Daaham 1965

Sheela and K. P. Ummer in a scene from the film Daaham. Photo: Special Arrangement   | Photo Credit: By Special Arrangement

Raman, an amateur playwright who was popularly known by his pen name ‘Bilahari’ wrote several social dramas in Tamil. Some of his popular stage plays were filmed in Tamil, for example Alamaram was adapted on the screen as Kasturi Tilakam and the same play was filmed in Malayalam as Almaram (1969).

A successful script writer also, he wrote the script and dialogues for the Tamil film Paaladai (1967) directed by Bhimsingh. Tamil film Aalayam (1967) based on his play Nenje Nee Vazhga won the Tamil Nadu State award and the National Award in some categories.

Probably the Malayalam film Daaham released in 1965 might be the first venture of the successful playwright in cinema.

Directed by K. S. Sethumadhavan, Daaham was not a commercial success. Some film critics consider the film one of the best directorial ventures of Sethumadhavan. A novel theme in Malayalam cinema, the social melodrama keeps the suspense till the end. Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai and B. K. Pottekkat jointly wrote the dialogues for the film based on the story written by Bilahari.

Produced by M. P. Anand and P. Rangaraj under the banner of Thirumugam Pictures, the film was shot in a short period of 21 days at Venus Studios.

A major portion of the film was based in a hospital. Music, composed by Devarajan, was a highpoint of the film.

Popular artistes like Satyan, K P Ummer, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Sheela were among those who acted in the film.

Daaham tells of the redemption of Jayarajan (Satyan), a simple man who was kind towards not just to the people around him, but to every living creature around him. He never harmed any one in word or deed.

One day Jayarajan happens to see his wife, whom he loved more than his own life, in the arms of her paramour. In a fit of fury and jealousy, Jayarajan kills his young wife and her lover. Jayarajan surrenders to the police and is imprisoned for seven years.

While in jail Jayarajan falls seriously ill and is admitted to the hospital for an operation. The other patients in the hospital keep away from the cruel convict who killed his wife and another man.

Jayarajan swears to himself that once he is released from prison he would kill the family members of his wife’s lover because of whom everyone hates him.

A school teacher Lakshmi’s (Kaviyoor Ponnamma) ,a widow, teenaged son Ravi (Master Shaji) is admitted to the same hospital where Jayarajan is admitted. Ravi is suffering from blood cancer.

Lakshmi and Ravi are very kind towards Jayarajan and they shower all their love and affection on him. Jayarajan’s surgery is successful and Ravi is also better. It is now time to bid goodbye.

While packing Ravi’s bag, Jayarajan happens to see the photo of his wife’s secret lover in it. Jayarajan comes to know from Lakshmi that it is the photo of her husband. Jayarajan is thunderstruck.

He reveals the truth to Lakshmi, that it was her husband he killed. In a fit of unbearable grief and emotional setback, Lakshmi leaves with Ravi.

After getting a hold over her emotions Lakshmi returns almost immediately to the hospital to meet Jayarajan. But Lakshmi is late, Jayarajan dies of a massive heart attack.

And here, deviating from the usual ending of such family dramas, the film’s story does not allow a new nuclear family to be formed in the end.

There is another romantic but strange sub-plot also involving a rich patient Sukumaran (K. P. Ummer) and a nurse Latha (Sheela). Admitted to the hospital for treatment for a fracture, Sukumaran takes a fancy to a beautiful nurse Lata, misunderstanding her love and care for him.

Later he comes to know that Latha is the wife of the doctor (Vijayan) who treated him and he corrects himself.

The film also had an impressive, and different, comic track. Songs written by Vayalar Rama Varma and tuned by Devarajan became hits.

The romantic duet ‘Ekantha Kamuka Nin Vazhitharayil….” (A. M. Raja, P. Suseela) was an instant hit. Other hits include ‘Kizhakku Kizhakku Kizhakkan Kaattile…. “(Renuka), ‘Vedana, Vedana…..’ (Yesudas) and ‘Padachavan Undengil….’ (C. O. Anto)

Why remembered: For the music, especially the romantic duet ‘Ekantha kamuka….’

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Printable version | Mar 1, 2021 1:49:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-columns/daaham-1965/article4491566.ece

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