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Evolution of Malayalam Cinema

Cinema came to Kerala a decade after the Lumiere brothers put up their historic show at the Grand Café in Paris. In 1906 itinerant showman Paul Vincent screened some films with his Edison Bioscope on the shores of Kozhikode. Kerala's first cinema hall with a manually operated film projector was established in 1907 in Trichur by K.W.Joseph. In 1913, electrically operated film projector was established by Jose Kattukkaran and came to be called as the "Jose Electrical Bioscope".

The rich art and cultural background of Kerala is also reflected in its films. The films Jnanambika, Yachakan, Neelakkuyil, Rarichan Enna Pouran, Nayaru Pidicha Pulival, Randidangazhi, Mudiyanaya Puthran, Bharya, Moodupadam, Bhargavi Nilayam, Oral Koodi Kallanayi, Murappennu, Odayil Ninnu, Anveshichu Kandethiyilla, Indulekha, Iruttinte Athmavu, Nagareme Nandi, Ramanan etc were based on literature of that time. The historical films of the period were Marthanda Varma, Ummini Thanka, Veluthambi Dalawa, Pazhassi Raja and Kunjali Maraikkar.

First color film kandam bach coat was released in 1961. Vibrant talents emerged in direction, music, acting and script writing and dominated the industry for next couple of decades

Vigathakumaran( 1928)
Director : J. C. Daniel
Produced by : J. C. Daniel
Banner : Travancore National Pictures
Cast : J. C. Daniel,Rosie,Johnson,Sundar Raj
Script :J. C. Daniel
Genre :Melodrama

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His pioneering effort set the cameras rolling
Vigathakumaran
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J C Daniel

Vigathakumaran (The Lost Child) is the first Malayalam feature film, also a silent film written, directed and produced by J. C. Daniel, known as the father of Malayalam cinema. Daniel wrote the script, directed and wielded the camera for the film and also played the hero in the film. The theme of the film was of social significance and was one of the early films in that genre. Most of the Indian films at that time were based on stories from the puranas.
Daniel established the first film studio in Kerala named The Travancore National Pictures near the present Public Service Commission office, Pattom, Trivandrum. The screening was inaugurated by Adv. Malloor Govinda Pillai. Since it was a silent movie, there was an announcer at the theatre who would explain the story and the situation.
After the film's failure at the box office, Daniel suffered from debts and to overcome the situation, he had to sell his equipments and close down his studio. Despite the setbacks, Daniel went on to make one more film, a documentary on martial arts, Adithadi Murai. He was completely bankrupt after the completion of this film. Almost a pauper, he left Trivandrum to seek a livelihood. Daniel spent the rest of his life as a dentist at Palayamkottai, Madurai and Karaikudi. After Daniel's death in 1975, as an afterthought or penance, The Kerala Government instituted the J. C. Daniel Award as a part of the Kerala State Film Awards, to honour lifetime achievements in Malayalam cinema.
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Marthanda Varma( 1933)    
Director : P.V.Rao
Produced by : R. Sundar Raj
Banner : Shri Rajeshwari Films
Cast : Jaidev, A.V.P. Menon, Devaki, Padmini
Script :P.V.Rao
Story : 1891 Malayalam novel by C. V. Raman Pillai
Genre : History
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Wiki
Marthandavarma Novel

The next film in Malayalam was released five years after the first film, but only to be shelved after a few exhibitions due to a legal entanglement. Marthandavarma, a historical silent film, based on the famous novel by C.V. Raman Pillai would have had a great impact on the cinema of South India if it had not met with legal confrontation.
The film was reportedly shown in 1994 Film Festival of Kerala. In 2011 this film screened "Filka" International film festival in thiruvananthapuram.
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Balan( 1938)
Director : S. Nottani
Produced by : R. Sundaram
Banner : Modern Theatres, Salem
Cast : K K Aroor, Master Madanagopal, M V Shanku, K Gopinath, Alleppey Vincent, C O N Nambiar, M K Kamalam, K N Lakshmi, Baby Malathi
Music : Ibrahim, K. K. Aroor
Script :Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai
Story : short story Vidhiyum Mrs. Nayarum by A. Sundaram
Genre : Social
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Balan
About M. K. Kamalam

The first film with sound in Malayalam and also the first film with a social theme. There were 24 songs in the film with tunes from popular Hindi and Tamil film tunes of the time. The film was a huge hit and had with splendid sets, camera by the German cinematographer Bado Gushwalker.    Add Comments

Prahlada( 1941)
Director : K. Subrahmaniam
Produced by : K. Subrahmaniam
Banner : Madras United Artists Corporation
Cast :
Lyrics : Kilimanoor Madhava Varier
Music : V. S. Parthasarathy Iyengar
Script :
Genre :Mythology
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Third sound film and first mythological film in Malayalam. The film introduced the noted dancer Guru Gopinath who along with his wife Thankamani, performed some memorable dances in the film. Guru Gopinath's disciple and relative of Travancore Dewan Sir C. P. Ramawamy Iyer, Kumari Lakshmi acted as Prahlada in the film. The film also introduced to cinema T. K. Balachandran, starred as a child star, who went on to become a leading actor and producer. Also the debut Malayalam film of music director V. S. Parthasarathy.    Add Comments

Nalla Thanka( 1950)
Director : P. V. Krishna Iyer
Produced by : Kunchacko, K. V. Koshy
Banner : Udaya Studios
Cast : Augustine Joseph, Vaikom Mani, S. P. Pillai, Miss Kumari, Miss Omana
Music : V. Dakshinamoorthy
Script :Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai
Genre : Folk Lore
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The first ‘Mega Hit' in Malayalam cinema and second film produced at the Udaya Studios is based on a popular Tamil folk tale.. Also the debut film of music director V. Dakshinamoorthy, Miss Kumari played the title role, while singer-stage actors Augustine Joseph and Vaikom Mani played the lead male roles.    Add Comments

Jeevitha Nouka( 1951)
Director : K. Vembu
Produced by : Kunchacko, K. V. Koshy
Banner : Udaya Studios
Cast : Sebastian Kunjukunju Bhagavathar, Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair, S.P.Pillai, B. S. Saroja
Music : V. Dakshinamoorthy
Script :Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai
Genre : Family Melodrama
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Jeevithanouka (The boat of life) can be considered as the first super hit of Malayalam cinema. The film narrated the story of ego clashes in a joint family and was mainly directed towards the women audience. Jeevithanouka was a huge success with a theatrical run of 284 days. Thikkurishi Sukumaran Nair, an actor from the stage, became the first superstar of Malayalam cinema after the success of the film. The film was simultaneously shot in Tamil and Telugu, and was dubbed and released in Hindi. Popular playback singer Mehboob debuted through this film.    Add Comments

Vanamala( 1951)
Director : G. Viswanath
Banner : Udaya Studios
Cast :
Lyrics : P. Kunjukrishna Menon
Music : P. S. Divakar
Script :Munshi Paramu Pillai
Story : G. Viswanath
Genre : Action
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The first Jungle movie in Malayalam, being inspired by Tarzan created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The film was a hit and remade in Hindi as Jungle King. John Cawas acted as hero in both the films. Also the debut film of Neyyattinkara Komalam, director G .Viswanath, lyricist P. Kunjukrishna Menon, singer Jikki and cameraman Arumugham.    Add Comments

Neelakkuyil( 1954)
Director : Ramu Kariat
Produced by : T. K. Pareekutty
Banner : Chandrathara Pictures
Cast : Sathyan, P. Bhaskaran, J. A .R. Anand, Miss Kumari, Prema
Lyrics : P. Bhaskaran
Music : K. Raghavan
Singers : Janamma David, K. Raghavan, Shantha P. Nair, Kozhikode Pushpa, Mehboob,Kozhikode Abdul Kader
Script :P. Bhaskaran
Story : Uroob
Genre : Melodrama
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Neelakuyil (The Blue Cuckoo) with an authentic story penned by renowned writer Uroob helped in breaking away from the Tamil – Hindi influence. The first Malayalam film shot outdoors and also the first film to be recognised in the National level, dealt with the story of untouchables prevailed in the society. The film also came up with original Malayalam tunes and had dialogues with local accent depicting the social evils such as untouchability, feudalism, and injustice towards women. The songs written by P Bhaskaran and composed by K Rghavanwhich were influenced by Malayalam folk music and became popular among the masses.

It was the debut film of Ramu Kariat and eminent artists like P. Bhaskaran, actress Prema, Master Vipin (now popular cinematographer Vipin Mohan), music director K. Raghavan and many others also worked for this film. Neelakkuyil got the first National award of Malayalam cinema, Presidents silver medal.

Neelakuyil was a musical hit following the folk traditions of the State with songs including Mappilappattu (Islamic music), koythupattu (harvest song), traditional prayer, romantic melodies. The songs are choreographed by Guru Gopalakrishnan Kodungallur. The popular songs from the film are ""Ellarum Chollanu Ellarum Chollanu"" (Janamma David), ""Kayalarikaathu Vala Erinjappol"" (K. Raghavan), ""Unarunaroo Unnikanna"" (Shantha P. Nair), ""Sarasa Sama Daana Bheda"" (based on a Tyagaraja composition in Kaapi Narayani raga), ""Kadalasu Vanchi Eri"" (Kozhikode Pushpa), ""Maanennum vilikkilla"" (Mehboob), ""Kuyiline Thedi"" (Janamma David) and ""Engane Nee Marakkum Kuyile"" (Kozhikode Abdul Kader)   Add Comments

Harishchandra( 1955)
Director : Anthony Mithradas
Produced by : P. Subramaniam
Banner : Neela Productions
Cast : Thikkurissi, G.K.Pillai, T. S. Muthiah, Miss Kumari, Adoor Pankajam
Lyrics : Thirunayinaarkurichi Madhavan Nair
Music : Br Lakshmanan
Singers : Kamukara Purushothaman, P.B.Sreenivas
Genre :Mythology
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This is the first mythological film in Malayalam that was a big box office success and inspired many films in this genre. The film was shot outdoors and had 15 songs including "Aathmavidyalame" by Kamukara Purushothaman and was the debut film of singer P.B.Sreenivas who sung the hit song "Mahal thyagame mahithame...". The stars Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair as Harishchandra, Miss Kumari as Chandramathi, Master Hari as Lohithaksha, G. K. Pillai as Vishvamitran, Jose Prakash as Sathyakeerthi (Minister), T. S. Muthiah as Shukran (Vishvamitra's helper), S. P. Pillai as Kalakantan and Adoor Pankajam as Kalakanta's wife performed their roles well    Add Comments

News Paper Boy( 1955)
Director : P. Ramdas
Produced by : P. Ramdas
Banner : Adarsh Kalamandir
Cast : Neyyattinkara Komalam, Adoor Pankajam, Omana Madhavan, P. Gangadharan, S. Parameswaran, P. Ramdas, N. Subramanian, Master Mani and Master Venkiteswaran
Music : Vijayan
Singers : Kamukara Pusushothaman,Shantha.P.Nair
Script :Nagavally R S Kurup
Story : P. Ramdas
Genre :Neo Realistic

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The Book Newspaper Boy by P Ramadas
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Newspaper Boy was the first neo-realistic film in India and was a result of extreme hard work by a group of college students under the banner of Adarsh Kalamandir. The film was directed by P Ramadas, who was totally new to cinema and almost all technical works were handled by amateur students. This film was distributed some months before Satyajith Ray's Pather Panchali came out. The film was screened in New Delhi on the special request of the Government of India for various Central Government institutions. However the film was a box office failure.    Add More Information about this film

Nayaru Pidicha Pulival( 1958)
Director : P. Bhaskaran
Produced by : T. E. Vasudevan
Cast : Sathyan,Ragini,G. K. Pillai
Lyrics : P. Bhaskaran
Music : K. Raghavan
Script :P. Bhaskaran
Story : story Business by Uroob
Genre :Melodrama
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Chandran ( Sathyan ) is a circus performer and Thankam ( Ragini ), a beautiful 17 year old girl, is his childhood sweetheart. Thankam's mother does not support them. Meanwhile the circus shifts to another village and Thankam's father Paithal Nair ( T. S. Muthayya ) is in financial stress and had to agree to the marriage of his daughter with Gopi, a well known bully from the town. Watch the film to know what happens to Chandran and Thankam's romance and how does Paithal Nair overcome his financial problems? The film received a certicifcate of merit at the National Film Awards.    Add Comments

Randidangazhi( 1958)
Director : P. Subramaniam
Produced by : P. Subramaniam
Cast : Miss Kumari, P. J. Antony, T. S. Muthiah, Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair, Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair, S. P. Pillai, Bahadoor, Adoor Pankajam, Soman and J. A. R. Anand
Lyrics : Thirunayinaarkurichi Madhavan Nair
Music : Br Lakshmanan
Script :Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai
Story : Novel of same title by Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai
Genre :Political
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The first film which projected the evils of the feudal system that prevailed in the State, especially in areas like Kuttanad. The actor P. J. Antony made his debut in this film. It received a certificate of merit at the National Film Awards. The dialogues penned by Thakazhi is one of the attractions of the film. Stage actress KPAC Sulochana made her playback debut in this film. One of her duets, with Kamukara Purushothaman, "Thumbappoo peyyana poonilave...: and solo, "Poomazha peythallo..." became hit that time. The film had nine songs.    Add Comments

Mudiyanaya Puthran( 1961)
Director : Ramu Kariat
Produced by : T. K. Pareekutty
Banner : Chandratara Productions'
Cast : Sathyan, Ambika, Kottayam Chellappan, P. J. Antony, Miss Kumari and Adoor Bhasi
Lyrics : P. Bhaskaran
Music : M S Baburaj
Script :Thoppil Bhasi
Genre :Social
Read more at The Hindu Metro Plus and Film review

The film Mudiyanaya Puthran (The Prodigal Son) is a convincing melodrama about the irresponsibility of a self-centered young man who deliberately sinks into anti-social behaviour before being reconciled with life by the love of a young untouchable girl and by the warmth of a group of workers. The story of the film was based on a play by Thoppil Bhasi and showcased various socially relevant issues like caste system, untouchability, labor problems and their rights. The story is about Rajan (Sathyan), a good for nothing and feared by every one, village ruffian and his brother Gopala Pillai (Kottayam Chellappan) a seemingly respectable and responsible one. The story tells us how Rajan transforms in the midst of some genuine love and support given by Chellamma (miss Kumari) and Vasu (P J Antony). In the end Rajan turns out to be the savior and in every sense of the word a bigger man than his brother Gopala Pillai (Kottayam Chellappan). The film won the President's Silver Medal and award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam. Also the debut film of Adoor Bhasi and art director S. Konnanat.    Add Comments

Ummini Thanka( 1961)
Director : G.Viswanathan
Produced by : P.K.Sathyapal
Cast : Padmini, Ragini, Aranmula Ponnamma,Sukumari, kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair, G.K.Pillai,Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai,S.P..Pillai, Kedamangalam Sadanandan etc.
Lyrics : P .Bhaskaran, Kedamangalam, Abhayadev
Music : V.Dakshinamurthy
Singers : P.Leela, M.L.Vasanthakumari, S.Janaki, Punitha
Script :Jagathy N.K.Achari
Genre :History
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   TRAGIC STORY OF A RAJPUT PRINCESS
   Thampi and Nair sub castes in Travancore
   Devadasi or Rajput princess

The second Historical movie in Malayalam. The first one was the silent movie Marthanda Varma( 1933)    Add Comments

Bharya( 1962)
Director : Kunchacko
Cast : Satyan, Ragini, Kottayam Chellappan, S.P.Pillai, Manavalan Joseph, Nellikkodu Bhaskaran, Bahadoor, Adoor Pankajam
Lyrics : Vayalar Ramavarma
Music : G. Devarajan
Singers : P Susheela, A M Rajah, Jikki, K J Yesudas, P Leela
Script :Ponkunnam Varkey
Story : Kanam EJ
Genre :Social Melodrama

Based on a novel by Kanam of the same title. The dialogues written by Ponkunnam Varkey became a cult favourite among family audiences and was subsequently released along with the soundtrack album. This was for the first time in Kerala and second time in South India that the dialogues were released as a separate gramaphone record. The song ""Periyare Periyare"" is considered as one of the evergreen hit song in malayalam.    Add Comments

Kannum Karalum( 1962)
Director : K. S. Sethumadhavan
Produced by : A. K. Balasubramaniam
Banner : Saravana Pictures
Cast : Sathyan, Ambika, Sukumari, Kamal Haasan, and Vinodini
Lyrics : Vayalar Ramavarma
Music : M. B. Sreenivasan
Genre :
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The first Malayalam film of Kamal Haasan ( played Sathyan's son ). Kamal Haasan was 7 years old when the movie was released.   Add Comments

Laila Majnu( 1962)
Director : P.Bhaskaran
Produced by : B.N.Konda Reddy
Banner : Kerala Pictures
Cast : Prem Nazir, Satyan, Thikkurissi, T. S. Muthiah, Adoor Bhasi, L. Vijayalakshmi, Chandni, Kodungalloor Ammini Amma
Lyrics : P.Bhaskaran
Music : M S Baburaj
Singers : Udayabhanu, Mehboob, K.S. George, P Leela
Script :Jagathy N.K.Achary
Genre :Romance
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The most popular love story from the classic Sufi legend was filmed extensively in Hindi and other South Indian languages and had inspired Konda Reddy to go for a version in Malayalam. P.Bhaskaran directed the film and was also the co-producer. This was the first Malayalam film to be shot in the deserts of Rajasthan.
The lyrics authored by P.Bhaskaran, considered as some of his best, and the compositions of the talented music director M.S. Baburaj is one of the main attractions of the film. Egyptian dancer Laila appeared in one of the songs.
The film was tremendous success at the box office. Art direction by the renowned artist P.N.Menon and choreography by C.Gopalakrishnan was impressive. Prem Nazir and Vijayalakshmi handled the lead roles. Thikkurissi, Chandni, Kottarakkara, Adoor Bhasi, Bahadur, all performed their roles quite appreciably. T.S.Muthiah's performance as the father of the hero is considered as his best. There were hilarious comic scenes involving Adoor Bhasi, Bahadur etc.
The songs "Koottinilamkili Kunjaattakkili ...." (A.P. Komalam, P. Leela), "Thaarame Thaarame Ninnude Naatttilum...." (Udayabhanu), "Chudu Kanneeralen Jeevitha katha...." (Udayabhanu) were hits of the time and still remain favourites among the old film songs.    Add Comments

Veluthambi Dalawa( 1962)
Director : G. Viswanath
Produced by : P. K. Sathyapal
Banner : Oriental Movies
Cast : Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair,PK Sathyapal,NN Pillai,RN Nambiar,Kedamangalam Sadanandan,Panjabi,Ragini,Ambika (Old),TR Omana
Lyrics : Abhayadev
Music : V. Dakshinamoorthy
Singers : AP Komala,K Rani,KJ Yesudas,KP Udayabhanu,P Leela,Santha P Nair,TS Kumaresh
Script :Jagathy N. K. Achary
Genre :History

Read More at ENotes     &   Wiki Veluthambi Dalawa is a 1962 Malayalam historical film based on the life of Velu Thampi Dalawa. The film is based on the life of Velu Thampi Dalawa portrayed by Kottarakkara   Add Comments

Chilamboli( 1963)
Director : G K Ramu
Produced by : Kalyanakrishna Iyer
Banner : Vrindavan Pictures
Cast : Prem Nazir, Thikkurissi, Muthiah, Adoor Bhasi, S .P. Pillai, Bahadur, Ragini, Ambika, Sukumari, Adoor Pankajam
Lyrics : Abhayadev
Music : V. Dakshinamoorthy
Singers : P. Leela, Kamukara
Script :Thikkurissi
Genre :Mythology
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Chilamboli (sound of the anklets) is an adaptation of the legend of Bilwamangal, Sanskrit poet and an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna and revolves around Guruvayoor temple and surroundings. The film narrates some of the episodes connected with the Guruvayoor temple. According to the legend prevalent in Kerala, the life of Vilwamangalam is closely associated with major temples, like the Guruvayoor temple, Poornathrayeesa temple, Tripunithura and the Chottanikkara temple.
It was later dubbed in Tamil under the title "Bilwamangal". Prem Nazir and Ragini excelled in their roles as Vilwamangalam and Chintamani.
Other casts are Ambika as Vilwamangalam's wife Sumangala, Adoor Pankajam as Chintamani'a mother, Thikkurissi as Visweswaran and T. S. Muthiah as Vilwamangalam's father. There are also comic scenes by S. P. Pillai, Adoor Bhasi, Bahadur, and Sukumari. The dance sequences involving Ragini and Ambika, along with the choreography, were the high points of the film. The song by P. Leela , "Priya manasa nee vaa vaa..." became a super hit. A duet by Kamukara and Leela, "Poovinu Manamilla....” and the solos by Kamukara, "Odi vaavaa odi vaavaa..." and "Mayamayanude Leela..." also became extremely popular.    Add Comments

Kuttikuppayam( 1964)
Stills from the film
Director : M Krishnan Nair
Produced by : T E Vasudevan
Banner : JayaMaruthi
Lyrics : P Bhaskaran
Singers : P B Srinivasan, Udayabhanu, P Leela, L R Easwari, A P Komala Cast : Premnazeer, Madhu, Adoor Bhasi, Murali Sr., Nilambur Ayisha, Sheela, Philomina, Santha Devi, Ambika
Music : M S Baburaj
Story : Moythu Padiyath
Genre :Social

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Moodupadam( 1963)
Director : Ramu Kariat
Produced by : T. K. Pareekutty
Banner : Chandrathara
Cast : Sathyan,Nellikkodu Bhaskaran,Premji,K. Balakrishna Menon,Madhu,Adoor Bhasi,Velayudhan Nair,Kuthiravattom Pappu,Kunjava
Lyrics : P. Bhaskaran, Yusuf Ali Kecheri
Music : M S Baburaj
Singers : P. Leela, Shantha P.Nair, S. Janaki, Mehboob, K. J. Yesudas, Baburaj
Script :K. T. Muhammed
Story : S. K. Pottekkatt
Genre :Social

Moodupadam is a social film about the relationship between three major religious faiths in Kerala, Hindu, Muslim and Christian, a film that looks at Hindu-Christian and Hindu-Muslim relations. The film realizes that marital relations between the former seem possible but sadly not between the latter as ultimately the Hindu boy, Appu, gets his sister married to a Chritian boy but has to arrage the marriage of his beloved, Ameena, to a Muslim soldier. Sathyan and Ambika play the lead roles. The film was Scripted by K. T. Muhammed based on S. K. Pottekkatt's novel of the same name.    Add Comments

Bhargavi Nilayam( 1964)
Director : A. Vincent
Produced by : T. K. Pareekutty
Cast : Prem Nazir,Madhu,Vijaya Nirmala,P. J. Antony,Adoor Bhasi,Kuthiravattam Pappu,Kottayam Santha
Lyrics : P. Bhaskaran, Yusuf Ali Kecheri
Music : M S Baburaj
Script :
Story : shot story Neela Velicham by Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
Genre :horror / romance

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Songs and dances
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Bhargavi Nilayam ( English: The Ghost House ) written by Vaikom Muhammad Basheer and directed by A. Vincent was the first horror film in Malayalam and was one of the biggest hit films of all time. The film is especially noted for its camera works by P. Bhaskar Rao and music by M. S. Baburaj and directorial debut of noted cinematographer A. Vincent. Bhargavi Nilayam is the only movie for which Vaikom Muhammad Basheer has written the screen play. The film had a successful and acclaimed soundtrack composed by M. S. Baburaj which is regarded as the noted composer's master piece, and consists of seven songs, mostly based on Hindustani.
All the seven songs by P.Bhaskaran and Baburaj are popular even today. The soundtrack received immense critical praise for the high quality instrumentation and was one of the biggest audio hits of all time. The songs of the film are "Ekanthathayude" by Kamukara Purushothaman, "Anuraga" by S. Janaki, "Arabikkadaloru" by P. Susheela & K. J. Yesudas, "Pottatha" by S. Janaki, "Pottithakarnna" by S. Janaki, "Thamasamenthe Varuvan" by K. J. Yesudas and "Vasantha Panchami" by S. Janaki    Add Comments

Pazhassi Raja( 1964)
Director : Kunchako
Produced by : Kunchako
Banner : XL Productions
Cast : Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair, Satyan, Prem Nazir, Satyapal, S.P.Pillai, Gracy , Pankajavalli
Lyrics : Vayalar Ramavarma
Music : R. K. Shekhar, father of A. R. Rahman
Script :Thikkodiyan
Genre :History.      Read More    1    2    3    4

Pazhassi Raja is the second historical film in Malayalam, the first one was Veluthamby Dalava (1962) by the same director. Kottarakkara excelled in the role of the Raja. His commanding voice was a huge plus. Satyapal as Wellesley and Satyan as Baber also did justice to their villainous roles    Add Comments

Kavyamela( 1965)
Director : M. Krishnan Nair
Produced by : T. E. Vasudevan
Banner : Jayamaruthi Productions
Cast : Prem Nazir, G. K. Pillai, Nellikkodu Bhaskaran, Adoor Bhasi, S. P. Pillai, Sheela, Nilambur Ayisha
Music : V. Dakshinamoorthy
Script :S. L. Puram Sadanandan
Genre :Music
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The film is best known for the performance by Prem Nazir and songs by Dakshinamoorthy & Vayalar team. It won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam. The film is an official remake of a Kannada film by Velan. The storyline is similar to Guru Dutt's Pyaasa (1957, Hindi), which itself was inspired by Kishore Sahu's Raja (1943, Hindi). T. E. Vasudevan bought the rights of the film from Velan. The film had Prem Nazir in the lead role of a tragic lover, and is considered one of his best performances. The dialogues by S. L. Puram Sadanandan were one of the highlights of the film.
The Malayalam version was commercially successful. The film was remade into Tamil by name Devi (1968), which however failed in the box office. Most of the songs were raga-based. "Devi Sreedevi thedi varunnu…" based on Valachi, the Yesudas-Leela duet "Swapnangal, swapnangale ningal … " based on Sahana, "Janani jagajanani…" (Yesudas) based on Bilahari raga is popular even now. The song "Ishwarane thedi thedi…," by Playback singer Uthaman, "Swarganandini…" (Yesudas), "Theertha yathra ithu…." (Yesudas- Leela) made this film a virtual musical treat   Add Comments

Murappennu( 1965)
Director : A. Vincent
Produced by : Shobhana Parameswaran Nair
Banner : Roopavani
Cast : Prem Nazir, P. J. Antony, K. P. Ummer, Madhu, Adoor Bhasi, Sharada, Jyothilakshmi
Lyrics : P.Bhaskaran
Music : B. A. Chidambaranath
Singers : K. J. Yesudas, S. Janaki, Santha P. Nair
Script : M T Vasudesvan Nair based on his own short story "Snehathinte Mukhangal"
Genre :Family
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Murappennu is one of the best Malayalam movies of the 1960s and first film in Malayalam to use a peculiar dialect ( Valluvanadan slang ) throughout. The film itself is a relentless melodrama which very realistically portrayed the decline of the traditional Hindu joint family and feudal system in Kerala. The audience identified with the story and the characters of the film with people they saw around them in their neighbourhood.

The film revolves around a joint family headed by Kunjikrishna Menon (P. J. Antony). His sister Madhavi Amma (Shanta Devi) and her children, Balan (Prem Nazir), Aniyan (K. P. Ummer) and Kochammini (Jyothilakshmi) stay with him. The story revolves around the love affairs of Balan with Menon’s daughter Bhagi (Sharada) and Menon’s son Kesavankutty (Madhu) with Kochammini. Menon wants his daughter to marry Aniyan and Balan sacrifices his love for the sake of his brother and to keep the family intact. But the family is divided following a dispute between Menon and his brother (Kunhandi). Kesavankutty betrays Kochammini. Balan decides to conduct Kochammini’s marriage with his friend Chandran (Murali). He struggles to mobilise the huge dowry claimed by Chandran’s parents. But the marriage does not take place due to a misunderstanding that springs up.

The film bagged the National Certificate of Merit from the President of India from among regional films in 1965. The film was a major box office hit. The duet by Shanta P. Nair and S. Janaki, "Kadavathu thoni aduthappol..." , K. J. Yesudas hit "Karayunno puzha chirikkunno..." and S. Janaki solo "Kaliyaakki enne kaliyaakki..." were the other popular hits from this film.    Add Comments

Odayil Ninnu( 1965)
Stills from the film
Director : K. S. Sethumadhavan
Produced by : P. Ramaswami
Banner : Thirumeni Release
Cast : Sathyan, K. R. Vijaya, Prem Nazir, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Adoor Bhasi, Adoor Pankajam, S. P. Pillai, Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair, Kalaikkal Kumaran, Cheriya Udeswaram, Kottayam Chellappan
Music : Devarajan
Script :
Story : P. Kesavadev
Genre :Social
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Odayil Ninnu ( translated as From the Gutter ) was based on the novel of the same name written by P. Kesavadev. The film deals with the life and struggles of a rickshaw puller. The novel by P. Kesavadev shares some similarity with 1862 French novel Les Miserables by Victor Hugo that focuses on the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his experience of redemption.
The stars of the film are are Sathyan as Pappu, K. R. Vijaya as Lakshmi, Prem Nazir as Gopi, Master Dasarath as Young Pappu and Baby Padmini as Young Lakshmi. Suresh Gopi, who was only six years old, appeared as the feudal lord's timid son. The film was a commercial success and also received critical acclaim for its raw energy and Sathyan's performance in the lead role. The film also received a certificate of merit at the National Film Awards. It was remade in Tamil as Babu (1971) with Sivaji Ganesan playing the lead role.    Add Comments

Karuna ( 1966 )
Director : K. Thankappan
Produced by : K. Thankappan
Cast : Adoor Bhasi, Thikkurisi Sukumaran Nair, Sharada
Lyrics : O.N.V. Kurup
Music : G. Devarajan
Singers : KJ Yesudas, P susheela, S Janaki, Kamukara
Script : Vaikom Chandrasekharan Nair
Story : Kumaranasan
Genre : Folk Lore

The film, produced and directed by noted Choreographer K. Thankappan, is based on Kumaran Asan's epic poem Karuna. Karuna tells the story of triumph of religious asceticism over worldly pleasures, desire and lust. The emotional and philosophical apect of the epic has been presented very well. A few excerpts from the epic and the songs carried the philosophy propagated by the poet. KP Ummer excelled in the role of Buddhist monk and role of Vasavadatta was performed by Devika. Vijayarani had the role of Vasavadatta's servant maid and Thikkurussi acted as wealthy merchant. Madhu played the role of chief of artisans. The songs based on classican ragas became hits and is remembered years after its release. The songs "Enthinee Chilankakal Enthinee kaivalakal" in kedar raga and "Samayamaayilla Polum Samayamaayilla Polum" in Bheemplaas raga sung by by P Susheela carried the emotions of Kumaran Asan's poetry.    Add Comments

Anarkali( 1966)
Director : Kunchako
Produced by : Kunchako
Banner : X L Productions
Cast : Prem Nazir as Prince Salim, K. R. Vijaya as Anarkali, Sathyan as Akbar, Thikkurissy as Man Singh, Ambika as Jodhabai, Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair, Gracy, Adoor Bhasi, S. P. Pillai, Alummoodan, Philomina, Manavalan Joseph, K. J. Yesudas as Tansen, L. P. R. Varma
Lyrics : Vayalar Ramavarma
Music : M S Baburaj
Script :Vaikom Chandrasekharan Nair
Genre :History, Romance
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The 16th century Mughal romance of Prince Salim and his love for the slave girl Anarkali was staged as musical operas in 1930s and 1940s in Kerala. Kairali Nadana Kala Samithi staged the musical opera Anarkali or "Ashrukudeeram" authored by Swami Brahmavrathan and acting by legendary stage artistes like Sebastian Kunju Kunju Bhagavathar, Vaikom Vasudesvan Nair, Oachira Velukkutty etc. "Bashpa Mandapam" authored by K. K. Velayudhan Pillai was another successful stage version of the love story. The stage versions of the love story became so popular that the names of the characters were suffixed to their original names like "Akbar Shankara Pillai", "Anarkali Vasudev" etc.
The mega budget Hindi film produced and directed by K. Asif "Mughal E Azam" (1960), is considered as the best film version of this immortal love story. The Malayalam version was a direct adaptation of the 1953 Hindi film of the same name. Most of the songs became instant hits and had an Hindustani flavour.. The romantic duet "Nadikalil sundari Yamuna..." (Yesudas- B. Vasantha) and the haunting solo "Ezhu chirakulla theru...." (P. Susheela), the classical-based number "Sapta swara sudha sagarame..." (P. B. Sreenivas-M. Balamuralikrishna), "Maadhalappoove maadhalappoove..." (Susheela), "Chakravarthikumara nin premasamrajyam...." (L. R. Easwari), "Pranayaganam paaduvaanai..." (Susheela) were the hits from the film.    Add Comments

Anveshichu Kandethiyilla( 1968)
Director : P. Bhaskaran
Produced by : Ravi
Cast : Sathyan,K. R. Vijaya,Madhu,Adoor Bhasi,Vijaya Nirmala,Kaviyoor Ponnamma,P. J. Antony,T. S. Muthaiah
Music : M S Baburaj
Script :
Story : Parappurath
Genre :

"The film (English: Searched in Vain or I Searched But Did Not Find) is based on a novel by ""Parapurathu"" about the story of a woman fighting against all odds to make a life of her own. It was a passionate story that raised troubling questions about the role of women in our society. It recounts the quest for happiness by a nurse with the best of intentions but who is disillusioned.
It won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam.    Add Comments

Indulekha( 1968)
Director : Kalanilayam Krishna Kumar
Cast :
Lyrics : Pappanamkode Lakshmanan
Music : V Dakshina Moorthy
Singers : Kamukara Purushothaman, P Leela
Script :
Story : Oyyarathu Chandu Menon
Genre :Social
Read More        Indulekha       Oyyarathu Chandu Menon   Add Comments

Iruttinte Athmavu( 1968)
Director : P. Bhaskaran
Produced by : P. I. Muhammed Kasim
Banner : Bharath Pictures
Cast : Prem Nazir, Sharada, Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair, P. J. Antony, Ushakumari, Kozhikode Shantha Devi, Baby Rajani
Music : M S Baburaj
Script :M. T. Vasudevan Nair
Story : M. T. Vasudevan Nair
Genre :Family Drama
Comments by Kozhikode Santha Devi

Iruttinte Athmavu (English: The Soul of Darkness) is about a mentally retarded youth, Bhrantan Velayudhan, born into a matriarchal family who is forced to live as a mad man in chains and who is misunderstood and ill-treated by everyone except his uncle's daughter. Prem Nazir and Sharada performed brilliantly and the script is one of the finest and well crafted by M. T. Vasudevan Nair. The low budget film has earned a dedicated cult following.
It won the National Film Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues. It missed the Best Film award only narrowly. But the film was a failure at the box office.
The star cast are Prem Nazir as Bhranthan Velayudhan, Sharada as Ammukutty, Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair as Madhavan Nair (Karanavar), P. J. Antony as Gopalan Nair, M. S. Nampoothiri as Muthachan (grandfather), T. S. Muthiah as Rajan, Balaji as Chandran, Sankaradi as Achuthan Nair (house servant), Adoor Bhasi as Guru Kunhichathu, Kaduvakulam Antony as Jyotsyan (astrologist), Baby Rajani as Unni, Ushakumari as Prema, Kozhikode Shantha Devi as Parukkutty Amma (Velayudhan's mother), Philomina as Meenakshi Amma    Add Comments

Kunjali Maraikkar( 1968)
Director : S. S. Rajan
Produced by : Pareekutty T K
Banner : Chandra Thara
Cast : Kottarakkara, Prem Nazir, Premji , S P Pillai, P J Antuny, Satyapal, Jyothilakshmi, P K Saraswwathi, Sukumari
Lyrics : P.Bhaskaran
Music : B. A. Chidambaranath
Script :K Padmanabhan Nair
Genre :History
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The Portuguese led by Vasco da Gama dominated trade in the Malabar. The Samoodiri of Kozhikode (Premji) opposed the Portuguese, but were supported by the local merchants and the Samoodiri's wicked nephew (P. J. Antony). The brave warrior and merchant, Mohammed (Kottarakkara), supported the Samoodiri in his fight against the Portuguese. The film revolved around the brilliant acting of Kottarakkara and Premji as the Samoodiri. P. K. Saraswathi played the role of the queen. Playback singer P. Jayachandran made his film debut in this film    Add Comments

Nagareme Nandi( 1968)
Director : A. Vincent
Produced by : Shobhana Parameswaran Nair
Banner : Roopavani
Cast : Prem Nazir, Madhu, K. P. Ummer, P. J. Antony, Sukumari, Usha Nandini, Jyothilakshmi, Adoor Bhasi
Lyrics : P .Bhaskaran
Music : K. Raghavan
Singers : Yesudas, S Janaki, L.R. Easwari
Story & Script : M. T. Vasudevan Nair
Genre : Family
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The film was hailed as a realistic breakthrough and can be easily considered one of the best social movies produced in Malayalam. The film represents an impressive attempt at realism that began in Malayalam cinema with ‘Neelakuyil' and which attained more attention by the mid-60s. The story is about a family that migrates from a village to the city ( Madras ) in search of a better life. the film tries to present tensions between tradition and the culture of the city. The film closely resembles the film "The Conquerors of the Golden City" (1965) directed by Getin Gurtop. The Tamil film ‘Pattina Pravesham' (1977) by K. Balachander also was based on the same theme and closely resembled these foreign films.The romantic hit "Manjani poonilavu Peraattin Kadavingal....." sung by S Janaki, and the song describing the city life "Nagaram Nagaram Mahasagaram....." (Yesudas) remains one of the best in Malayalam cinema.    Add Comments

Ramanan( 1968)
Director : D. M. Pottakkadu
Produced by : D. M. Pottekkat
Cast : Prem Nazir, Madhu, Kottayam Chellappan, Ramu Kariat, Adoor Bhasi, Sheela, Kamaladevi, Ushakumari, Meena
Music : K. Raghavan
Singers : Udayabhanu, P.Leela, Santha P. Nair, Karimbuzha Radha
Script :D. M. Pottekkat
Story : Changampuzha Krishna Pillai
Genre :Romance
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Ramanan was the screen adaptation of the poem written by Changampuzha Krishna Pillai. Released in 1936 this work is considered as the best elegy in Malayalam literature by critics. The book was a bestseller and was reprinted several times and was prescribed as a text for the various courses in Malayalam literature by Kerala university. Ramanan was popularised by Kedamangalam Sadanandan on stage in the form of a Katha Prasangam. Prem Nazir acted as Ramanan, Madhu as Madanan, Kottayam Chellappan as wealthy Advocate Peshkar and Sheela as his daughter Chandrika. Adoor Bhasi as the temple priest, Manavalan Joseph as Vallon, Karthi's father, also performed well. Music composed by K. Raghavan was excellent and based on folk tunes. The romantic duet sung by K.P. Udayabhanu and P. Leela "Kananachayayil Aadu Meikkaan Njaanum....." is considered to be one of the best in Malayalam cinema.    Add Comments

Velutha Kathreena( 1968)
Director : Sasikumar
Produced by : V. B. K. Menon
Cast : Sheela,Prem Nazir,Sathyan
Lyrics : Sreekumaran Thampy
Music : G. Devarajan
Singers : KJ Yesudas, P Jayachandran, AM Raja, P susheela, P Leela , LR Eeswari
Script :Muttathu Varkey
Story : Muttathu Varkey
Genre :

In this heroine centric film, Kathreena is an odd-woman out in her untouchable caste (Pulaya) and the film depicts the atrocities she had to endure due to her skin colour. The star cast are Sheela as Kathreena, Prem Nazir as Namboothiri, Sathyan as Chellappan, T. S. Muthayya as Thevan, Kaviyoor Ponnamma as Martha Pulayi, Adoor Bhasi as Kuriachan, Jayabharathi as Rosa, Bahadoor as Appayi, Shailasree as the dancer, T. R. Omana as Dr. Sainaba, Jose Prakash as Manoharan, Meena as Mary Amma, Padmini as Ammini, Manavalan as Krishna Panicker and Mala Shantha as Lakshmikutty Menon. There was 7 songs in the film. The song "Prabhaatham Vidarum" by KJ Yesudas, "Kaattuchembakam" by AM Raja and "Pooja Pushpame" by KJ Yesudas are hits.    Add Comments

Kannoor Deluxe( 1969)
Director : A. B. Raj
Produced by : T. E. Vasudevan
Banner : Jaya Maruthi
Cast : Prem nazeer, Sankaradi, Adoor Bhasi, Ummer K.P., Jose Prakash, Radhakrishnan, Nellikkode Bhaskaran, Pillai G K, Sheela, Omana T R
Lyrics : Sreekumaran Thampy
Music : V Dakshina Moorthy
Singers : Yesudas, Kamukara Purushothaman, Jayachandran, Janaki S
Script :S L Puram Sadanandan
Story : Story by Devan V
Genre :Crime Drama
Read More
   My Sources for Old Malayalam Films
   CID Films in Malayalam

The story of the movie is based on a real incident that happened. A person was travelling from Thiruvananthapuram to Kochi with a suitcase containing cash. Another person, who has information about this, also caught the same bus with a similar luggage. He was successful in exchanging the bag when the passenger went for a short nap. He got down at the next stop. When the passenger realised that he was being cheated he screamed and alerted other passengers and conductor. One lady co-passenger saw the incident and informed the conductor. One of the passenger got the idea that the bus should reverse the route and go back with Thiruvananthapuram board. As expected the thief got into the bus and was handed over to police. This became a sensational story in next day's newspapers and is the basis of the movie Kannur Deluxe. In the movie Sheela plays the role of the passenger, working as an employee of the company. The twists and suspense elements makes the movie very interesting to watch. There were seven songs and some of the hit songs are ""Ethra Chirichaalum"" by KJ Yesudas, ""Varumallo Ravil"" by S Janaki and ""Marakkaan Kazhiyumo"" by Kamukara.    Add Comments

Thulabharam ( 1968 )
Director : A. Vincent
Banner : Supriya Films
Cast : Prem Nazir, Madhu, Thikkurissi, Adoor Bhasi, Sarada, Sheela, Adoor Bhavani
Lyrics : Vayalar
Music : G. Devarajan
Singers : K. J. Yesudas, P. Susheela, B.Vasantha
Script : Thoppil Bhasi
Genre : Social and Political
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This is the film adaptaion of a play written by Thoppil Bhasi for Kerala People's Arts Club ( KPAC ). The film won two National awards, for Second Best Feature Film and the Urvashi award for Best Actress - Sharada. The film focussed on some of the undesirable features among political and trade unions resulting in labour issues making the life of working class very miserable.

Public Prosecutor Vatsalya (Sheela) closes her argument against a woman, Vijaya (Sharada) on trial in a triple murder case. The prosecutor and the accused were ironically once best friends, before the verdict is announced, Vijaya recounts her life's path from law student to convicted murderess

All the six songs written by Vayalar and tuned by Devarajan became super hits. The songs "Kaattadichu kodum kaattadichu..."' (K. J. Yesudas), the lullaby "Omanthingalin Onam..." (Yesudas-P. Susheela), the romantic number "Thottu thottilla... " (Yesudas), the dance song "Bhoomidevi pushpiniyayi...." (Susheela-B.Vasantha), are still popular

The film won National awards for second best feature film of the year and the Urvashi Award for best actress for Sharada.    Add Comments

Asuravithu ( 1968 )
Director : A. Vincent
Produced by : Madhavankutty
Cast : Premnazeer, Adoor Bhasi, Sankaradi, Antony P J, Abbas, Nilamboor Balan, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Khadeeja, Sarada, Kalamandalam Kalyanikuttiyamma
Lyrics : P Bhaskaran
Music : K Raghavan
Singers : P Jayachandran, S Janaki, P Leela, K Raghavan, CO Anto
Story & Script : MT Vasudevan Nair
Genre : Social
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     Asuravithu Oru Padanam
     Sample Page from the book - Asuravithu Oru Padanam
     Book Review: The Demon-Seed (Asura Vithu)
     English Translation of the book
     M. T. Vasudevan Nair

The film is about a society in transition and breakdown of feudalism and joint family system. It is an uncompromising look at the crumbling matrilineal order where the matriarch of the family is in complete control of her family. The film captures the true agrarian village life with caste and religious politics and the grinding poverty during the second world war period.

The dialogues and screenplay are well written and the characters portrayed the picture of a decaying society. Prem Nazir was brilliant in the role of Govindankutty, the protagonist. Some of the characters are the unmarried sister of Govindankutty leading a life of quiet desperation, the sensible and statesman-like Kunharakkar, the luckless Meenakshi, seduced by a spoiled nephew and thrust upon, as unwanted baggage on him. Sharada acted as Meenakshi and P.J. Anthony as Kunjarikkar.    Add Comments

Kalli chellamma ( 1969 )
See pictorial Review
Director : P. Bhaskaran
Produced by : Sobhana Parameswaran Nair
Banner : Roopavani
Cast : Prem Nazeer,KP Ummer,Madhu,Adoor Bhasi,Sankaradi,Veeran,Sheela,Kottayam Shantha, Saraswathi M L,Adoor Bhavani,Jeasy, Paravoor Bharathan, Meenakumari,Khadeeja, Pala Thankam,Nabeesa,Kuttan Pillai,Sankar Menon, Master Pramod
Lyrics : P Bhaskaran
Music : K Raghavan
Singers : B Vasantha,CO Anto,KP Brahmanandan,Kamukara,Kottayam Santha,MG Radhakrishnan,P Jayachandran,P Leela,Sreelatha
Story & Script : G Vivekanandan
Genre : Social
Stills from the film

Kalli Chellamma (1969), is a screen adaptation of G Vivekanandan's novel of the same name. A good story, screenplay, immortal songs and brilliant performance by Sheela and Prem Nazeer made this film a memorable one for many years. The brilliant camera work has captured the coconuts trees, green paddy fields and backwaters of Kuttanad. KP Brahmanandan made his debut in cinema with the song "Maanathe Kaayalin Manppurathinnoru Thaamara Kalithoni". The song "karimukil kattile rajani than veettile" by P Jayachandran is also remembered even today. Musician MG Radhakrishnan made his entry to the Malayalam cinema as a singer through through the song "Unniganapathiye..." . Adoor Bhavani won the Kerala State Film Award for the second best actress in 1969   Add Comments

Kumara Sambhavam ( 1969 )
Director : P. Subramaniam
Produced by : P. Subramaniam
Cast : Gemini Ganesan, Kottarakkara Sridharan Nair, Thikkurisi Sukumaran Nair, Sharada, Sridevi
Lyrics : Vayalar, O.N.V. Kurup
Music : G. Devarajan
Singers : KJ Yesudas, P Leela, Renuka, P Madhuri, PB Sreenivas
Story : Kalidasa
Genre : Mythology

Kumarasambhava is a legendary Sanskrit poem written by Mahakavi Kalidasa, literally stands for "Birth of the War-god", i.e. Kartikeya, Shiva`s first son. Oppressed by the demon Taraka, devas realize that. Kartikeya, born to Shiva and Parvati, could be their only saviour. Kumarasambhava essentially talks about the courtship of Lord Shiva and Parvati. The film won the first ever Kerala State Film Award for Best Film   Add Comments

Ningalenne Cummunistakki ( 1970 )
Director : Thoppil Bhasi
Producer : Geetha Salam, Excel
Songs : K J Yesudas, P Suseela, Madhuri, P Leela, Anto, Radhakrishnan M G ( Vayalar Ramavarma, Devarajan )
Cast : Prem Nazeer, Jayabharathy, K P Ummer, Sheela, Sathyan, S P Pillai, Alummodan, Kottayam Chellappan, Kundara Bhasi, Vijayakumari, Thoppil Krishna Pillai
Script : Thoppil Bhasi
KPAC’s second drama "Ningalenne Communistakki" (You Made Me a Communist), was a path-breaking play in the history of communism in Kerala. The play caught the people's imagination and made history in Malayalam theatre by becoming the first play to be staged more than 10,000 times. Later, the drama was made as a film in 1970. It portrayed the transition of an elderly man from a conservative upper-caste Hindu family into a Communist. The songs written by Valayar and composed by G Devarajan were super hits. The melodious one "Ambalapparambile Aaramathile Chemparathy Poove . . . " by KJ Yesudas is remembered even today. The revolutionary songs "Pallanayaarin Theerathil" sung by MG Radhakrishnan & P Susheela, "Aikya Munnani" by KJ Yesudas & P Madhuri, "Ellaarum Paadathu" sung by P Susheela were other hits of the film.    Add Comments

Olavum Theeravum( 1970 )
Director : P.N. Menon
Genre : Classic

Olavum Theeravum ( Translation : Ripples and Shore ) broke the existing cinema traditions, like artificial settings and stage drama type presentations, and is often considered as the first sign of the arrival of the new wave in Malayalam cinema. The script and dialogues by M T Vasudevan Nair with local accents was also a new experience. Muslim Trader Bapputti (Madhu) loves Nabisa (Usha Nandini) and tries to earn enough money so that they could live in comfort after marriage. However, when the rich stranger, Kunjali (Jose Prakash), arrives, Nabisa's greedy mother (Philomina) forces her to marry him. Nabisa commits suicide and Bapputti, rejected by her family, leaves only to find her corpse washed ashore. M.T.'s foray into the domain of silver screen was a rewarding one as scriptwriter for Olavum Theeravum, which fetched him the state film award for best scriptwriter in 1970. Olavum Theeravum won the State award for best film.
   Add Comments

Vazhvemayam ( 1970 )
Director : K S Sethumadhavan
Producer : Joseph M O, Manjilas
Songs : K J Yesudas, P Jayachandran, P Suseela, Madhuri, P Leela ( Vayalar Ramavarma, Devarajan )
Cast : Adoor Bhasi, K P Ummer, Sankaradi, K.P.A.C. Lalitha, Sheela, Sathyan, Philomina, Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai, Khadeeja, C A Balan, Kuttan Pillai
Script : Thoppil Bhasi, Ayyaneth P ; Camera : Melli Irani
Sudhi (Sathyan) and Sarala (Sheela) are newly married couples. Sudhi loves his wife a lot and is also possessive and highly suspicious of her, who is still rather pretty and of clean habits. Once he happened to see a man running out of his house at suspicious circumstances. He accuses Sarala of infidelity and this forces her to leave the house. He concludes that she was sexually involved with his friend Sasidharan (K. P. Ummer). Few months later, he discovers that the man he found the other day was actually Sasidharan's wife Kamalakshi's (Khadeeja) extramarital partner. He gets remorseful, and starts blaming himself. He now wants to bring Sarala back to his life. But, it was too late. Sarala's father Pillai (Adoor Bhasi) had already conducted her marriage with Neelakanta Pillai (Sankaradi), a widower. This tire him out mentally. As the years pass by, he turns a lunatic and deliberately indulges in alcohol. Twenty years later, he gets a letter from Sarala informing that she has decided their daughter's marriage and wants him to bless her. The film is very well known for its unexpected climax.

All songs of the films were super hits. The songs are "Seethaadevi Swayamvaram Cheythoru" by P susheela & Jayachandran, "Kaattum Poy" by P Madhuri, "Kalyaanasougandhika poonkaavanathil" P susheela, "Bhagavaanoru Kuravanaayi sree parvathi" by P Leela, "Chalanam Chalanam" by KJ Yesudas, "Ee Yugam Kaliyugam" by KJ Yesudas    Add Comments

Anubhavangal Palichakal ( 1971 )
Director : K S Sethumadhavan
Producer : Joseph M O, Manjilas
Songs : K J Yesudas, Madhuri ( Vayalar Ramavarma, Devarajan )
Cast : Prem Nazeer, Adoor Bhasi, K P Ummer, Sankaradi, Bahadoor, Sheela, Sathyan, Philomina, Govindankutty, Gireesh Kumar
Script : Thoppil Bhasi, Thakazhi Sivasankarapillai ; Camera : Melli Irani
The movie Anubhavangal Paalichakal (Experiences and Failures) tells the story of persecutions and suffering of communists in the early days of modern Kerala. Sathyan, Prem Nazeer and Sheela plays the lead roles. The script is written by Thoppil Bhasi based on the novel of the same name by Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai and directed by K. S. Sethumadhavan. The story is about two firends, Chellappan (Sathyan) a fiercely dedicated Communist and Gopalan (Prem Nazir) a day-labourer. The movie also debuted the then 18 year old boy called Mohammed Kutty aka Mammooty who later went on to become the megastar of Malayalam cinema and one of the greatest actors of Indian cinema.
Malayalam Films Revolutionary Songs
The songs "Sarvaraajyathozhilalikale" by K. J. Yesudas, P. Leela & Chorus, "Kalyani Kalavani" by P. Madhuri, "Pravachakanmare Parayoo" by K. J. Yesudas and "Agniparvatham Pukanju" by K. J. Yesudas became hits.    Add Comments

Kuttyedathi ( 1971 )
Director : P N Menon
Producer : Menon Productions, Menon Productions
Songs : S Janaki, P Leela, Machad Vasanthi ( Sreekumaran Thampi, Baburaj )
Cast : Jayabharathy, Pappu, Sathyan, S P Pillai, Santha Devi, Vilasini, Jeysi, Nilamboor Balan, Master Sathyajith
Script : Vasudevan Nair M T ; Camera : Asok Kumar

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   Memorable character sketches
   The story of kuttyedathi
   MT Vasudevan Nair’s Screenplays

Kuttyedathi ( the Elder Sister ) narrates the life of women in Nair joint families. The film is Widely regarded as one of the best South Indian films made in the 1970s.    Add Comments

Ummachu ( 1971 )
Director : P Bhaskaran
Producer : Tharachand Bharjathya, Swargam
Songs : K J Yesudas, S Janaki, Vasantha ( Bhaskaran P, Raghavan )
Cast : Adoor Bhasi, Madhu, Sheela, T R Omana, Vidhubala, Raghavan, Philomina, Nellikkode Bhaskaran, Santha Devi, Kunjava, Master Sathyajith
Script : Uroob ; Camera : Ramachandra Menon C
The film is based on a Malayalam novel written by Uroob in 1954. It narrates the ramifications of human relationships and the ups and downs in the eventful life of a handful of characters in a village. The cast includes Sheela as Ummachu, Madhu as Mayan and Nellikode Bhaskaran as Beeran. Uroob won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Story.    Add Comments

Vilakkuvangiya Veena ( 1971 )
Director : P Bhaskaran
Producer : Suchithramanjari, Suchithramanjari
Songs : K J Yesudas, S Janaki, Vasantha ( Bhaskaran P, Bhaskaran P, Mankompu Gopalakrishnan, Sreekumaran Thampi, Dakshinamoorthy )
Cast : Prem Nazeer, Sarada, Adoor Bhasi, Madhu, Sankaradi, K.P.A.C. Lalitha, Jose Prakash, Muthayya, Adoor Bhavani etc
Script : Sreekumaran Thampi ; Camera : Thomas S J
The film is known for the evergreen songs. By seeing the film , we realize that the film is also having a very good story. The difficulties faced by classical musicians during the 60's and how the hardships in life can break human relationship are very well narrated in the film.    Add Comments

Panchavankadu ( 1971 )

Director : Kunchacko
Producer : Geetha Salam, Excel
Songs : K J Yesudas, P Suseela, Madhuri ( Vayalar Ramavarma, Devarajan )
Cast : Prem Nazeer, Adoor Bhasi, K P Ummer, Sheela, Sathyan, S P Pillai, Sarada, Alummodan, Adoor Pankajam, Ragini, Ushakumari, Gracy
Script : Vaikkom Chandrasekharan nair, Vaikkom Chandrasekharan Nair ; Camera : Rajagopal U
Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma ( 1729-1758 ), the founder king of Travancore (Venad), defeated the Ettuveetil Pillamar (Lords of the Eight Houses) and their houses were dug up and all their assets and armies seized. The women and children were given to fishermen of the coast. Before the destruction of the Pillamar, legend has it that Marthanda Varma married the only sister of Ramanamadhom Pillai. From this marriage a daughter, Kochu Thankachi, was born to Marthanda Varma. But, after defeating Ramanamadhom and the other Pillamar, Kochu Thankachi and her mother rebelled against Marthanda Varma, to avenge the death of their brother and uncle respectively.

The film is based on the story of rebellion led by Kochu Thankachi ( played by Sheela ) along with Kochu kurup ( Prem Nazeer ) against the king in which both were killed. KP Ummer acted as King Marthand Varma, Sathyan as Padanayakan or army chief. Sarada also played an important role in the film. Some of the imortal songs are "Kallippaalakal Poothu" by KJ Yesudas and melodious one "Raajashilpi" by P Susheela and the classical one "Sringaara Roopini" sung by P Susheela & Chorus    Add Comments

Nirmalyam( 1973 )
Scripted, directed and produced by M. T. Vasudevan Nair
Camera : Ramachandra Babu
Lyrics : Edassery
Music : K. Raghavan
Singers : Padmini, Brahmanandan, Eswari L R, Sukumari
Cast : P. J. Antony, Kottarakkara, Shanta Devi, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, S P Pillai, Sankaradi, Sukumaran, Sreenath, Sumithra, Ravi Menon, M S Namboothiri
Genre : Classic
Read More
      Review in NewYork Times
      NIRMALYAM - Nostalgia
      Review by Meena T Pillai
      The cinematic rendition of the agrarian landscape in Kerala
      The Oracle: A flash back
      The Hindu Metroplus 1    2

The movie Nirmalyam is an adaptation of the short story Pallivalum Kalchilambum by M. T. Vasudevan Nair. The word 'Nirmalyam' denotes the re­mains of an offering, especially of flowers offered on an idol during pooja, which are then removed in the morning. As the very title connotes, the film is an attempt to shed the remains of a past that is ideologically compromised. The movie begins with the morning ritual cleaning the idol.

An ancient temple is neglected to ruins and is tended only by few people. The old priest of he temple leaves the job to start a teashop and a young man who is disinterested in the profession takes up the job. He forms a relationship with the Velichappadu's daughter. When Smallpox breaks out, the villagers return to the temple and organise a festival. On the festival day the Velichappadu finds out that his daughter has been seduced by the young priest and his wife sells herself to a moneylender to feed the family. The film ends with the scene of the Velichappadu spitting on the idol of the Goddess while performing the final ceremony and later killing himself by striking his head with the sacred sword.

The film is all about the fallouts of economic depression, caused by neglecting practical wisdom and clinging on to unwarranted religious dogmas. The central character, the village oracle or velichappadu, stands as a symbol of declining feudal past. During the fast phase of modernisation, certain sections of the society lost phase with the changes happening around them, especially those who were slaves to religious dogmas.

MT came to his own with Nirmalayam, doing the screenplay, direction and production. It was S Pavamani who helped in marketing the cinema with the mainstream network of cinemas of those times and get it to the nation’s notice, eventually getting the President’s gold medal.

The low budget film in black and white had won the National Film Award for Best Film and for Best Actor - P J Antony. Also obtained the Kerala State Film Award for Best Film for the best film, best Director, script writer and for Editing.    Add Comments

Udayam ( 1973 )
Director : P Bhaskaran
Released by : Suchithramanjari
Songs : K J Yesudas, S Janaki, P Jayachandran, Ambili ( Sreekumaran Thampi, Dakshinamoorthy )
Cast : Adoor Bhasi, Madhu, Sankaradi, Bahadoor, Muthayya, Sarada, T R Omana, Raghavan, Ranichandra
Script : Sreekumaran Thampi, Ettumanur chandrasekharan Nair ; Camera : Thomas S J

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Oru Sundariyude Katha ( 1972 )
Director : Thoppil Bhasi
Producer : Geetha Salam, Excel
Songs : K J Yesudas, P Jayachandran, P Suseela ( Vayalar Ramavarma, Devarajan )
Cast : Prem Nazeer, Adoor Bhasi, Jayabharathy, K P Ummer, S P Pillai, Alummodan, Adoor Pankajam, Jeysi, Madhavan O
Script : Thoppil Bhasi, Kesavadev P ; Camera : Rajagopal U
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