Prem Nazir, Madhu, Ramankutty, Bahadur, Nellikkodu Bhaskaran, Ragini, Jayabharathi , Philomina

Popular playwright K.T. Mohammed is renowned for his scripts and dialogues written for social movies, especially with a Muslim background. Kandam Becha Coattu (1961) and Moodupadam (1963) are examples. Thurakkatha Vathil, which released on August 15, 1970, won the National Award for the best feature film on national integration. One of K.T. Mohammed’s best-known scripts, this sentimental movie was part of a growing trend in 1970s Malayalam cinema. The hero sacrificing his happiness to fulfil his obligations towards his family. The film was a box office hit, too. Music composed by K. Raghavan (K. Raghunath in the title cards) was excellent.

Directed by P. Bhaskaran the film was shot at Prakash Studios. Cinematography was by Benjamin and editing by K. Narayanan and Neelakantan jointly was commendable.

Popular actors of the time, Prem Nazir, Madhu, Bahadur, Ragini, Jayabharathi and Philomina handled the major roles.

Bappu (Prem Nazir) struggles to bring up his family consisting of his mother Beepathumma (Philomina) and younger sister Nabeesa (Jayabharathi). Bappu is in love with Sulekha (Ragini), daughter of his neighbour Alikkutty Master (Ramankutty). Bappu’s life ambitions are getting his sister Nabeesa married off and then marry Sulekha. To fulfil his dreams, Bappu leaves to Madras to earn money.

Bappu starts a hosiery business in the city, where he meets Vasu (Madhu), who was roaming the streets without food or shelter. Bappu befriends Vasu and gives him refuge in his house. Bappu considers Vasu as his intimate friend Narayanankutty (Bahadur) in the village. He decides to visit his native village during the festival to make arrangements for Nabeesa’s marriage. But fate was cruel. Bappu meets with an accident and gets severely injured. After a few days, he dies. Before his death, Bappu requests Vasu to go to the village and marry off Nabeesa and take care of his mother. Vasu promises his beloved friend to take Bappu’s responsibilities.

Vasu reaches the village and fulfils his promise. He makes arrangements for Nabeesa’s marriage. That is when religious fundamentalists raise their eyebrows on a young Hindu man staying in a Muslim house. But Beepathumma and Nabeesa consider Vasu as Bappu. Everybody in the village is made to believe that Bappu will reach the village on the day of Nabeesa’s wedding. Bappu’s absence causes disappointment, but Vasu conducts Nabeesa’s wedding.

It is only after the wedding that Vasu reveals the truth about Bappu. Only Sulekha remains, with a broken heart. Vasu and Sulekha dont marry as she cannot not think of a life with anybody else but Bappu. Sulekha closes the doors of her heart forever. The name of the film, Thurakkatha Vathil, is derived from this idea.

Thus, the social drama ends on a tragic note.

Philomina excelled in her performance and she won the State Award for the best supporting actress of the year. Ragini, too, impressed the audience by her natural style of acting.

Five songs written by P. Bhaskaran were set to tune by K. Raghavan. ‘Naalikerathinte Naattilenikkoru...’ (Yesudas), the song that induces nostalgia, was an instant hit. ‘Kadakkannin muna kondu…’ (Janaki, Renuka), ‘Manassinullil mayakkam kollum…’ (Janaki), had the flavour of typical “Mappila songs”. Other hits include ‘Paarvanenduvin Dehamadakki…’ (Yesudas) and ‘Navayuga Prakashame…’ (Yesudas).

Will be remembered: For winning the National Award for the best film on National Integration in 1970 (Second Malayalam film to win this prestigious award under the category, the first being Janmabhoomi – 1967). As a good social movie and for its excellent music. And earning the best supporting actress award for Philomina.