Sathyan, Prem Nazir, Bahadur, Sankaradi, , Sheela, KPAC Lalitha, Philomina, Baby Sumathi

The Malayalam novel Anubhavangal Palichakal, written by Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai and first published in 1966, was a best seller. In 1971, M. O. Joseph came up with the film version of the novel under the banner of Manjilas. The film was a huge hit.

Incidentally, this was Sathyan’s last film. The shoot could not be completed before his death forcing the producers to use a body double for some of the scenes. In the song book of the film tributes paid to Sathyan, the favourite hero of Manjilas, who died on June 15, 1971 and M O Joseph, who passed away on July 5, 1971. The film was released on August 6, 1971.

It was in this film that Mammootty faced the camera for the first time. The very short appearance of the star in one scene went uncredited.

Directed by K. S. Sethumadhavan, the film tells the story of a conscientious worker who suspects his wife’s fidelity. The film is considered as one of Sethumadhavan’s best works.

Chellappan (Sathyan) is a dedicated Communist and a respected leader. He is suspicious of his wife Bhavani (Sheela) and believes that he is not the biological father of their son Kuttappan (Baby Shelvi). But he loves his daughter Kumari (Baby Sumathi). Chellappan suspects that his wife has an affair with his friend and co-worker Gopalan (Prem Nazir). Chellappan constantly quarrels with Bhavani and physically abuses her.

Chellappan gets into a clash with an employer and is reported to the police as a possible threat. When the police come looking for him, Chellappan goes underground. His party arranges for his temporary hiding in the house of another party member Kochitty (Sankaradi) in a nearby village. Kochitty’s daughter Parvathi (KPAC Lalitha) falls in love with Chellappan.

One night he tries to seduce her, but she resists. Chellappan feels ashamed and realises he has been neglecting his wife and children on the basis of ill-founded doubts.

He travels back to his village incognito. He is shocked when he comes to know that his wife is now living with Gopalan and that she is pregnant. Chellappan is filled with remorse , and without a word, leaves the village.

Chellappan gets involved in an agitation of labourers against the management of a factory. Several people get injured in the ensuing fight and Chellappan is arrested. On his release from the jail, he goes back to his village and visits his estranged wife at her new home. He comes to know that his beloved daughter is no more. Chellappan laments over her death, blesses his son and departs.

Later, it is reported that Chellappan has been arrested for the murder of the factory owner. Trapped between the decay of the feudal values and an equally oppressive legal system, he surrenders to the police.

Chellappan is found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging. The sentence is carried out. Bhavani and Gopalan bear the body of Chellappan back home in a rented car. Chellappan’s body is cremated. The final scene shows two graves outside Bhavani’s house – that of Chellappan and the other of his daughter.

Sathyan and KPAC Lalitha came up with brilliant performances.

Four songs written by Vayalar Rama Varma and tuned by G. Devarajan became super hits. Kalyani Kalavani… (P. Madhuri), Sarvarajya thozhilalikale… (K. J. Yesudas, P. Leela and chorus), Pravachakanmare parayoo…(Yesudas) and Agniparvatham pukanju…(Yesudas) have stood the test of time.

Will be remembered: As a good social movie with a powerful political backdrop, as Sathyan’s last film and for its excellent songs.