Today we see Mohanlal ruling the box office as an actor. 🙂 He has made a steady career for himself which 3 decades long. Is there anything the man can’t do? 🙂
With back-to-back successes and words of praise from fans and critics alike, he has undoubtedly cleared his position as a superstar in Malayalam cinema. Mohanlal’s career started way back where he began his career as a villain on big screen. Then he went to deliver a variety of genres under the care and vision of profound directors. Only to finally establish himself as a superstar. Amidst all this, there are roles that express his talents and ability to transcend emotions to the audience. Similarly, director Sibi Malayil and writer Lohithadas created artsy films by teaming up. It was undoubtedly a deadly combination and in a way, we will miss the kind of content they have delivered. Sibi Malayil and Lohithadas created character-based films that revolve around their respective developments. Despite having Mohanlal at the center, all of Lohithadas characters will have their own play at the center of the stage. Bharatham is one of the notable films. All the characters are memorable. Characters make the movie and each of them will lure you in and help you identify the same through them.
Bharatham is loosely based on Ramayana where Bharathan took over the kingdom after Ram and Lakshmanan’s departure. In this film, “Bharathan” is Gopinathan (Mohanlal) who had to endure the pain of his brother’s loss and the burden of the family. The story revolves around these two characters, Ramanathan and Gopinathan. Both of them live in their tharavadu with their mother, grandfather and Ramanathan’s wife. Foundations of their family lie in music and Ramanathan is a talented and respected singer who took over his late father’s footsteps. Gopi is more talented and melodious and Raman had trained him since childhood. One day Raman’s dilemma and inability to sing persuades Gopi to take over the stage and redeem the same. That’s when things began to fall apart.
When I watched this film for the first time, I was moved by the story. The film is haunting and the ending will remain in your heart. Technically, apart from Raveendran’s music, the film has all fixtures of the early ‘90s. From the still camera, less number of shots, editing, etc. But, Sibi Malayil’s vision will ensure that the film will remain in the minds of the audience. There are memorable moments and that is what makes it a Sibi Malayil film. Raman is an alcoholic who falls deeper into the abyss such that he finds it difficult to come out of the same. He is trapped and Gopi had to carry on the responsibility. Nedumudi Venu nailed it when it comes to expressing all of that and the way he tried to make up for the same makes it better.
When it comes to Mohanlal, Sibi Malayil himself have talked about how some of the scenes have impacted him while he directed Mohanlal behind the screen. When Gopi and Devi hear about an “unidentified man found dead” with the help of IAS officer (Murali), they go to the police station. When the police ask the fellow officer to bring photographs and clothes of the deceased, we see a couple of minutes where Gopi and Devi wait for the same. The intensity of the scene is carried by Gopi’s tension-filled face. He hopes and hopes that the clothes do not belong to his brother. Unlike Gopi, Devi, although she herself in anxious, is more mentally prepared to face the consequences and that is visible in her facial expression and body language. But for Gopi, it is not the same. He is sensitive and he feels as if his brother moved a massive burden on his shoulders. When the clothes are brought before him, Gopi breaks down bowing his head. Sibi Malayil mentioned in an interview that he was so moved that he found himself rubbing the tears from his eyes.
We see Gopi expressing his frustration and grief over and over to Devi. Devi consistently asks him to be strong and to ensure that his sister’s wedding is done as per Raman’s wish. The song Ramagadha is one of the best directed moments from the movie. When Gopi, at one point, feels the energy draining from him, Devi signals him to be strong to which he shakes his head “I can’t”. But then he finds his determination and goes on.
The most iconic moments from the movie is the climax where each and every member of the family finds out about Raman’s demise and Gopi’s decision to conceal the same. Everyone taunts him and have their overbust. Gopi goes before each and every one of them but they all drive him aside. Finally, he comes before his sister-in-law Ramani. He expects her to burst out at him or to be silent all the while. Ramani, however, states the obvious, that of all people she knows him and understands him. At the moment, we see, in Gopi’s eyes, a sense of relief. To him, that’s what matters, the one person from whom he wanted to hear. This is one of my favorite moments from the film and in many ways, a perfect climax to a drama. Hats off to Sibi Malayil, Mohanlal, and Lakshmi. This film features one of my personal favorite performances by Urvashi, despite being in an ensemble cast next to power-packed performances that might overshadow, Devi’s determination, inner strength, sarcastic girl-like sense of humor, and ability to put on a tough face during crisis adds the brick to the film.
We do have character driven stories today from Kammattipadam, Saira Banu etc. But Sibi Malayil- Lohithadas have given unique content at that time. Each of their films are unique and character driven. They give voice to the characters and the emotions go deep. If you haven’t Bharatham yet then you should see it. Fans of Mohanlal should keep this film in their stock
Featured image: imdb