Friday, September 11

Pranamam - A Bharathan classic.

Movie - Pranamam (Malayalam)
Director - Bharathan
Producer - Joy Thomas
Cast - Mammootty, Suhasini, Ashokan, Vineeth, Babu Antony, Nedumudi Venu, KPAC Lalitha
Music - Ouseppachan
Cinematography - Venu
Story, Lyrics - Bharathan
Screenplay, Dialogue - Dennis Joseph
Release Date - 24th October 1986
DVD available on - Moser Baer (With Subtitles)

This is the classics revisited section where I would like to post my reviews of some old wonderful movies I've seen. I just watched this movie Pranamam by Bharathan on DVD yesterday and felt that I had to write about it. It is a pretty famous movie, like most of Bharathan's movies are. But i feel, most of the people of my age group are unaware of this movie which handles a theme which is very relevant even now. The movie is against the use of drugs and shows what all are the dangers of using them. The story is by the director himself supported with a very nice screenplay by famous writer Dennis Joseph. Venu supports with great visuals through his cinematography.

The story goes like this - Usha, played by Suhasini is a journalist. She decides to write an article on drug abuse by college students and does a photo feature on the issue. The article gets published and creates a sensation. The students who appeared in the photos are suspended from their college. One of them, who was good at studies and all, tries to commit suicide due to shame and gets admitted in the hospital. The college students go into a rebellion against the newspaper and creates a lot of problems, which are solved temporarily by Inspector Prathapan played by Mammootty. While Suhasini leaves for her house due to the problem, the gang of those students who got suspended (Ashokan, Vineeth and 2 others) kidnap her. They lock her up inside a house, torture her throughout and even inject drugs into her hand. How she changes the mindset of these 4 guys while staying in that house under their custody forms the rest of the story. 

The movie tackles a very socially relevant theme. The scenes where the students take drugs are picturised very realistically(considering the movie was made in 1986). The Bharathan touch, is very evident in the movie. The movie is very bold and he doesnt shy away from portraying violence as it is. No other director would have dared to shoot the scene where Suhasini is tortured the way it is shot in this film. He brings out the script onto the screen effectively and gets brilliant performances from each of the cast members. The visualization of the song 'Thaalam Maranna Thaaraattu' is beautiful. One would feel like crying instantly when you see that song. The art direction inside Ashokan's house is wonderful. Full of posters and all kinds of crazy stuff, you can find in such a person's house. The placement of his mother's photographs also are a good touch. One shot where Suhasini smiles at him and leaves to reveal his mother's photograph behind is a brilliant touch. 

As far as performances go, Suhasini as Usha has the major role and shines in a role which is tailor-made for her. She is the protagonist of the movie and it is her story. She delivers a great performance. Mammootty as Prathapan was quite impressive. I didnt like his acting style in most of the movies in the 80s. But this one was totally different. He played a police officer with a cool attitude and a good sense of humor. And the thing to be appreciated is that, he was just a supporting character to Suhasini and the other 4 kids. Yet, he took up this role and shined in it. Ashokan as Damu is an example of brilliant casting. He performs the eccentric character with ease. He does extremely well in the scenes where his character becomes really violent as well as in scenes where his sad past comes into picture. Good characterisation by the writer also. Vineeth plays the goody-goody boy again. Something which was usual for him during those years. (Namukku Parkkan Munthirithoppukal, Nakhakshathangal,etc.). He also does very well. It was very funny to see today's great dancer dancing very oddly to a disco song. :P Other value additions to the cast were Nedumudi Venu, who is always brilliant. He plays a small role as Suhasini's father. But one person who comes for just one scene and leaves a huge impact is KPAC Lalitha (Bharathan's wife as well). She plays Vineeth's elder sister who comes to see him and give him a piece of her mind after knowing about the article. I had tears in my eyes when I saw her crying for him. She's such a wonderful actress. Babu Antony also plays an impressive role of the leader of the protest against the newspaper. His role is quite comic in nature and he has some great scenes with Mammootty. 
There are a lot of funny scenes in the movie as well. Including the ones during the protest, along with Babu Antony and Mammootty. The concept of 'Relay Satyagraham' was brilliant. Lol. If Gandhiji had seen this, he would have died once again. :P But it was really funny. 

The songs are also beautiful. Ouseppachan who was brought into cinema by Bharathan does a great job. The first song 'Thalirilayil ' shows how Suhasini prepares her photo feature. The sentimental song 'Thaalam Maranna Thaaraattu' by MG Sreekumar is a soulful number which evokes a sad feeling in you. Beautiful lyrics as well. The visualization of this song by Bharathan can show you what exactly is the famous Bharathan touch. :) If he had done this way back in in 1986, imagine what all he could have done if he were alive now. :(. The final song, 'Kadalilagi Karayodu Cholli ' is wonderful and is the best of the lot. It has Krishnachandran, MG Sreekumar and Lathika on vocals. The song comes towards the end of the movie and is picturised very well again. 

I didnt quite like the ending of the movie. I was loving it the way it was going. I couldnt digest the sudden and shocking ending. Maybe thats what the director wanted. He might have wanted everyone to be in a state of shock while watching that scene. It makes a point as well. Even if you think you have resolved all the problems caused by drugs, it just wouldnt get over like that. It shows how much damage drugs can do to your own life and others' lives as well. But still, I would have preferred a much more sober ending, because of the movies I'm used to watching. :) 

But this is seriously a movie that has to be watched by everyone. The younger as well as the older generation (I'm hoping that most of the older generation people would have seen this movie) should make it a point to watch this one. Such is the kind of movies Malayalam Cinema used to have. Bold, hard-hitting, powerful movies. In fact, this movie has all the potential to be remade even now, in any language and it would still be relevant. I would advise all of you to watch this movie whenever you get a chance. Its available on DVDs from Moser Baer at a cheap rate of Rs.45. And it has subtitles as well. So my non-Malayali friends can watch it as well. Its totally worth it.


  1. gr8 work............
    one more thing........y do u always do reviews of films which u like?.......try sme moderate ones as well ...

  2. well, i did kandasamy... and in this classics section, i would rather stress on movies which need to be watched.. if i start reviewing, old bad movies, it would never end.. so the old movies, i'll write bout only good ones which many ppl may not have watched.. for newer ones, i thought of writing a review for kanaakanmani.. then i thought, its not worth the effort..

  3. Bro.. Try to write reviews of some Padmarajan sir directed movies too... i would like to know your perspective on some of his films...!!

  4. yea.. the thing is that i write reviews immediately after watching the movie.. its difficult for me to memorize and write about the movie though i might remember almost everything.. still it wont be as effective as writing after watching.. so as soon as i watch any of the padmarajan movies again, will post them here..

  5. could you please suggest a online site or torrent link so that i can watch the movie,,,