Screenplays for ever

Updated - November 16, 2021 05:46 pm IST

Published - September 26, 2014 01:10 pm IST - M.T. Vasudevan Nair, J.C. Daniel

Writer M.T. Vasudevan Nair in Kochi on September 19, 2014. Photo: H. Vibhu

Writer M.T. Vasudevan Nair in Kochi on September 19, 2014. Photo: H. Vibhu

The J.C. Daniel award could not have come to someone more deserving than M.T. Vasudevan Nair; it should have earlier. After all, he is the man who revolutionised the art of scriptwriting in Malayalam cinema and proved that the screenplay is the real hero of a film.

Rewinding to some classic MT scripts that cannot be missed:


The film marked his debut as director and won the National award for the best film. An unpretentious work of art, it focusses on the life of a velichappadu (oracle), played by P.J. Antony, who won the National award for the best actor. The climax was as stunning as the director’s debut. It is one of the classics in Malayalam cinema.

Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha

It should be one of the finest scripts ever in Indian cinema. Only MT could have spun a most familiar tale from folklore (‘Vadakkan Pattu’) on its head like this. He transformed Chanthu the cheat to Chanthu the martyr, spicing it up with brilliant dialogues, lapped up fondly by full houses. Masterly direction by Hariharan and a superb cast, led by Mammootty and Madhavi, made it an unforgettable cinematic experience.


It remains the finest feminist film in Malayalam. It focuses on the smartha vicharam (ritualistic trial for adultery) of a Namboothiri widow, in whose role Mohini excelled. The script found the perfect director in Hariharan.

Aalkoottathil Thaniye

Few films in Malayalam have spoken about relations in life as eloquently. Its main focus is an old man (Balan K. Nair), whose death is anticipated by his children and other relatives, but several characters, like Ammukkutty (Seema) and Kutti Narayanan (Pappu), stay with you, long after you have left the theatre.


Guilt never found a more poignant expression on film than this Mohanlal-starrer, which was also directed by Hariharan. How a doctor tries to atone for his mistake as a student that destroyed a family was most sensitively penned by the master writer.


The best thriller of all time in Malayalam cinema. And it features no cop, nor a thief. It is a Western film set in rural Kerala. Mohanlal and director Bharathan are in great nick here.


A remarkable tale of a remarkable woman, who puts her commitment to social activism above everything else, including her own love for an adoring man. Under the direction of Hariharan, Geetha made a sensational debut in Malayalam in one of the most powerful female characters in Indian cinema ever.

Olavum Theeravum

MT’s flawless script centering on the love affair of a trader with the daughter of a sex worker was the base on which P.N. Menon made this classic, which became a trendsetter for the realistic way of making movies in Malayalam. It is rightly regarded as one of the milestones in Malayalam cinema.


A disturbingly beautiful portrayal of a man waiting for the capital punishment. Mohanlal gave one of his finest performances in the film directed by Sibi Malayil.


Never has a poignant, sweet little tale been turned into a feature film with as much finesse in Malayalam cinema. Those who have seen this K.S. Sethumadhavan film will never forget little Appu (Master Aravind), his sister who is actually more than a sister (Menak) and her husband, a role which fetched Balan K. Nair the National Award for the best actor.

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