Wednesday, September 16

Naaduvazhikal - Joshi's action blockbuster...

Movie - Naaduvazhikal (Malayalam).
Director - Joshi
Producer - Seven Arts
Cast - Madhu, Mohanlal, Devan, Murali, Babu Namboothiri, Thilakan, Janardhanan, Roopini, Sithara, Vijayaraghavan, Aziz, Manian Pillai Raju, Jagathy Sreekumar
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues - SN Swamy
Music - Shyam
Cinematography - Jayanan Vincent
Editing - K Sankunni
Release Year - 1989.

Naaduvazhikal is an immensely popular action movie by hit-maker Joshi released during the latter half of the 80s, when the movie's leading man, Mohanlal, had already become a superstar. The movie is heavily inspired the Hollywood classic 'The Godfather'. Even though other languages have had their own adaptations of Godfather, I cant think of any other movie which has adapted that classic movie into Malayalam so well before and after this one. Madhu is Vito Corleone here and Mohanlal is Michael Corleone. And the scheming family of villains is played by Devan and Murali here with the help of Babu Namboothiri and Jagathy Sreekumar. Madhu also has his own men who stand by him and his son, no matter what, including Janardhanan, Thilakan and Kuthiravattam Pappu. 

The story begins showing Mohanlal's student life in Bangalore with all the vibrancy of the city captured in a great song, the only song in the movie, 'Ravin Poonthen ' set to tune by Shyam. That song is still played repeatedly on television and radio. Such is its popularity. The story then moves on to Madhu's arrest and Mohanlal taking control over the family business. The villains plotting against both Madhu and Mohanlal, etc. Mohanlal, is a gentle, easy-going person, who has no idea about his father's businesses and enemies and is pulled into all this due to Madhu's arrest. He tries his level best to free his father. But the Chekkudi family (Devan, Murali) keep torturing him with lots of troubles. All this culminates in a great tragedy for the family and how Mohanlal takes his revenge forms the rest of the story. 

One thing which I found odd was that the reason for Madhu's arrest is never explained. Though they give an excuse that it is a political arrest and Madhu was framed, they never say the exact reason. Since the arrest is such a crucial point in the movie's story, they should have explained it more than this. But otherwise, the writing from SN Swamy, is perfect. The pace, the lines and the twists which are absolute requirements for an action flick like this are all there in plenty. SN Swamy was one among the most popular writers then for action movies like this. Especially after Irupathaam Noottandu and Oru CBI Diarykkurippu. But his writing skills have deteriorated very much in recent days. 

There is nobody to beat Joshi at making action entertainers in Malayalam Cinema. Most of his movies already have blockbuster material in them, and end up being blockbusters as well. He has been doing this from his 'Moorkhan' days till the biggest hit in Malayalam Cinema, 'Twenty 20' last year.  There have been only very few instances where his movie has turned out bad. Otherwise, he stays true to his description 'Hit-Maker' most of the time. In this movie also, he has completely done justice to SN Swamy's great script and has extracted great performances from the huge cast. 

Madhu plays Ananthan, a man who had his share of life in the world of crime, but is now turning over a new leaf. But he will do anything for his people, which lands him in trouble with the Chekkudy brothers - Devan and Murali, who play typical villains. Mohanlal plays Arjun, Ananthan's son who studies in Bangalore. His role goes through a lot of twists and turns. He is an easy-going guy who enjoys his life in Bangalore with his friends, car, bikes, girlfriend and a couple of beers every day. From that, he is suddenly brought to Kerala where he has to take up all the family's responsibilities. His gentleness in the beginning slowly goes away and he shows that he in Ananthan's son, towards the interval. Then he begins to resolve all the problems that has been happening to their family and finally goes wild when a tragedy happens. Rupini plays Mohanlal's lover in Bangalore. Sithara plays his sister. Both of them have very small roles and they do it well. Other supporting actors include Janardhanan, Pappu, Manian Pillai Raju, Jagathy Sreekumar, Prathapachandran, Vijayaraghavan, etc. One who deserves a special mention is Thilakan. He plays a comic character, quite different from his usual roles. He plays a person who goes on boasting about his contacts in the government and police and ends up making a fool out of himself. Very nice characterization and Thilakan, as usual, does a great job. 

The cinematography by Jayanan Vincent is great. The colorful life in Bangalore is captured very well in the song. And during one of the stunt scenes, which is shot in Hotel Chola Sheraton, Chennai, the camerawork and editing is brilliant, all under Joshi's able direction. The one song by Shyam is a superhit. The background score is also apt for the movie's mood and theme. But we miss a signature tune like that of Irupathaam Noottandu or CBI Diary. I saw this movie playing on TV yesterday. By seeing one scene itself, I decided I had to watch the movie again. But since the telecast on TV would be interrupted with advertisements at all possible excuses, I saw the movie from the cd I had with me. And I was completely hooked till the whole movie got over. The movie was made exactly 20 years back and still manages to hold your attention throughout, which many movies that are coming out now are not able to do. Joshi still makes blockbuster movies with each superstar, and also made one with all the superstars. This week, yet another Joshi film is releasing. And he has gone for the younger group of actors from Malayalam, Prithviraj, Jayasurya and Narein in his new film Robin Hood. Hope it is yet another blockbuster from the master director. 

People would think what this commercial action film is doing in the classics section. This section is generally for old movies that I have enjoyed tremendously. I share my view points on those movies in this section. This movie was a superhit then and is still immensely popular, which is why I have included it in this section. This movie was in the news 2 years back, when Shankar was making Sivaji in Tamil, supposedly inspired by this movie, which of course, was false news. 


  1. I saw the movie too...but i didn't have the CD like had to bear with those annoying hindi ads dubbed in malayalam...But the ending of the movie could have been betta...When Murali dies in the end...there was no murder charge against mohanlal...though everyone knew it was him...But they didn't have any evidence...He should have killed Devan in a similar fashion...without getting caught...and now that would have been a proper revenge...

  2. yea.. even i'm in for that.. if the movie was in tamil, that would have definitely happened.. but in mal, they go in for endings like this where crime is not glorified and all, at least in the 80s.. one of mohanlal's biggest hits, rajavinte makan, had him dying while the villain lives.. i seriously would hav loved a happy ending.. this was also fine.. paavam roopini and sithara.. hehe..

  3. i am still a big fan of this movie.. the movie that made me a lalettan fan at the age of 3 or 4 along with Rajavinte makan, Namukku parkkan, irupatham noottandu.. raavil poonthen is still a thrilling song to watch n hear..
    luckily,i got the dvd last yr, my bro in law bought for me.. even though it was a compilation dvd from moserbaer with 3 other movies in it, i am satisfied seeing jus dis one..