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Of social mores and desire: A scene from ‘Ara Naazhika Neram.’
Of social mores and desire: A scene from ‘Ara Naazhika Neram.’

LIZA GEORGE

Amrita TV’s ‘Classic Kathakal,’ featuring classic Malayalam literature, starts with Parappuram’s ‘Ara Naazhika Neram.’

The story also provides an insight into the lives of the family members, who struggle with social mores and desire.

At a time when reality shows and tear-jerker serials rule the roost, Amrita TV’s attempt to bring classic Malayalam literature to the mini-screen comes as a welcome break.

Featuring evergreen literary classics, ‘Classic Kathakal’ has dramatised these old-is-gold tales into a serial format for the tube. Well-known actors in the skins of various characters and directors of repute promise to recreate the magic of the novels on screen.

Starting the line-up of classics on a promising note is Parappuram’s ‘Ara Naazhika Neram.’

Says Shiva Mohan Thampi, director of ‘Ara Naazhika Neram’: “It is a book that deals with psychology. It revolves around the patriarch Kunchenachan.”

A renowned book in its time ‘Ara Naazhika Neram’ was transformed on to the big screen with the same name in the ‘70’s, starring Kottarakara Sreedharan Nair, Ragini, Sathyan and Prem Nazir to name a few.

With a riveting storyline and memorable songs tuned by G. Devarajan such as ‘Chippi Chippi,’ ‘Samayamam Radhathil’ and ‘Swarangale Sapthaswarangale,’ the movie, however, deviated from the original text by showing the daughter-in-law Beenamma committing suicide when she finds out that Kunchenachan has discovered her secret.

“I haven’t seen the movie, so I wouldn’t know how the book was picturised on the big screen. Kiran Prabhakar, script writer, and I have tried as far as possible to stick close to the text. Lots of study went into it as we found our own interpretations to the story.”

Complex character

According to Thampi, bringing Kunchenachan to paper was a tough act. “He is a complex character. We had to delve deep into his psyche. Murali, who plays Kunchenachan, has done a fine job. He too put in a lot of homework into the character.”

Caught in a time warp

The televised series is set in the 1960’s. It shows Kunchenachan living in his own world, “as if caught in a time warp.”

Says Thampi: “His thoughts are anchored in the past. Also, Kunchenachan, broke the seventh commandment – ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’ in his youth.”

Murali is shown in a double role in this series – as Kunchenachan and as his conscience. “Kunchenachan is often seen fighting with his conscience.” The story also provides an insight into the lives of the family members, who struggle with social mores and desire.

The serial has been shot in and around Karunagapally. Close attention to costume and properties has been given to lend the script authenticity.

“We have depicted a typical traditional Jacobite family on screen.”

Says Parappuram’s son, Sam Parappuram, who gave insights into his father’s work during the shoot of ‘Ara Naazhika Neram’: “It will also instil an interest in the readers to revisit the classic and perhaps encourage young readers to explore the story.”

The story will be televised in a novel way. Says Shyam Prasad, president, programme, Amrita TV: “Each story will be condensed into 40 to 45 episodes. We do not want to drag a story endlessly. That way the viewers too will not be bored.”

Asked if it is a step to move back from reality shows that are now a dime a dozen on channels and Shyam Prasad says: “Not at all. We wanted to offer the discerning viewers something new; a change from the often mindless soaps offered by channels.”

Apart from Parappuram’s work, evergreen works by Vaikom Mohammed Basheer, Padmarajan and M.T Vasudevan will be aired.

Produced by Amrita TV, ‘Classic Kathakal’ will be on air starting July 7.

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