Movie Reviews,  Reviews

My Favorite Directors

Padmarajan – The legend, who was way ahead of his time!

Language: Malayalam

I have to admit, that I could not digest Padmarajan’s works during my Teenage days where I was more into cheesy action/horror movies. Once I started expanding my movie horizons, I realized the true genius of this legend. Padmarajan (Pappettan, as he is affectionately called) is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time.

His works were unique, with fine and detailed writing, which was brilliantly presented via movies with his trademark expressive style. He was a free-spirited individual who was never shy in exploring themes which were considered taboo during the time.

Padmarajan was a film-maker who was way ahead of his time. He had this great ability to strike the perfect balance between intellectual and commercial cinema. His works were natural and realistic, with ‘next door’ men and women portraying pivotal characters. His scripts and screenplays are among the best ever in Malayalam cinema.

Attention to detail, great character development, amazing onscreen chemistry between actors, wonderful landscapes, poetic narrations, perfectly synched background scores, haunting climaxes are some of the main traits of his movies. He was able to bring the best out of many actors and gave the industry many good talents like Jayaram, Ashokan, Shaari, Rahman etc.

The intensity which he was able to bring on screen for me is unparalleled. The way he handled human nature, relationships, romance, suspense etc. are something to behold. Over the years, his works have achieved cult status.

It’s extremely hard to pick the best movies of Padmarajan as all his creations were splendid. Listed below are my favorite Padmarajan movies:

1) Thoovanathumbikal (Dragonflies in the Spraying Rain)

A person with dual identity – A simpleton in his hometown and a playboy in city. What happens when two girls come into his life? The beauty of rain is brilliantly picturised in this. This is one of my all-time favorite movies and everything about this movie is top-notch! You don’t see a Mohanlal, Sumalatha or Babu Namboothiri – rather you see Jayakrishnan, Clara, Thangal (their respective characters) – Exceptional performances! The movie explores morality, self-realization etc.  I still have this movie’s BGM as my mobile ringtone 😛

2) Moonnampakkam (The Third Day)

This movie explores Love and Death. It’s about the incredible bond between a grandfather and his grandson, and what fate has in store for them. It’s a simple story told in a fascinating way. The performances, especially from Thilakan and Jagathy were simply magical! The song ‘Unarumee gaanam’ is so haunting and powerful.

3) Namukku Parkkan Munthirithoppukal (Vineyards for us to dwell in)

One of my favorite love stories. This movie has one of the best proposal scenes I’ve ever seen – Simple, Innocent & Pure! (aided by an excellent background score, camera angles and natural acting – which are specialities of Padmarajan movies) Special mention to the step-father role done by Thilakan.

4) Arappatta Kettiya Gramathil (In the Village which wears a Warrior’s belt)

Three friends visit a brothel and the events that unfold is what the movie deals with. This was a unique subject which would have created a truck load of controversies today. It had limited characters, mostly relying on a single location with a slow-burn atmospheric tension. Sukumari as ‘Maluamma’ was brilliant!

5) Aparan (The Impostor)

This movie deals with the problems faced by an innocent young because of a mistaken identity. Jayaram made his debut through this film and gave a fine performance. It’s full of suspense as the protagonist is constantly troubled and in search of his look-alike.

6) Innale (Yesterday)

Innale is a psychological romantic drama centered around a girl who develops amnesia after an accident. Shobana who plays the main protagonist perfectly showcases her helplessness, optimism, love etc. The standout performance for me though was Suresh Gopi. He only had an extended cameo, but gave a fantastic performance and was instrumental in making one of the most haunting climax’s I’ve ever experienced in movies.

7) Season

Season was a very under-rated movie of Padmarajan. The script and narrative style were way ahead of its time. It’s a revenge thriller told from the perspective of the protagonist – Mohanlal’s character. The movie is set in the backdrop of smuggling business in and around the beautiful Kovalam beach. Gavin as ‘Fabien’ is a perfect foe to the lead character.

8) Kariyilakkattu Pole (Like a zephyr of dry leaves)

A famous filmmaker is murdered and the investigation that follows forms the premise of this movie. Two legends in form of Mammotty and Mohanlal starred in this, but their stardom was kept aside, and as usual with Padmarajan movies, the script and screenplay took over. A classic mystery thriller.

9) Deshadanakkili Karayarilla (Migratory birds don’t cry)

Perhaps one of the first Indian movies to explore the theme of Womance. It’s a coming of age drama about two teenage runaways. A very sensitive movie especially for its time period. Shari as ‘Sally’ gave a terrific performance.

10) Thinkalazcha nalla divasam (Monday, an Auspicious Day)

This movie explores the cultural shift from Joint to Nuclear families. Two sons along with their families’ get-together at their ancestral home to celebrate their mother’s 60th birthday, and the events that unfold when the younger son discloses his plan to sell-off the house and suggests to put the mother in an old-age home. All the actors did their job very well especially Kaviyoor Ponnamma and Karamana Janardhanan Nair.

Each of these movies deserve a detailed review. Those memorable characters, scenarios, nature, mystery, the off-beat storytelling, the minute attention to detail – What a Legend! His legacy continues to inspire film-makers and viewers.

Image source: IMDB , YouTube

Love Movie Reviews?? Read my review on Wild Tales – Loose Control!!

Share with friends :


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *