Sunday, June 8, 2014

Kochumon (1965)

Early Indian cinema focussed more on mythological, historical and fantasy-based themes rather than social stories. In the South, however, Malayalam cinema was exception and gave more importance to social stories, the first talkie Balan(1938) had such a plot. But with a few exceptions, these “socials” of the first three decades of Malayalam cinema were based on stories with unusual twists and turns and were stranger than fiction. Films like Yachakan (1951), Manasakshi(1954), Jailppulli (1957) etc are few examples to quote.

Kochumon released on October 8, 1965 followed this trend of ‘strange’ social stories far from reality.

Produced by Mammen George under the banner of St. George Movies, the film was shot at Newton Studios. Poovai Krishnan wrote the script for the story developed by Devadutt and the film’s director K. Padmanabhan Nair wrote the dialogues. Edited by V.P.Varghese, cinematography was by B.G. Jagirdar. Music composer Alleppey Usman, and lyricist P. J. K. Eezhakadavu were introduced through this film.

Popular actors of the time like Prem Nazir, Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair, Muthiah, Adoor Bhasi, Sheela, T. R. Omana and Adoor Pankajam among others acted in the film.

The producer, Mammen George, acted in an important role. New faces introduced through this film were K.P. Kurien and Nalini.

Annamma (T. R. Omana ) is in love with Chackochan (Thikkurissi), the rich landlord, and gets pregnant by him. He refuses to marry her and disowns her. Annamma gives birth to a baby boy and loses her sanity. She runs away from the village. Annamma’s father Mathappan (Muthiah) pleads to Chackochan to accept the child but he refuses. The child christened as George (Prem Nazir) is brought up and educated by Mathappan.

George gets a job as teacher at the village primary school. George falls in love with Lilly (Sheela), daughter of the wealthy Pappachan (Mammen George). Chackochan’s son Johny (K. P. Kurien) is a wastrel and Lilly rejects his proposal of marriage. George’s cousin Rosy (Nalini) is in love with Johny and all her attempts to reform him go in vain.

Annamma who regains her sanity returns to the village after 20 years and reaches Chackochan’s house looking for her son. A furious Chackochan mercilessly drives her away.

George was, so far, unaware of the secret of his birth. Mathappan, now, tells him the truth. Along with her son, Annamma goes to Chackochan’s house. Chackochan attempts to shoot Annamma, but she escapes. Johny is furious over the fact that it was George who came in between him and Lilly.

He shoots George, but Annamma who comes in between them gets hit and dies. Chackochan repents his actions and dies of a heart attack while attending Annamma’s funeral.

And as a happy ending to the ‘strange’ social drama, George and Lilly get married.

Prem Nazir and Sheela impressed the audience as the film’s romantic lead. The comedy by Adoor Bhasi, Adoor Pankajam and others were copies from earlier films.

Alleppey Usman composed music for the four songs written by P. Bhaskaran and four by the debutant lyricist P. J. K. Eezhakadavu. Instant hits were ‘Odi varum kaattil….’ ( Suseela, Yesudas /P.J.K Eezhakadavu ), ‘Maanathe Yamuna than…’ (Yesudas, Suseela / P. Bhaskaran) and ‘Maalaakhamaare marayalley…’ (S Janaki, chorus/ P. J. K. Eezhakadavu ).

Other hits include ‘Amma Amma uttavalo nee…’ (P.B. Sreenivas), ‘Pachila thoppile thathamma…’ (L.R.Easwari, chorus), etc.

Will be remembered: The debut film of music director Alleppey Usman and lyricist P.J.K. Eezhakadavu and for some of the hit songs.

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