Ramalingam, editing was done jointly by K. Narayanan and K. Sankunny. Music was by G. Devarajan and lyrics by P. Bhaskaran.
A multi-starrer, the film had Sathyan, Prem Nazir, K. P. Ummer, Sharada, Jayabharathi, Ambika in lead roles.
The story is set in the background of Diwan’s rule in the State of Travancore. Ravi (Sathyan) and Mammootty (Prem Nazir) lead the agitation against the Diwan’s rule. The government files cases against them and both of them go underground. The government declares a cash reward for information about them. Ravi seeks refuge in his friend Madhu’s (K. P. Ummer) house. A supporter of the Diwan, Madhu refuses. Ravi entrusts the manuscript of his novel Palungu and asks him to publish it in his pen name Soman.
Mammootty is arrested by the police. Ravi gets a job as a tuition master in the house of a retired magistrate Narayana Pillai (Eddy) and hides there.
Ravi’s house and property are confiscated and the police arrests his wife Sarada (Sarada). Ravi’s children Appu (Master Pramod) and Ammini (Sai Suseela) leave their home and reach Ravi’s hideout. Without revealing her identity Ammini takes up a job in the house. Madhu gets Sarada released from jail. He wants Sarada to live with him but she refuses.
Madhu publishes the novel Palungu in his own name and it wins an award. Fascinated by the novel, Narayana Pillai’s daughter Malathi (Ambika) becomes a fan of Madhu’s and invites him home for a celebration. Ravi and Madhu come face to face. Madhu reveals Ravi’s identity and Ravi is arrested and sent to jail.
The police frames Appu in a false case and arrests him. Sarada has no choice but to live with Madhu in order to rescue Appu. Mammootty’s wife Nabeesa (Jayabharathi) supports Sarada and her children. Ravi and Mammootty are released from jail.
Ravi realises Madhu’s deviousness and how he trapped Sarada. He understands why his faithful wife, Sarada, gave in to Madhu’s demands and they live happily ever after.
Satyan and Sarada excelled in their highly emotional roles. K. P. Ummer’s villainous character was a new experience to the audience. His refrain describing himself as a “ vikaara jeevi ” (a person easily susceptible to desires) gave an entirely different face to his ‘cold blooded’ villain.
Songs written by P. Bhaskaran and composed by Devarajan became timeless hits. “ Swarga Gayike Ithiley Ithiley …“ (Yesudas), “ Ente Veenakambiyellaam …” (Yesudas) and “ Pularanayappol Poonkozhi Kooviappol …” (Suseela) became instant hits. Other hits were “ Oro thulli chorayil ninnum …” (Yesudas, C. O. Anto, Venu and chorus) and “Olichu Pidichu…” (Suseela)
Will be remembered: Winner of the Kerala State Award for the best script in 1969. Excellent music and a good social movie.