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Tuesday, September 20

Emotions in motion: Page I

Exceptional creations of art have one feature in common: they stand the test of time. Their beauty and value multiplies over time, providing sheer delight to those who can appreciate the finesse. Movies touch our lives like no other medium of entertainment; the tales and emotions packed into those reels cut a chord with the real life of the audience. I present my personal choice of a few highly artistic moments from some unforgettable movies in Malayalam language over the past few decades which still continue to touch and thrill our senses.

Film: Namukku parkkan munthirithoppukal
Year: 1986
Director: Padmarajan
Cast: Mohanlal, Thilakan, Shaari
Scene: Climax. Solomon returns for Sofia. He honks twice but Sofia doesn't come out as promised. Solomon breaks into the property, anticipating the scuffle with Sofia's evil step-dad, who has already violated Sofia and has no better plans for Solomon. But Solomon overwhelms the man and carries his girl away. The lorry, which is a strong, persistent character in the movie, disappears into the hazy-dark dawn taking the couple to their vineyard haven where Solomon has promised his love for Sofia. Unforgettable finale to the most charismatic love story ever told in Malayalam.

NB: Padmarajan, apparently, was a touch sceptical about how the audience would receive the climax where the hero goes off with a despoiled woman. Cameraman Venu, who ferociously argued in favour of it said he wouldn't be doing the movie if the climax was altered. Pappettan had to succumb!

Film: Thoovanathumbikal
Year: 1987
Direcotr: Padmarajan
Cast: Mohanlal, Sumalatha
Scene: Climax. Clara agrees to see Jayan one last time. Neglecting his fiancee's (Radha) staunch warning, he goes to the Railway Station to bid adieu to the woman who taught him the first lessons in love, subconsciously relegating his guilt for causing her lose her virginity. Jayan and Clara meets and parts, being anxiously watched by Radha from a distance. Padmarajan wove this sensitive and explosive theme so aesthetically that Thoovanathumbikal is still very much a family film; no stigma attached. We miss you Pappetta!

Film: Innale
Year: 1989
Director: Padmarajan
Cast: Shobhana, Jayaram, Suresh Gopi
Scene: Climax: Suresh Gopi's heart-wrenching cameo stole the show. Narendran comes in search for 'Maya', something Appu always feared deep down his heart. Maya welcomes Narendran into the house, not knowing he is her husband from the 'erased' past. Appu senses that he may lose Maya, steals some time off during the meeting to share some intimate moments with her. A heart-broken Narendran leaves without revealing the truth, accepting that he has no presence in her present. Title credits roll on as the car leaves the meadows obliterating the last possible connection from Maya's long lost past.

Film: Nokkethadoorathu Kannum nattu
Year: 1984
Director: Fazil
Cast: Padmini, Nadia Moythu, Mohanlal
Scene: Climax: Kunjoonjamma drugs Girlie to sleep, her final few moments in that house. She is taken away by the Ambulance personnel as Sreekumar brings her belongings down. Mohanlal shows his brilliance in that short sequence but its about Padmini's Kunjoojamma all the way. This sequence was devoid of Fazil's occasional burst of melodrama which did enhance the melancholic scene but the climax is an outright winner. Girlie is carried away to meet her almost certain fate but Kunjoojamma fixes the call bell back on the portico hoping that someday Girlie will return to use it.

Film: Manichitrathazhu
Year: 1993
Director: Fazil
Cast: Shobhana, Suresh Gopi, Mohanlal
Scene: Ganga transforms into Nagavalli. Egged on by Dr. Sunny, Nakulan approaches Ganga, still not convinced about his wife's severe and dangerous psychiatric condition. Nakulan enacts the pre-written script to intimidate Ganga into revealing her darker twin-personae much to his astonishment. This National Award winning performance by Shobhana is backed up by the superlative dubbing by Bhagyalakshmi and exceptional screenplay and direction.

Film: Oru Vadakkan Veeragadha
Year: 1989
Director: Hariharan
Cast: Mammooty, Suresh Gopi, Madhavi
Scene: The end of Chathiyan Chandu. Mammooty's National Award winning performance provides impossible perfection to a once-in-a-lifetime MT script. The impeccable portrait of Chandu and exceptional dialogue delivery by Mammooty have made this movie a timeless masterpiece.

Film: Kireedam
Year: 1989
Director: Sibi Malayil
Cast: Mohanlal, Thilakan
Scene: The making of Sethumadhavan. Mohanlal's portrait of an unforgettable Lohitadas's character gave rise to one of the most emotionally draining climaxes ever in Malayalam film history. The film and character had been so popular that it was remade into many languages but none could match the way Lal gave life to the volatile and tragic metamorphosis of Sethumadavan.

Film: Sandesham
Year: 1991
Director: Satyan Anthikkad
Cast: Thilakan, Jayaram, Sreenivasan
Scene: The famous 'Poland' scene. A mirror to contemporary Kerala political situation, this extremely simplified and satiric classic is increasingly becoming relevant, food for thought even during present times. Sreenivasan's best script to date, Sandesham's social angles and philosophies join to scribble a rejoinder to the severely marginalized and mostly concurrent Kerala political scenario.Talk about realistic movies with a strong message!

Films transcend the barriers of language and culture in depicting and exploring human emotions and behaviour. Part II of this post will feature my favourite scenes from beyond Malayalam and Indian cinema.

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