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Remembering the genius of P Padmarajan

P Padmarajan   | Photo Credit: Sreejith R Kumar

Three decades have passed since auteur P Padmarajan departed the scene. In the intervening years, much has changed in Malayalam cinema. The frames peopled with ordinary men and women, the stark reality of their lives, their hopes, dreams and failures, their raw, often turbulent, emotions and the like that defined his extraordinary ouevre has all but faded from modern cinema. Yet, even today, his films hold a special place in the hearts of movie buffs for those very reasons and more. Here’s a quick look at a few of Padmarajan’s masterpieces that continue to tug at the heartstrings of viewers…

Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal

Remembering the genius of P Padmarajan

It’s pure poetry on screen as neighbours, the good-humoured Solomon and wounded soul Sophia, essayed by Mohanlal and Shari respectively, fall in love through an exchange of verses, inspired from the Biblical text, Song of Songs. What should be a straightforward story of young love set among lush vineyards, is a dark narrative, rich in imagery and allegory, that delves into various aspects of love, desire, lust, faith, absolution and, eventually, forgiveness. Solomon here is Padmarajan’s version of a Knight in shining armour, who gallops in on his steed (in this case, a lorry) to whisk Sophia away from her tortured past.

Thoovanathumbikal

25tvmp Thoovanathumbikal

25tvmp Thoovanathumbikal  

Few are the women who can even now resist the charm of Jayakrishnan (the superlative Mohanlal), the aristocratic hero with the lilting Thrissur-accent, of what is, arguably, one of Malayalam cinema’s finest romantic movies. Certainly not Clara (Sumalatha) and Radha (Parvathy), the two women that Jayakrishnan opens up his world to, the former a sex worker and the later, his fiancee. With Clara, his love is like the rain - glorious, fleeting and unbound - as picturised in the song ‘Megham Puthuthudangi’. With Radha, the playboy finally becomes the man he was always destined to be - steadfast, loyal and as soulful as the song ‘Onnam Ragam.’ Give us Jayakrishnan over any Mills & Boon hero any day!

Thinkalazhcha Nalla Divasam

A still Thinklazcha Nalla Divasam

A still Thinklazcha Nalla Divasam   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

By the mid 80s, cracks were beginning to show in the joint family system, until then the bedrock of Malayali society. Padmarajan, almost prophetically, picked up on the trend (that later became the norm) with this poignant drama about a family that gathers at their ancestral home ostensibly to celebrate the 60th birthday of the matriarch. Much to her distress, the matriarch soon realises that she has become an appendage and her sons, in search of materialistic gain, want to cut the physical ties that bind and part ways forever. Through the innocent eyes of the grandchildren, exploring the old way of life, the auteur shows us what could have been before change set in.

Moonnam Pakkam

Remembering the genius of P Padmarajan

Most of us tear up every single time we see this little gem from the filmmaker. It's the tale of a lonely old grandpa, Thampi (Thilakan), who is estranged from his late son and family. When his only grandchild, Bhasi (Jayaram), a medical graduate, comes visiting after a long gap, with his friends in tow, Thampi gets a new lease ofl ife, living vicariously through the antics of the youngsters. Tragedy, however, is only a dip in the sea away, leaving Thampi in shatters when Bhasi’s body washes up on the shore on the third day.

Innale

A still from Innale

A still from Innale   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

Padmarajan showcased how love is also about letting go in this beautiful film. Shobhana plays a young woman who suffers from amnesia after meeting with an accident. With no memory, she assumes the name Maya and slowly begins to build a fulfilling new life with Sharath (Jayaram), the son of the doctor who nurses her back to health. However, the past comes calling in the form of Narendran (Suresh Gopi) her husband. Narendran, who has been searching for her all this while, quickly realises there’s no going back from whence they came. A cinematic nod to Tennyson’s famous lines ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,’ perhaps?

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2021 12:44:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/p-padmarajan-continues-to-inspire-filmmakers-and-viewers-with-his-masterpieces-that-map-the-euphoria-of-life-and-the-heart-of-darkness-his-birth-anniversary-celebrations-will-be-held-in-the-city-today/article27235992.ece

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