This film is as old as I am and it managed to keep up with the changing times. No other film will be as effective as Manichitrathazhu when it comes it’s status as an industrial hit and a pathbreaker. The film features “Madambi palace”, shot at two different locations; Ernakulam hill palace and Padmanabhapuram palace (Trivandrum). The storytelling is in form of “shifting of perspective” from Unnithan (Innocent), an eccentric caretaker of the palace and husband of Bhasura (K.P.A.C Lalitha). Then, we see the life in Madambi through Ganga (Shobana), the lead character who has her own secrets. Ganga becomes sympathetic with the story of Nagavalli, whose spirit is said to be haunting the palace fueled by rumours of local people. The film becomes livelier with the entry of Dr Sunny Joseph (Mohanlal) an eccentric yet clever psychiatrist, who is hired by Nakulan, Ganga’s husband, to cure Nakulan’s cousin Sreedevi after a series of mysterious happenings. The films is thrilling, dramatic, funny and edge of the seat. I never get tired of watching the same.
An apt result of the deadly combination, Sibi Malayil- Lohithadas backed by a cast of power packed performances. Bharatham is a very haunting film about how two men poured their hearts out into their passion, how alcoholism destroys a man’s career, and the bond between two brothers. Mohanlal won a well deserved national award as Gopinath, a compassionate singer who brings life in his music. Memorable moments include the scene where Gopi asks for Raman’s blessings after the stage performance “sreevinayakam”, when Devi asks Gopi to be strong when he becomes emotional while singing “Rama gadha gaanalayam” and the scene where Ramani forgives Gopi for concealing his brother’s death as a secret. This film affected and remained with me for many days. Also, one of my most favorite performances of Mohanlal.
8. Kireedam (1989)
Kireedam is a disturbing yet effective film about a young man who hopes and aspirations were burnt through fate. The fall of an individual is depicted beautifully in the film along with the socially constructed expectations of an individual who becomes a hero before the locals, after he beats up a notorious criminal. Sethu Madhavan is one of the most memorable characters played by Mohanlal. The scene where he attacks Keerikkadan Jose (Mohan Raj) is said to be performed by Mohanlal as he was completely sucked into his character. The scene where Sethu’s father asks him to drop the knife is one of the best dramatic moments in Malayalam cinema. We see his father tears of helplessness as he knows that all his dreams and aspirations have fallen. Sethu lets out vociferous cry out of guilt. Kireedam is a perfect execution of emotions backed by a strong script.
9.Punjabi House (1998)
Punjabi house is one of my most favorite films and probably one of those films that I have watched repeatedly. Dileep stars as Unni, a young ambitious man whose failed business ventures leads to debt after the other. Due to the influence of the same, Unni decides to commit suicide and make it look like an accident as the insurance money will fulfill the debts. But, he ends being rescued by Gangadharan (Cochin Haneefa) and Ramanan (Harisree Ashokan) who have problems of their own. The ride begins from then on. I liked the whole concept behind inter-cultural relations where Punjabi folks speak fluent Malayalam. Punjabi house is the result of a clever concept backed by humour, memorable songs, direction, and characters. Dileep is fantastic in his role, Mohini is expressive and graceful as mute named Pooja who falls in love with Unni. Janardhanan, Thilakan, Cochin Haneefa etc. are good. The breakout character is undoubtedly Harisree Ashokan as the hilarious Ramanan whose moments makes Punjabi house what it is today. Even today, people talk about Ramanan and his funny antics, notably the “wrestling”, his labour work in the house, and when asks for food from a Punjabi cook played by Praseeda. Nina Kurup as Karishma also has her moments of dry humour and slickness adding better flavour to the film.
It has a hilarious plotline, ridiculous sequences and over the top moments. And, it makes Kilukkam a thrill ride indeed. Kilukkam is an all-time great comedy. Whenever, the film comes on television, me and my entire family sits before the same, as if we are watching it for the first time. That is, in many ways, a film’s success. After 25 years, the film is just as effective. Mohanlal and Revathy have a great chemistry and both of them nailed it with their comic performance. Revathy is natural and spot on, with her effortless comedy and drama. Jagathy Sreekumar stole the show as Nischal Kumar, still photographer of India. It is undoubtedly Jagathy’s best performance till date. There at many memorable moments like Nandini narrating her brawl with the hotel employees, when she brags about how she escaped from a elephant, and when Nischal ends up hospital several times, and at point he asks if he has “missile inside his body” and begs for “capital punishment”. 😀