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Sandesham – A Message for all times!

Runtime2h 18m

Election time is nearing and the evergreen Malayalam movie “Sandesham” would come across as a meme, a metaphor or a moral to most Malayalees.

Sandesham means “Message” – What an apt title! 29 years have passed by since the release of this gem and it has a message even to tell this day!

Sandesham was released during the Golden era where the story and screenplay were the real superstars. Sandesham was written and directed by the fantastic duo Sreenivasan and Sathyan Anthikad respectively. It would be unfair to categorize Sandesham merely as a Political satire film, but it works brilliantly as a family drama as well.

Included in IBN Live’s list of “100 Greatest Indian Films of All Time”

Sandesham explores Dogmatism, Senseless intellectualism, Hypocrisy, Double standards from a Political perspective. It also discusses some harsh realities from a families’ perspective.

Sandesham deals with these themes in a sarcastic comedy tone. Let’s explore.

Sandesham – The Political

Sandesham critiques the political ideologies and exposes them. The brothers, Sreenivasan and Jayaram are the Political elements belonging to rival parties RDP and INSP respectively. The Poland scene, claim of a dead body, the ‘Yaswant Sahayi’ arrival, discussion after the election loss and many more form the highlights of this segment.

Sreenivasan is Prabhakaran Kottapalli known as “Kottapalli”, the so-called intellectual who follows the footsteps of Kumara Pillai (Sankaradi) the Ideologist leader. From the clueless party members, Uthaman (Bobby Kottarakkara) poses genuine questions every now and then only to get strictly warned!

Jayaram is Prakashan Kottappalli known as “KRP”. He believes the title “KRP” gives him weightage as many famous people are known by similar titles. Like Kottapalli, he is eyeing the throne of his Party leader KG Pothuval (Mamukoya). Yaswant Sahayi (Innocent) as a North Indian Leader of INSP also does his bit. The contrasting ideologies of the parties, the rift and the mannerisms are all depicted brilliantly.

Sandesham – The Non-Political

Sandesham shows the impact of the Political elements on the Non-Political side.

The Unfortunate Family – Raghavan Nair (Thilakan) comes to his home for a peaceful retired life with his family comprising of his wife Bhanumathi (Kaviyoor Ponnamma) and three sons and two daughters. Raghavan Nair initially thinks his sons are intelligent and are on the path to become greats. But reality strikes him and his family hard with the two sons going at each other over their political differences affecting the family. Bhanumathi and the younger daughter Lathika (Maathu) are mere spectators who have to bear with the situation. As a result, the youngest son takes advantage of the situation. He follows his brothers’ way and sees laziness and irresponsibility as the way to go.

The Mediator– Achutan Nair (Oduvil Unnikrishnan) is a neighbor and a long-time friend of Raghavan Nair. He genuinely loves their family and treats the kids there as his own. He tries to support them whichever way he can. But he too is helpless most of the times.

The Scapegoats – Anandan (Mala Aravindan) is a Policeman, married to Latha (KPAC Lalitha), the eldest daughter of Raghavan Nair. He is always with the winning party just for the sake of survival and gets punishment transfer all the time when the opposing party comes to power. Udhayabhanu known as “Mannu Udhayabhanu” (Siddique) is a straightforward agricultural officer who loves his job and does it sincerely. He also feels the heat from the political segments when he doesn’t agree with them.

Sandesham makes you laugh and think at the same time

Sandesham establishes its core with a fascinating scene focussing on the face of the father Raghavan Nair, when the sons are arguing about foreign nations. He seems so proud about the knowledge of their sons and the heights they are going to reach only to realise later, that they were just mindless blabber. Sandesham also shows the parents blind love for their children and their repercussions.


Sandesham is rich with a masterful narrative made special by some legends. I have seriously lost count as to how many times I have seen this movie. This movie is a regular nowadays on TV channels. Sandesham is one of the most rewatchable movies ever for me.

Sandesham is a Timeless classic! The writing by Sreenivasan is so effective that most of these dialogues are used by us in our day to day light moments.

Rarely does a movie make you laugh out loud and think at the same time – Sandesham does that effortlessly!

Sandesham is available on YouTube. Enjoy!

Have you read my review on Classic Malayalam Movie? Read here

Image Source: IMDB
Image and Video Credits: YouTube

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