Monday, July 20, 2015

Cheenavala (1975)

When love prevailsPrem Nazir and Jayabharathi in a still from ‘Cheenavala’
When love prevailsPrem Nazir and Jayabharathi in a still from ‘Cheenavala’
Cheenavala , released on December 24, 1975, was Udaya Studio’s Christmas gift for the Malayali audience. A huge box office hit, the story pivots around the life of fishermen living on the banks of Vembanad Lake who depend on Cheenavala or Chinese fishing nets for their livelihood.
Shot at Udaya Studios, the film was produced and directed by M. Kunchacko for XL Productions. The story, dialogues and script by Sarangapani were complimented by breathtaking cinematography by Balu Mahendra. The film was edited by T.R. Shekhar and M.K. Arjunan scored the music.
Prem Nazir, Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair, Sankaradi, Adoor Bhasi, Jayabharathi, Meena, and KPAC Lalitha played important roles in the film.
Rana (Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair), Konthi (Sankaradi) and Pappu (Adoor Bhasi) are fishermen living on the banks of Vembanad and jointly involved in fishing using the Cheenavala. They dream of educating and bringing up their children as doctors and engineers. Rana strikes fortune and soon becomes a millionaire. Konthi and his wife Manikkya (KPAC Lalitha) wanted their son Pushkaran (Prem Nazir) to marry Pappu’s daughter Pennaal (Jayabharathi). Pappu and his wife Paru (Meena) were only happy for this alliance as Pennaal and Pushkaran knew each other from childhood.

After his school education, Pushkaran studies photography. Rana’s son Prathapachandran (K.P. Ummer) becomes attracted to Pennaal and expresses his desire to marry her. Rana’s wealth and position bring about a change in Pappu and Paru. They break the word given to Konthi regarding the marriage of their children and decide to give Pennaal’s hand in marriage to Prathapachandran.
To keep Pushkaran away from the village Prathapachandran sends him to the forests in Wayanad asking him to shoot pictures of the wildlife there. He sends his man Pachan (Janardhanan) as an escort with orders to kill Pushkaran.

The tribals in Wayanad inform Pushkaran about a pregnant tigress on the mountain slopes. Pushkaran decides to shoot this rare scene and climbs a tree for a good vantage point. Prathapachandran, who reaches Wayanad, climbs a nearby hilltop to keep a watch on Pushkaran. Meanwhile, Pachan has second thoughts and becomes friends with Pushkaran. Now, rather unexpectedly a tiger jumps on Pushkaran. He engages the animal in a brave fight. Prathapachandran switches on his camera and shoots the scene instead of aiming his pistol at the tiger and trying to save Pushkaran. The tiger drags Pushkaran into the depths of the jungle.

Prathapachandran spreads the news of Pushkaran’s death. He sells the rare visual of Pushkaran’s fight with the tiger to channels for an exorbitant price. On seeing this film Pennaal suffers a mental breakdown. Everyone believes Pushkaran to be killed by the tiger. Arrangements for Prathapachandran’s marriage with Pennaal are made. On the day of the wedding Pushkaran reaches the venue with Pachan, much to the surprise of all gathered there. Pushkaran had managed to escape from the tiger and was taken care of by the tribals. He reached there on hearing the news of Pennaal’s marriage. The film ends on a happy note with the wedding of Pennaal and Pushkaran.

Balu Mahendra’s brilliant cinematography turned the film into a visual treat. Prem Nazir and Jayabharathi were at their romantic best. The comic track involving Kuthiravattom Pappu, Kunjan and Pattom Sadan created moments of laughter.

Vayalar Rama Varma’s lyrics and Arjunan’s tunes made the film a musical hit. Songs like Thalir valayo thamara valayo … (K.J. Yesudas), Poonthurayil Arayande … (P. Susheela), Kanyadanam ….(Yesudas-B.Vasantha) and Aazhimukhathu … (Yesudas) turned huge hits.
Will be remembered : For its cinematography and for the music, especially for the song Thalir valayo …

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Kannur Deluxe (1969)

Adoor Bhasi and Prem Nazir in Kannur Deluxe
Special Arrangement
Adoor Bhasi and Prem Nazir in Kannur Deluxe

‘This time it is solely intended to entertain you for two and half hours’, is what the title cards of the Malayalam film Kannur Deluxe, released on May 16, 1969, said. And this box office hit proved to be just that.
Produced by T.E. Vasudevan under the banner of Jayamaruthi, and directed by A.B. Raj, the film was shot at Vahini, Arunachalam, and Newton Studios. Popular director I.V. Sasi worked as assistant director, SL Puram Sadanandan wrote the dialogues for the story written by T.E. Vasudevan under the pseudonym V. Devan.
The story pivots on a theft that occurs in a bus and it is said that the modus operandi adopted to apprehend the thief was based on a real incident that took place at Cherthala in Alappuzha district.
AVM’s romantic Hindi film Chori Chori (1956) starring Raj Kapoor and Nargis was derived from Frank Capra’s Hollywood film It Happened One Night (1934). A trendsetter, a major part of the film was shot in a public transport bus. Not only romantic films like Chori Chori, but crime and suspense thrillers like the Tamil film Madras to Pondicherry (1966) were successful Road Movies. Kannur Deluxe falls under this genre.
Most of the scenes in Kannur Deluxe were shot inside the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus called Kannur Deluxe, a service that was started in 1967 and is still on.
Editing by T R Sreenivasalu, cinematography by T.N. Krishnankutty, and music by V. Dakshinamoorthy were the highpoints of the film.
Prem Nazir, K.P. Ummer, G.K. Pillai, N. Govindankutty, Adoor Bhasi, Kottayam Chellappan, Nellikodu Bhaskaran, Sheela etc. played significant roles.
Jayasree (Sheela) runs away from her home to avoid getting married to an old man. In Thiruvananthapuram she is harassed by some city wastrels and seeks refuge in K.B. Pillai’s (G K Pillai) house. Pillai, a businessman, takes pity on her and appoints her in his office. His son Venugopal (K.P. Ummer) takes a liking for her.
Pillai sends Jayasree to Kozhikode with two bundles of currency notes worth Rs. 25,000 rupees to be paid to his partners KBS Nair (Govindankutty) and Abdul Kader (Abbas) as part of the profit share. One of the bundles comprised counterfeit currency notes. She is instructed to hand over the money to Abdul Kader at the Kozhikode bus stand. Jayasree travels by Kannur Deluxe.
On the way, she finds that the bag containing the money is replaced by a similar bag. When alerted, the Conductor (Nellikodu Bhaskaran) finds one passenger missing. He immediately takes the driver’s seat, reverses, changes the destination board to Thiruvananthapuram and speeds in that direction.
Gopalakrishnan (Jose Prakash), who had stolen Jayasree’s bag, gets into the bus without knowing that it is the same bus from where he had alighted and is arrested by the police at Kayamkulam. The police find the fake currency, but cleverly hands over the entire money to Jayasree.
A mentally challenged Namboodiri (Prem Nazir) and his escort Chandu (Adoor Bhasi) get into the bus from Kayamkulam. The bus reaches Kozhikode. But Abdul Kader does not come to collect the money. Jayasree goes to KBS Nair’s office. On the way she is attacked by Dineshan (Kottayam Chellappan) who has been sent by Nair to track her. Namboodiri and Chandu come to her rescue. K.B. Pillai reaches Nair’s office at Kozhikode. The police also reach the office to arrest Jayasree.
And now for the climax. Namboodiri and Chandu reveal their true identities. They are police officers deputed to investigate cases related to fake currency and Jayasree is an officer from the Central Intelligence Department. KBS Nair, K.B. Pillai and Abdul Kader are arrested.
Prem Nazir and Adoor Bhasi were impressive, while Sankaradi as Kamath, the Konkani speaking Brahmin, stood out in a cameo role.
Songs written by Sreekumaran Thampi and set to music by Dakshinamoorthy based on Carnatic ragas turned timeless hits. Songs like Thaippooya kavadiyattam… (K.J. Yesudas) based on Mohanam,Marakkaan kazhiyumo…(Kamukara Purushothaman) in Neelambari, the Kalyani-based Ethra chirichalum… (Yesudas) and Thulli odum pulli maane… (P.Jayachandran) in Sarasangi are still popular. Some of the other songs in the film like Varumallo raavil… (S. Janaki), Kannundaayathu ninne kaanaan… (P.B. Sreenivas-P.Leela) and the Qawwali En muhabath enthoru… (Yesudas-Sreenivas-Janaki) also became hugely popular.
Will be remembered: As a good entertainer and probably the first Road Movie in Malayalam. And for its lovely songs.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Pavappettaval (1967)

Even if the story is simple and artistic, technical brilliance can bring unusual success for a film. B. N. Reddy’s black and white classic Telugu film Devata (1941) is a best example for this. Exhibited in various film festivals, the film was praised in popular magazines by critics. Malayalam film Pavappettaval released on October 12, 1967 was a remake of the Telugu classic film. Produced by ‘Movie Masters’ and directed by P.A. Thomas, the Malayalam remake failed to impress the audience and flopped. Some film critics attribute the film’s failure to the lack of “artistic and technical brilliance” and improper star cast. Popular stars like Chittoor V. Nagiah, Kumari, Parvathi Bai and T Suryakumari were cast in important roles in the Telugu classic and the film is counted among one of the best of these legendary stars.

Sathyan, Kamaladevi, Aranmula Ponnamma and Vidhubala were assigned with the corresponding roles in the Malayalam remake. Kamaladevi and Vidhubala were “new faces” at the time. Other artists who acted in the film were Adoor Bhasi, Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai, Govindankutty, Khadeeja and others. This was the debut film of Rani Chandra who appeared in a guest role (her name appeared in the title cards and song booklet as ‘Miss Kerala’ – she won the title in 1967) Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai wrote the script and dialogues; the original story for the Telugu film was written by K Ramnath. The opening scene and the ending were exact copies of the original. Shot at Syamala and Thomas Studios, cinematography was by P. K Madhavan Nair and the editing was by Ceylon Mani. Some of the songs composed by Chidambaranath became popular. The film opens with the a prayer song as in the Telugu film. Bhavani Amma (Aranmula Ponnamma ) lives happily in a village with her highly educated son Gopi (Sathyan) and daughter Radha (Vidhubala) who is a student. Bhavani Amma treats their servant Lakshmi (Kamaladevi) and her brother Ramu (Master Shaji) as her own family members. Bhavani Amma gives Lakshmi all the privileges of a daughter.

Gopi is attracted towards Lakshmi. One night , when the family members are away from the home to attend a marriage in a neighbouring village, Gopi takes advantage of Lakshmi with a promise of marriage. Soon Gopi leaves the village when he gets a job in the city. Lakshmi gets pregnant. She is unable to contact Gopi, and is unable to disclose her condition to others out of shame. Lakshmi leaves home with Ramu without telling anything to Bhavani Amma. A helpless Lakshmi works as a maid in order to earn a livelihood and even “sells” her blood to hospitals. She gives birth to a baby boy. Gopi is shocked on learning of Lakshmi’s departure when he returns to the village. Bhavani Amma pressurises Gopi to get married. Gopi is emotionally broken by Lakshmi’s departing. He confesses to his mother about his relation with Lakshmi. The girl with whom Gopi’s marriage is fixed elopes. Bhavani Amma requests Gopi to go in search of Lakshmi. Ambujakshy (Sukumari) who runs a hotel gives refuge to Lakshmi. She has a hidden agenda - of exploiting Lakshmi’s youth. A guest in the hotel tries to molest Lakshmi and as she attempts to escape Ambujakshi is injured.

 Lakshmi meets with an accident as she runs away to escape Ambujakshi’s men and is admitted to the hospital. Gopi meets Ramu on the way and reaches the hospital. In a happy ending to the social movie. Bhavani Amma accepts Lakshmi as her daughter-in-law. The film ends with the scene of Gopi and Lakshmi , along with their child, singing in a garden, an exact replica of the scene from the original Telugu film. Comedy involving Adoor Bhasi (as the manager of Ambujakshi’s hotel), Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai (as a marriage broker) and S. P. Pillai (as Pappu ‘Ashaan’) were repetitions of slapstick scenes from earlier films. Such scenes diluted the emotional tempo of the social movie.

 Songs written by P. Bhaskaran and M.K.R Pattyath were set to tune by Chidambaranath. The romantic duet Vrindavaniyil Radhayodoru naal… (K.J. Yesudas-P. Leela) was an instant hit. Other hits include Ambili mama ambili mama… (Leela), Nin mukham kandappol… (B. Vasantha), and Saranam Ayyappa saranam Ayyappa… (Leela, Vasantha and Renuka). Will be remembered: As the debut film of Rani Chandra and for the song Vrindavaniyil Radhayodoru naal…

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Marunaattil Oru Malayali (1971)

Light-hearted comedy Prem Nazir in a still from the film
special arrangement
Light-hearted comedy Prem Nazir in a still from the film
A breezy comedy, Marunattil Oru Malayali, released on September 24, 1971, was remade as Sree Rajeswari Vilas Coffee Club (1976) in Telugu by Aluri Chakrapani, producer- director-journalist, co-owner of Vijaya Studios and founder of Chandamama Publications. The resemblance of the Malayalam film with his super hit Telugu/Tamil bilingual Missamma/Miss Mary (1955) might have prompted Chakrapani to go for the Telugu remake. In the bilingual film the un-married hero and heroine pretend to be married in order to get a job, which was ‘reserved for married couples.’ Here the heroine, a Christian, poses as a Brahmin girl. Produced by T.E. Vasudevan under the banner of Jayamaruthi Productions based on a story written by himself under the pseudonym V.Devan, and directed by A.B. Raj, Marunattil Oru Malayali was shot at Syamala, Prakash and Bharani Studios. The dialogues were by S. L. Puram Sadanandan, editing by B.S. Mani, cinematography by P. Dutt and music, which was the highpoint of the film, composed by V. Dakshinamoorthy.
Prem Nazir, Sankaradi, Adoor Bhasi, S.P. Pillai, Govindankutty, Vijayasree, Sadhana were cast in important roles.
After his pre-university exams, Mathew (Prem Nazir), who belongs to a conservative Christian family in Alappuzha, leaves for Madras in search of a job. Despite his efforts he fails to get one. That is when he finds a vacancy for the job of a ‘supplier’ in Lakshmi Nivas Hotel owned by Seshadri Iyer (Sankaradi). But Iyer has a condition that only a Brahmin would be appointed. Mathew gets the job posing as a Brahmin and introducing himself as Vilwadri Iyer. Not able to perform his duties successfully Mathew is dismissed from the job. Taking pity on him, Seshadri Iyer’s daughter Geetha (Vijayasree) recommends him for the post of Accountant when she comes to know that he has passed the pre-university exams. Geetha falls in love with Mathew believing that he is a Brahmin but Mathew tries to keep away from her as he understands the consequences that can follow.
Narasimham (Adoor Bhasi) the chief cook who hails from Mathew’s village recognises him but agrees to keep his identity a secret.
With Mathew’s sister’s marriage proposal underway the boy’s uncle Chandy (Alummoodan) comes to Madras along with his daughter Sosamma (Prameela). In attempt to salvage the tricky situation Mathew introduces Narasimhan as Mathew and Chandy who has not seen Mathew before believes this. The story follows several hilarious twists and turns. Geetha does everything to please Mathew, who in turn cleverly manages to keep his true identity intact.
Meanwhile, Sosamma falls in love with Narasimham thinking he is Mathew and get married. Finally, in a crucial situation Mathew is forced to reveal his identity to Geetha and Seshadri Iyer. Now, Iyer narrates an interesting parallel to his early life in Madras and that of Mathew. Iyer reveals that he is actually Pathrose, who had to pose like a Brahmin and live like one due to circumstances similar to that of Mathew. The film ends on a happy note with the wedding of Mathew and Geetha.
Prem Nazir and Vijayasree were at their romantic best. The hilarious comedy scenes involving Adoor Bhasi, S.P. Pillai and Sadhana (as hotel supervisor Vittal and servant Rajamma respectively) created waves of laughter. Also impressive were the classical and folk dances choreographed by E.Madhavan.
Music was an integral part of this film and an important factor for its roaring success. Songs written by Sreekumaran Thampi and set to tune by Dakshinamoorthy turned timeless hits. Manassilunaroo Usha sandhyayal… (K.J. Yesudas-S.Janaki), a ragamalika in Poorvi Kalyani, Sarang, Sreeranjini and Amrutha Varshini ragas, Ashoka poornima vidarum…(Yesudas), Govardhanagiri kayyiluyarthiya…(Janaki), Swargavaathil ekadasi…(P. Leela) and Kaali Bhadrakaali…(P. Jayachandran-Leela) are still fresh even after so many years.
Will be remembered: As a hilarious comedy, for its music, especially for the song Manassilunaroo Usha sandhyayal…

Monday, May 11, 2015

Karutha Kai (1964)

The Hindi detective novel Laal Panjha , written by Durga Prasad Khathri, and published in 1927, was translated to Malayalam by Mohan D. Kangazha and was titled Chemanna Kaipathi . Published in 1958, it was a bestseller and had several reprints. The story centred on a dacoit who threatened and blackmailed people by sending letters signed Chemanna Kaipathi (Red Palm) and then executing the crime.

The resemblance between the Malayalam filmKarutha Kai , released on August 14, 1964, and this novel was much talked about at that time. The main character in the novel and the film who commit the crime leave their signature asChemanna Kaipathi in the novel, and Karutha Kai (Black Hand) in the film.
The title cards and song book of the film credit the story and dialogues to Sree. It was usual for writers to use pseudonyms but in this case it is not a person but perhaps a pseudonym for the story department of the production house. Directed by M. Krishnan Nair, the film had cinematography by M. Kannappan, editing by N. Gopalakrishnan, dances choreographed by E. Madhavan and music by M.S. Baburaj.
Prem Nazir, Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair, Jose Prakash, Paravoor Bharathan, Adoor Bhasi, S.P. Pillai, Sheela, Shanthi and others were cast in important roles.

The coastal town of Parakkoottam is terrorised by a gang of dacoits. The leader who goes by his signature Karutha Kai executes his plans through his faithful assistant Vijayan (Kundara Bhasi). He is only person who knows the real identity of their leader. The Government appoints Bhasu (Prem Nazir), Inspector of Crime Branch to investigate into the murder of a coast guard. Bhasu comes to the town in the disguise of an artist. Here, Bhasu meets his college mate Latha (Sheela). She introduces Bhasu to her father Thampi (Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair), a respectable person who works for the welfare of the society. Bhasu stays in the beach bungalow owned by Thampi and begins his investigation. Gradually, Latha is drawn towards Bhasu.

Radha (Shanthi), daughter of the murdered coast guard, joins hands with Bhasu in the investigation. Karutha Kai sends a letter to Madhava Menon (Jose Prakash) demanding Rs. 5,000 failing which his daughter would be kidnapped. Menon seeks the help of Thampi who advises him not to give the money. Thampi announces reward of Rs. 10,000 to anyone who helps to bring Karutha Kai before law. Two private detectives, Damu (S.P. Pillai) and Soman (Adoor Bhasi) take charge of the security of Menon’s house. But Karutha Kai kidnaps Menon’s daughter (Baby Vinodini). Menon sends the ransom amount to the place specified by Karutha Kai. Bhasu reaches the spot and follows Karutha Kai’s men and manages to locate their hideout, a lodge in the town. Radha, feigning to be speech impaired, finds a job in this lodge. Here she takes care of Menon’s daughter now under custody of the dacoits. Bhasu, Damu and Soman enter the lodge disguised as dancers. Radha escapes with Menon’s daughter while the dacoits were engrossed in the dance performed by Bhasu and his group. The manager of the lodge is arrested by the police, but he is murdered on the way to police station by Karutha Kai.

Now, Thampi gets a threatening letter from Karutha Kai with a demand of Rs. 10,000. Thampi seeks the support of the police. Vikraman and Kader (Paravoor Bharathan), members of the dacoit gang lose faith in their leader whom they have never met and decide to stake a claim in the booty. They move towards the hideout followed by Bhasu.

In the climax scene the identity of Karutha Kai is revealed. Everyone is stunned to find that it was Thampi who was heading this gang. He was clever enough to send a letter to himself in order to divert the attention of the police. In a desperate attempt to escape Thampi shoots down Vikraman and Kader. In the ensuing fight between the police and Karutha Kai’s men, Latha is killed. Thampi is arrested. Bhasu leaves the town after a successful mission.

The songs penned by Thirunainarkurichi Madhavan Nair and set to music by Baburaj like Panchavarna thattha pole …(K.J. Yesudas, Kamukara Purushothaman and chorus) which is considered the first song in Malayalam cinema composed in the Qawwali style, Kannukal kannukal daivam nalkiya …(Kamukara-L.R. Easwari), Ezhu nirangalil ninnude …(Kamukara-S. Janaki), Paalappoovin parimalamekum … (Janaki) and Manathe penne … (P. Leela) became very popular.
Will be remembered : As a successful crime thriller, for its music, especially for the songPanchavarna thatha pole …

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sarpakkadu (1965)

Snake worship is an established cult in several countries including India from time immemorial. Snake groves or sarpakaavu are still found in various ancient households and temples in the State. Snakes, snake charmers and snake worship have always been a favourite ingredient in Indian cinema. The Bengali-Hindi bilingual starring Kanan Devi Sapurey/Sapera (1939) was probably the first successful film that worked on this theme. S.S. Vasan’s Telugu classicBalanagamma (1942) had as a sub plot, the revenge of a snake. Filmstan’s Hindi film Nagin (1954) that was based on snake charmers and their life was a musical hit. This film popularised ‘been music’ or the music of snake charmer’s flute. The celestial world of snakes was the plot of Tamil films likeKanavane Kann Kanda Deivam (1955) and Naga Panchami (1956).
Sarpakkadu, released on December 31, 1965, was the first Malayalam film that had snakes and snake worship as its theme. Produced by Oriental Movies, owned by P.K. Sathyapal, under the banner of Naga Films, the film was shot at Syamala Studios and directed by J.D. Thottan. Dances choreographed by Chinni Sampath, Rajkumar and E.Madhavan were impressive. Been music was effectively used in this film. Cinematography by P.K. Madhavan Nair, editing by Venkitaraman and Narayanan, dialogues by Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai, for the screenplay developed by Sathyapal based on a story written by KVR Acharya added to the charm of this film.
Madhu, Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair, Kottayam Chellappan, Adoor Bhasi, Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai, Ambika, Sukumari and others starred in the film.
Dr. Krishnan (Kottayam Chellappan) and his son Dr. Balan (Madhu) are dedicated to eradicating death by snake bite. They go on a mission to the dense forests surrounding the mountain ranges in search of the Thanka Sarpam or the Golden Snake, believed to be the most poisonous in the world. Their intention is to conduct research based on its venom and perhaps invent anti-venom that would be a remedy for all snake bites. Their compounder (Adoor Bhasi) also accompanies them. They stay in the forest guest house and the watcher there, Raghavan Pilllai (Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai), guides them in their search. But their efforts fail
Balan falls in love with Nagaprabha (Ambika), the elder daughter of Swami (Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair), a hermit who lives in the forests along with his daughters and engaged in worshipping his family deity Nagamma, the Snake Goddess. The compounder falls in love with the younger daughter Nagalatha (Sukumari). One day, Balan and the compounder reach Swami’s hermitage and happen to see the Thanka Sarpam on the idol of Nagamma inside the cave temple there. Balan and his father request Swami to hand over the Thanka Sarpam to them and offer a huge sum of money. Swami becomes furious and drives them away. Meanwhile, Nagalatha is attacked by a bear and Krishnan’s attempts to save her fail. Swami is shocked when he comes to know on his return to the hermitage that the Thanka Sarpam is stolen by Balan when he was away. Swami reaches the guest house and begins playing the makudi or the snake charmer’s flute. The Thanka Sarpam comes out of the pouch in which it was tied up. Swami forces the snake to bite Balan and Krishnan is unable to save him. Nagaprabha begs her father to save the life of her beloved. Swami accedes to the request. He plays the makudi, the snake sucks out the venom, strikes its head on the floor and kills itself. Balan is saved. Kari Nagam or the Mountain Cobra believed to be the companion of the Thanka Sarpam reaches there and bites Swami. Krishnan shoots the snake to death. Before dying Swami wishes Krishnan all success in inventing the anti-venom but also requests him to respect snake worship, not to kill snakes, and to honour the traditional methods of treatment for snake bite.
Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair came up with a superb performance. Adoor Bhasi, Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai, and Sukumari created ripples on laughter in the comic sequences.
Some of the songs written by Abhayadev and tuned by M.S. Baburaj became popular. The romantic duet sung by K.J. Yesudas and P. Leela, Asha nabhassil…aarumariyathe njanumariyathe….was one. The other popular numbers include Nanma cheyyanam njangalkkennum… (Kamukara Purushothaman, Leela, and A.P. Komala), Innale njanoru swapnam kandu…. (Leela), Malamakal thannude…. (Leela-Komala), Naattil varaamo…(Baburaj- Komala), and Srungara lahari than…(Baburaj-Purushothaman).
Will be remembered: As the first Malayalam film with snake worship as its theme and for some of the songs, especially the duet Asha nabhassil...aarumariyathe....

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Manaswini (1968)

Gujarati stage play Sanskar Lakshmi written by Prafulla Desai of Shri Deshi Natak Samaj, Bombay, was staged successfully in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Gujarati-speaking regions in the country during the 1960s. This emotionally charged family melodrama was adapted for the screen by Rajashri Productions for their super hit Hindi film Aarti (1962) with Ashok Kumar, Pradeep Kumar and Meena Kumari visualising a love triangle in the story. Vasu Menon remade the film in Malayalam as Manaswini which was released on this same day, April 13, in 1968.
Shot at Vasu Studios under the direction of P Bhaskaran, the dialogues for this film were written by novelist K. E. Mathai, popularly known as ‘Parappurath’. Manaswini was jointlyedited by K. Narayanan and K. Sankunny, with cinematography by E. N. Balakrishnan and music composed by Baburaj.
Indian cinema in the 1960s, especially in the South, was very much in favour of heroine-oriented social stories, glorifying the characters of mothers, daughters-in-law, sisters-in-law etc.
The success of films under this genre like Manaswini and Kudumbini (1964), Chettathi (1965),Kusruthikuttan (1966) ,etc carried forward this trend.
Sathyan, Madhu and Sharada forming the love triangle in the story, while other popular artistes who acted in the film included Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair, P.J. Antony, Nellikkodu Bhaskaran, Meena and Indira Thampi.
Shekhara Menon’s (Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair) daughter Malathi (Sharada) and his nephew Ravi (Sathyan) are studying in the same Medical College. Menon wishes to conduct Malathi’s marriage with Ravi. But Malathi dislikes Ravi’s materialistic attitude and believes that a doctor’s skills should be used for the welfare of the patients and not for materialistic motives. Floods adversely affect life in the Kuttanad region in Kerala, and Malathi along with Ravi attend the medical camp organised there to assist people. A journalist, Haridas (Madhu) saves Malathi from drowning and they fall in love.
Ravi goes abroad for higher studies. Malathi and Haridas decide to get married though Menon firmly disapproves their relationship. Ravi returns after studies and is disappointed and humiliated by Malathi’s marriage to Haridas, considering it a betrayal. Ravi gets married to Rekha (Sukumari), who supports Ravi in starting a nursing home of his own.
Malathi is ill-treated in Haridas’s family by his brother Divakaran’s (Nellikkodu Bhaskaran) wife Janamma (Meena). Malathi keeps the household neat and clean and her dedication towards the family wins the hearts of Haridas’s father Raghavan Nair (P.J. Antony) and sister Usha (Indira Thampi), who is a divorcee. Divakaran’s son Venu (Master Sathyan) was unable to walk properly and Malathi takes him to Ravi for treatment.
Janamma spreads rumours that Ravi visits Haridas’s family to meet his former lover in the pretext of treating Venu. This brings a discord in the marital life of Malathi. A suspicious Haridas sents Malathi back to her father.
Malathi’s absence makes Venu emotionally down and his condition worsens due to lack of proper medical care. Raghavan Nair brings Malathi back home at Janamma’s request and Venu recovers from his illness.
Malathi then returns to her father once more. Janamma repents her past deeds and clears the suspicion created in the mind of Haridas by the rumors spread by her. She requests Haridas to bring Malathi back. When he sets out to do so, Haridas meets with an accident and sustains serious head injuries. Ravi is the only surgeon who can operate on Haridas and he agrees to do so on the condition that Malathi surrenders herself to him forever.
To save her husband’s life, Malathi accedes to the conditions laid down by Ravi and the operation takes place successfully. Being a loyal wife who firmly believes in the sanctity of marital relations, Malathi comes to Ravi with poison in her hands with firm decision to end her life. Ravi changes his mind, withdraws the conditions laid down by him and leaves for Calcutta with his wife, giving the social melodrama a happy ending.
Sathyan’s performance in a negative role impressed the audience. As usual Sharada excelled in her portrayal of the long-suffering but noble, family loving daughter-in-law. The comedy sequences with Adoor Bhasi, Bahadur and Pattom Sadan were just repetitions from the past.
Songs written by P Bhaskaran and set to tune by Baburaj became timeless.
Instant hits were “Kanneerum Swapnangalum….” (Yesudas), and “Paathiraavaayilla Pournami Kanyakku …” (Yesudas) . Other hits include “Thelinju Premayamuna…” (Yesudas), “Mutti Vilikkunnu Vaathilil…”, “Aaradhikayude Pooja Kusumam…” (Both by Janaki).
Will be remembered:
As a good social movie upholding the sanctity of marital life, and for the excellent music.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Jesus (1973)

Murali Das and OAK Thevar in the film
Murali Das and OAK Thevar in the film
Hollywood films like Ten Commandments (1956), King of Kings (1961), The Bible – in the beginning… (1966) etc. were all box office hits in Kerala. Stories from the Bible and the life of Jesus Christ were a favourite subject for Malayalam plays.Life of Christ, presented as a musical opera (Sangeetha Natakam) in 1940’s by the Sanmarga Vilasam Natana Sabha, under the leadership of Artist P.J. Cherian, was staged throughout the State. In South Indian cinema, probably the song sequence in the Tamil film Gnanasoundari (1948) was the first attempt to present the life of Christ on screen. The song Nenjame nee anjaathey nam andavarey…. sung by P.G. Venkateshan was visualised with scenes from the life of Christ.
Malayalam films like Snapaka Yohannan (1963) also had the story of Jesus Christ as a sub-plot. The first film that exclusively featured the life of Christ in Malayalam was Jesus, released on December 21, 1973, just before Christmas. The film was a huge hit. The Tamil version was also a success.
Produced and directed by P.A. Thomas under the banner of Universal Pictures, the film was shot in colour at Gemini Studios. P.A. Thomas also wrote the script and dialogues. Editing by U. Rajagopal and cinematography by N. Karthikeyan was impressive. The film had music by four composers – M.S. Viswanathan, K.J. Yesudas, Alleppey Ranganath and Joseph Krishna.
Popular artistes like Thikkkurissi Sukumaran Nair, Jose Prakash, K.P. Ummer, Vincent, Rani Chandra, Khadeeja, Ushakumari from Malayalam and Gemini Ganeshan, Major Sundararajan, OAK Thevar , M.N. Nambiar , V.K. Ramaswami from Tamil essayed important roles. This was Jayalalitha’s debut Malayalam film and her dance sequence was a sensation.
The film looked at the life of Jesus Christ, from birth to resurrection, in a very concise manner. The special effects used in some of the scenes like Jesus (Murali Das) defeating the Satan (OAK Thevar), Snapaka Yohannan or John the Baptist (Gemini Ganeshan) baptising Jesus Christ; Jesus feeding 5,000 people with five loaves of bread; a leper being cured by the touch of Jesus; a dumb girl getting her power of speech, crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ were striking.
Murali Das as Jesus Christ, Gemini Ganeshan as John the Baptist, Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair as King Herod, K. P. Ummer as Antipas excelled in their roles. Jayalalitha (Salomi), Usha Kumari (Mary Magdalene), Prameela (Martha), Jayabharathi (Veronica), M.N. Nambiar (Judas), Jose Prakash (Annas), Major Sundararajan (Pilathos), Vincent ( John the Apostle ), V.K. Ramaswami (Saint Peter), S.V. Ramadas ( Joseph), G.K. Pillai (Caiaphas) starred in significant roles.
The lyrics were penned by Vayalar Rama Varna, Bharanikkavu Sivakumar, Sreekumaran Thampi, P.Bhaskaran and Augustine Vanchimala. Some of the popular songs were Gagultha malakaley…(Bharanikkavu Sivakumar-music-singer K.J. Yesudas), Ente munthirichaarino… (P.Bhaskaran, music-M.S. Viswanathan, L.R. Easwari), and Osana Osana…(Lyrics-Augustine Vanchimala, music- Alleppey Ranganath, P. Jayachandran and K.P. Brahmanandan)
Will be remembered: As the first Malayalam film on life of Jesus Christ, as the only Malayalam in which Jayalalitha acted, and for the music,especially for the song Gagultha malakaley

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Puthiya Velicham (1979)

The concept of the anti-hero became a trend in Indian cinema with the unusual success of the Hindi film Kismet (1943) produced by Bombay Talkies. Ashok Kumar played a pickpocket in the film which was probably inspired by John Cromwell’s Algiers (1938). Premapaasam (Tamil, 1956), Bhale Ramudu (Telugu, 1956) and Kanaka Chilanka (Malayalam, 1966) were remakes of Kismet. Similar films with the anti-hero concept followed in various languages. O. P. Ralhan’sPhool Aur Patthar (1966) with Dharmendra in the lead, and its Tamil remake Oli Vilakku (1968) with MGR as the anti-hero were huge hits.
After nearly a decade the same story was remade in Malayalam as Puthiya Velicham, which was released on October 12, 1979. The unusual success of this action-packed film has been attributed to Jayan’s performance in the negative role.
Produced by Subramaniam Kumar for Sastha Productions, the film was directed by Sreekumaran Thampi, who also wrote the script, dialogues and lyrics. The colour film was shot at Vahini, Arunachalam, Prakash and Balaji Gardens. Cinematography by N.A. Thara, editing by Narayanan and music by Salil Chaudhary were commendable.
Jayan, Jose Prakash, Sankaradi, Jagathi Sreekumar, Sreevidya, Jayabharathi and Meena played significant roles in the film.
The story focussed on widow remarriage pivoting around the life of a thief. Circumstances force Venu (Jayan) to turn into a criminal. He falls prey to a blackmailer, Johnson (Jose Prakash) who uses his hotel as a cover for all his fraudulent activities. Venu is in love with Lilly (Jayabharathi) a dancer in this hotel.
Venu then meets Lakshmi (Sreevidya) in a mansion which he breaks into. A widow, Lakshmi has been locked up inside the mansion by her husband’s parents. Suffering from typhoid, Lakshmi is looked after by Venu. Timely medical care saves her life and she leaves the mansion.
Lakshmi’s in-laws, Panicker (Sankaradi) and Maheswari (Meena) return from Madras and find that their house has been looted. Lakshmi is accused of the crime. She is beaten up and her brother-in-law Balan (Vijay Raj) attempts to molest her. Venu reaches in time to save Lakshmi. And when she is thrown out of the house Venu gives her refuge. Lakshmi succeeds in reforming Venu. He begins to work as a labourer and promises Lakshmi that he would never go back to his criminal ways.
In his attempt to save a young girl from fire Venu sustains severe burn injuries. Lakshmi’s loving care brings him back to full health.
Now, Johnson sets a trap to bring Venu back to his fold. He sends his men to Lakshmi with the false news that Venu is injured in an accident. Lakshmi rushes to meet Venu but is accosted by Johsnon who attempts to rape her. She is saved by the timely intervention of Lilly. In the ensuing fight, Lilly is shot dead by Johnson. The police appear on the scene and arrest Johnson. The film ends with the marriage of Venu and Lakshmi.
The film made full use of Jayan’s macho image putting him through numerous fight sequences. Sreevidya also did well in her role.
Deviating from his usual character roles, Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair as Lohithaksha Bhagavathar did full justice to his comic role. Jagathy Sreekumar as a pick pocket, ‘Parippuvada’ Kuttappan, Sreelatha as his lover and Poojappura Ravi as a doctor created moments of laughter.
The songs written by Sreekumaran Thampi and set to tune by Salil Chaudhary became hits. Most of them were repetitions of his Bengali film and non film tunes. Jhil jhil jhil chilampanangi…. (P.Jayachandran-P. Susheela) was a direct copy of the tune that he used for the Bengali film Pasher Bari (1953). Other songs like Aaraattu kadavil… (Jayachandran), Aaraaro swapnajalakam… (Ambili),Manasse nin ponnambalam…. (S. Janaki), Poovirinjallo athil… (K.J. Yesudas) turned very popular.
Will be remembered: A a good entertainer with a message on widow re-marriage; for Jayan’s performance and for its songs.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Devi Kanyakumari (1974)

Stories and legends behind the temples in India have been a staple source of themes for Indian cinema, especially in the South. Films on famous temples such as the Meenakshi temple at Madurai, Muruga temple at Pazhani, Balaji temple at Thirupathi, Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala, Sreekrishna temple at Guruvayoor etc were box office hits. Films were produced repeatedly on most of these temples. Malayalam film Devi Kanyakumari, released on August 30, 1974, was probably the only one produced exclusively on the presiding deity of the temple located in Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. A huge hit at the box office, its Tamil dubbed version was also successful.

Produced and directed by P. Subramaniam under the banner of “Neela Productions”, the film was shot in colour at Merryland Studios and in locations surrounding the Kanyakumari temple. Dialogues written by Nagavalli R. S. Kurup impressed the audience. Cinematography by U. Rajagopal with Masthan and editing by Gopalakrishnan were commendable. Dances choreographed by Thankappan were a highlight of the film. Music composed by Devarajan became popular.

Popular artists from Tamil/Telugu/Malayalam cinema like Gemini Ganeshan, Kantha Rao (as Vishnu), P. K. Abraham, Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair, Sathar , T. K. Balachandran, Rajasree, Santhi, Adoor Bhavani and Kaviyoor Ponnamma acted in the film. Vinodini, who acted in early Malayalam films as child actress, was cast as the heroine—as the Goddess Devi Kanyakumari.

The legends about the temple and some miracles played by the Goddess in the lives of her devotees are presented as flash back to the traditional folk art “Villadichaan Paattu” (a form of musical discourse) performed by the team led by S. P. Pillai and Kedamangalam Sadanandan.

The legend behind the Kanyakumari Devi temple dates back to the Dwapara Yuga in the vedic age in Hindu scriptures when Sree Krishna was born. The well known story of Kamsa’s (Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair) campaign to kill his nephew Sree Krishna, his slayer according to the prophecy, is narrated in brief. Kamsa comes to the prison to kill the child born to his sister Devaki (Rajasree) and Vasudeva (Gemini Ganeshan). However, Krishna was replaced by the girl born to Yashoda. When Kamsa attempted to kill the girl, who was incarnation of Parvathi Devi, she escapes from his fist and disappears. The girl grows up to be Kanyakumari (Vinodini) whose mission was slaying of the demon Banasura (P. K. Abraham) who conquered the heavens and who could be killed only by an adolescent girl by virtue of a boon. Kanyakumari chooses the coastal area at the southern end of India (Kanyakumari town) as her abode.
Kanyakumari has immense devotion towards Lord Siva and their marriage was fixed. Lord Siva’s marriage procession started from Sucheendram but the marriage did not take place since the bridegroom could not reach the wedding venue in time due to the trick played by Narada (T. K. Balachandran). Banasura proposes to marry Kanyakumari, but is rejected by her. The furious demon is slaughtered by Kanyakumari in the ensuing fight. Kanyakumari takes an oath never to marry and to remain a kanya (virgin) and she reigns as the presiding deity of the temple at Kanyakumari (town named in her honour), blessing her devotees.

Miracles played by the goddess in the lives of her devotees follow the story of the formation of the temple. The episode of Kanyakumari rescuing her devotee (Kaviyoor Ponnamma) who got locked up in the temple unknowingly and feeding her was impressive. The goddess blessed her devotee Dasan Pillai (S. P. Pillai) to conduct the marriage of his daughter by giving ornaments promised as dowry. The fisherman (Vanchiyoor Madhavan Nair) whose family used to provide the rope for hoisting the flag during temple festival was saved by Kanyakumari when he got into a whirlpool in the sea while fishing.
Vinodini (daughter of dance master Guru Gopinath) impressed the audience by her fine acting and dances. Probably this was her only film as the heroine. The natural beauty of Kanyakumari was captured by the expert camera work and was an attraction of the film.

Songs written by Vayalar Rama Varma and set to tune by Devarajan became timeless hits. Instant hits were “Sucheendranatha Swayamvaramangalya ….”, “Kanna, Aalilakkanna ….” (both by Madhuri), and “ Sakthimayam Sivasakthimayam ….”(Yesudas). Other hits include “ Neelambujakshimaare ….” (Suseela Chorus), “ Devi Kanyakumari ….” (Yesudas, chorus).

Remembered for
Being the only film that exclusively focused on Kanyakumari temple.
For the music, especially for “ Sucheendranatha ….” and “ Kanna, Aalilakanna ….” (by Madhuri)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ponni (1976)

  • Music and a messageKamal Haasan and Lakshmi in a scene from the film
    Music and a messageKamal Haasan and Lakshmi in a scene from the film
Prabhat Films, pioneers in Indian cinema, produced films with unusual themes. V. Shantaram’s Amrit Manthan (1934) talked about human and animal sacrifice, and Vishram Bedekar’s Lakharani (1945) that supported inter-tribal marriages were two such films from Prabhat. Ponni , released on September 3, 1976, was an unusual Malayalam film in that it portrayed on screen the life of adivasis or tribals of Attappadi. The film was based on a novel of the same title written by Malayattoor Ramakrishnan, first published in 1967. The novel was supposed to have been inspired by real life incidents at Attappadi, which the writer came across when he was posted as Sub-Collector, Ottappalam Revenue Sub-Division during 1959-1961.

Thoppil Bhasi, who directed the film, also wrote the script and dialogues. The dialogues, a mixture of Tamil and Malayalam with a smattering of Kannada was impressive. Produced by M.O. Joseph for Manjilas, the film was shot in forest areas of Palakkad and at Satya, Gemini, AVM, and Karpakam Studios. Balu Mahendra’s cinematography was outstanding and so too the editing of M.S. Mani. The dances choreographed by E. Madhavan were in sync with the adivasi folk traditions. And G. Devarajan made effective use of folk tunes for the songs.

The film opens with an Independence Day celebrations organised by the Sub-Collector (Janardanan) of the area and the participation of various tribal groups of the region. Ponni (Lakshmi) belonging to the Mudhuga tribe and Maran (Kamal Haasan) belonging to the Irula tribe who danced on the day are introduced to each other by the Sub-Collector. Ponni and Maran fall in love at the first sight even as they willingly pose for the media.

These two tribes are rivals, who follow separate faiths and traditions. The Independence Day photograph of Ponni and Maran are published in the newspapers next day. Chellan (Soman), a Mudhuga, is in love with Ponni, but she dislikes him. Ponni’s friend Maashi (Rajakumari) loves Chellan.
Tension and strained relations in the Mudhuga tribes is cleverly exploited by the landlords of the area. The tribals practice the ‘slash-and-burn’ cultivation method, which is resented by the landlords who needed the tribals as cheap labour. Ponni revolts against the attempts of the landlords to hamper their traditional agricultural activities. Maran also stands by Ponni.

The Ponni-Maran love affair is met with widespread animosity and opposition. News is spread that the mountain god and the powers of Nature will not be pleased with the inter-tribe relationship.
Hanuman (Paravur Bharathan), an tool in the hands of the landlords. He works for them against the tribals. The tribal chief (Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai) warns the Mudhugas that their settlement will be destroyed by natural calamities if Ponni marries Maran and she is banned from meeting Maran. Meanwhile, Ponni’s father Nanjan (Sankaradi) decides to marry her to Chellan. The police arrest Maran on false charges of holding firearms without a licence. Ponni meets the Sub-Collector and pleads with him to save Maran and manages to get him freed.

The Mudhuga priest Bomman (Adoor Bhasi), through the influence of the landlords and Hanuman, set a trap to kill Ponni. And Bomman makes a prediction that the tribal settlement will soon be destroyed by the anger of Jakkamma, the mountain goddess. Pretending to be possessed by the goddess, Bomman demands human sacrifice to appease the powers and save the tribe. Ponni is chosen for the sacrifice and arrangements are made for the ritual. Maran and Chellan reach the spot in time and save Ponni. The film draws to a happy ending, Maran and Chellan marrying Ponni and Mashi respectively.

In the novel, Ponni dies in an avalanche. The film deviates with a scene where the tribals vow to stop human sacrifice and encourage inter-tribe marriage, thereby given it a very positive twist.

Kamal Haasan and Adoor Bhasi excelled in their roles. The comic scenes involving Bahadur and Kunjan (as the Village Officer and his Assistant) created moments of riotous laughter.

The songs written by P.Bhaskaran and set to tune by Devarajan were all hits. Markazhiyil mallika poothaal … (K.J. Yesudas), Maamaramo poomaramo …. (P. Madhuri), Maattupongal makarappongal…(P. Jayachandran, P. Leela, Madhuri and chorus), Singarappenninte …. (Leela- Madhuri), Neeraattu Pongal neeraattu …(P.Susheela and chorus) have stood the test of time.

Will be remembered : As a film against social evils like animal and human sacrifice; for its music, especially for the song Margazhiyil mallika …

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Valarthumrigangal (1981)

CIRCUS REALITIES Sukumaran and Madhavi from the film
Special Arrangement
CIRCUS REALITIES Sukumaran and Madhavi from the film
Valarthumrugangal, released on May 29, 1981, was based on a short story of the same title written by M.T. Vasudevan Nair which was first published in December, 1954. The story also won an award in a national-level competition conducted the magazine where it was published. In an interview the author had stated that the story was written after watching a circus show at Palakkad and understanding the hardships faced by the artistes. The film portrays the bitter side of life in a circus camp. Humans are just valarthumrugangal or pet animals, treated worse than the animals in a circus.
Produced by K.C. Joy for Priyadarshini Movies, and directed by Hariharan, the script, dialogues and songs were by M.T. Vasudevan Nair. Mention also should be made of Mehli Irani’s cinematography and editing by G. Venkitaraman.

Circus was the main theme of many earlier films like S.S. Vasan’s Tamil-Hindi bilingualChandralekha (1948), P.Bhaskaran’s Malayalam film Nair Pidicha Pulivaal (1958), and Raj Kapoor’s Mera Naam Joker (1970). But none of these films trained the camera on the lives of the circus artistes. Probably, Valarthumrugangalwas first film to do this.

Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair, popular Tamil actor Nagesh, K.P. Ummer, Sukumaran, Ratheesh, Nandita Bose, Madhavi played important roles in the film. The music composed by M.B. Sreenivasan was impressive.

Kumaran (Balan K. Nair) the owner of a circus company was virtually thrown to the streets when his company was destroyed in a cyclone while performing in Nasik. He now earns a living by performing on the streets. Grand Malabar Circus, owned by Madhavan (Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair), who once worked with Kumaran in a circus company, sets up camp in the city where Kumaran now performs. Some members of Kumaran’s group, Nanu (Nagesh), Lakshmi (Nandita Bose), Janu (Madhavi) and Chandran (Ratheesh) join Grand Malabar Circus.

Janu and Chandran were children when they joined the Circus company. Lakshmi was degraded as a “helper” when she crossed her youth. Janu became an efficient trapeze artist and became the “Star” of the Circus Company. Madhavan’s nephew Gopi (K P Ummer) takes charge of the Circus Company when Madhavan leaves to the native place. Lakshmi dies of prolonged illness and lack of proper medical care. Kumaran and Nanu leaves the Circus Company unable to withstand the discrimination and humiliation by the management.

One day Gopi attempts to molest Janu . Chandran saves Janu and Gopi is beaten by him severely. Chandran is dismissed from the job and he leaves the Company. Chandran who was in love with Janu invites her to accompany him, but she stays back.

The newly joined Bike rider Bhaskaran (Sukumaran) is fascinated by Janu and slowly she falls in love with him. He raises voice against exploitation of the artists in the Company and fights for better work conditions. But the fate was cruel. Bhaskaran dies in a simulated accident while performing “Jeep Jump” in the Circus show . Janu becomes “helpless” , nobody to support her, protect her . Unable to resist, she surrenders to Gopi’s desires. Chandran comes back to take her with him. Janu who is “spoiled” now, refuses to go with Chandran who was once her sincere lover. Janu loses her mental balance. She falls down from the trapeze while performing the show and breaks her arm . Janu who was once the “Star” performer of the Circus Company is now degraded as “Helper” since she is unable to perform. Janu leaves the Circus Company. She joins the ‘Street Circus “ that Kumaran and Nanu were performing in the streets.

Madhavi, Balan K Nair and Nagesh excelled in their roles. Madhavi won the Kerala State Film award for the best supporting actress. The film dispensed with usual hilarious comedy scenes. The bleak melodrama failed at the box office.

This is one and the only film for which M T Vasudevan Nair wrote songs. M B Sreeenivasan composed music. “Kaakkaalan Kaliyachan…. “ (Yesudas) and “ Shubha Rathri Shubha Rathri….. “ (Yesudas) became popular. Other hits include “ Orumuri Kannadiyilonnu…. “ (Janaki) and “ Karmathin Paathakal… “ (Yesudas).

Why remembered:

A realistic story of the life in a circus camp.
One and the only film for which M T Vasudevan Nair wrote songs.
Kerala State Film Award for the best supporting actress (Madhavi).