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BANNER

6 May 2011

Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha (1989)

Directed by: T Hariharan
Script / Screenplay: MT Vasudevan Nair
Music: Ravi
Cast: Mammootty, Suresh Gopi, Madhavi, 
Balan K Nair, Captain Raju, Geeta, Sukumari
It is said that history is always written by the victor. What is left unsaid is that it can also be slanted to favour the rich and the famous. Northern Kerala's history is also the history of the famous Chekavars, masters of the art of Kalaripayattu, one of the oldest martial arts in the world.

Tales of brave warriors and beauteous maidens are told all over the world. In Kerala, these took the form of Vadakkan Pattukal, the ballads of Northern Malabar.  One such tale is that of Aromal Chekavar, a warrior of the 16th century, a name to reckon with amongst the bravest of the brave. His life and death have been chronicled many times, each succeeding generation adding to the tale until it becomes difficult to separate fact from fiction.

Legend has it that Aromal Chekavar, a scion of the famous Puthooram tharavad, and his equally famous sister Unniyarcha, were masters of the art of Kalari. Chandu, brought up by their father, struggles to be on par with his more talented cousins. As they grew up, Chandu fell in love with Unniyarcha, who rejects him. Flicked on the raw by both her rejection and his envy of his cousin's superior skills, Chandu, betrays him. 

As was usual amongst the Nair clans, rich men hired well-known warriors to fight for them. Aromal is hired to fight for a man who has a property dispute with his brother. In the resulting duel, Aromal's sword breaks off at the hilt. When he accuses Chandu of betraying him by weakening his sword, Chandu kills his wounded cousin with a kuthuvilakku ( a traditional oil lamp). Chandu is later tracked down and killed by Aromalunni, Unniyarcha's son. So goes the legend.

This is the background without knowing which you cannot truly appreciate this movie.  The story has been told and re-told many times, but Malayalam litterateur MT Vasudevan Nair decided to write a script that looked at the legend through the eyes of the reviled.

Set in the 16th century, the story begins when two youthful warriors come to the gates of Chandu's residence and challenge him to a duel.
Tell him I taught you well
Duel, or else
When he learns their antecedents, Chandu (Mammootty) remembers his past - one that he has tried hard to forget.
I know that land
Kannappan Chekavar (Balan K Nair) brings the orphaned son of his estranged sister to his home Puthooram Veedu. He is accepted by the young Unniyarcha, but Aromal, the eldest son of the house who is already at the cusp of young adulthood treats him with contempt. The young Chandu prays fervently that one day his name will also be sung in the annals of the famed. (This is a nice scene in the movie, because, we as the audience, know that his wish will be granted, but with a twist.)

As the Chekavar begins to train his nephew along with his son, daughter and other pupils, he is entranced to see how quickly his nephew picks up their traditional martial art. Aromal  is not pleased to see country cousin rise in his father's estimation. Little Unniyarcha, however, admires this kind-hearted cousin of hers and treats him with an affection that is balm to his love-starved soul.
I hate him already
The dissonance in the relationship between Chandu and Aromal (Suresh Gopi) only increases as the boys grow up to manhood. Aromal's fame begins to grow as he takes part in tournaments across the length and breadth of the land; Chandu is less flamboyant, preferring to defer to his illustrious cousin, both out of a respect for his abilities and because of his undying gratitude to his uncle. His uncle however, knows that his nephew is a far superior warrior to his son, and tells him so, much to Aromal's chagrin. His father's praise does not endear Chandu any to Aromal, and they stay as far away from each other as possible.
You are the better warrior, and I know it
He may have got the ring, but you have my blessings
Unniyarcha (Madhavi) and Chandu's childhood affection has deepened into love.


We are in love
I saw you watching me
(Yes, and I sang a song too...)




However, Aromal, whose dislike of Chandu has only increased over the years, pledges her troth to Kunjiraman (Sreeraman).
I do not approve! Take this money and get out of my sister's life!
To make matters worse, Kunjunooli (Chitra), another maiden who has made her interest in Chandu very clear, is married off to Aromal.


Aromal marries Kunjunooli
Dejected at the turn of events, Chandu leaves home and makes his way to Tulunad (present day Karnataka) where he undergoes training under Aringodar (Captain Raju), a Kalari warrior of repute.
Aringodar Chekavar
In the meantime, Unniyarcha, whose heart still beats for her lost lover, sends him a message asking him to meet her at night when her husband is away. A lovesick Chandu does not hesitate - he traverses miles on horseback and swims across raging torrents to meet his lover. Unfortunately, Kunjiraman comes back. Frightened for her reputation, Unniyarcha pretends she is being molested. Cornered, Chandu has no recourse but to leave. However, the night has earned him another shameful sobriquet - pennmohi (lecherous) Chandu. 
The mad dash through the night
And the swim
We meet at last
He made me do it!
Devastated by what he sees as a double betrayal, Chandu rides back to his Guru and tries to lose himself in training. One day, a feudal lord comes to the Aringodar's doorstep, asking him to represent him in a property feud with his cousin. It is to be a duel with his brother's representative, a fight that can have only one outcome. As fate would have it, the cousin begs Aromal to fight for *him*. 
Feudal Lord 1 with Aringodar
Feudal Lord 2 with Aromal
Kannappa Chekavar is perturbed. He knows well enough that while the Aringodar is a warrior equal to Aromal in ability, he does not have the experience. Besides, Aromal has a temper. And unlike Chandu, to whom the sword is an extension of himself, Aromal's sword is only a weapon. He offers to fight for the naaduvazhi (ruler), but when the ruler balks, asks him to find another mercenary. Aromal, who comes there, accepts the offer and makes the naaduvazhi pay through his nose for the honour. Frightened for his son, Kannappa Chekavar begs his nephew to be Aromal's second. Chandu is in a dilemma. On the one hand is his uncle to whom he owes so much; on the other, is his Guru. 

Unniyarcha tilts the scales - she promises him that if he became her brother's second, and they came back victorious, she would leave her husband and become his, even if her brother objected. No one could fault her for keeping her word. It is as if he's seen a vision of heaven. Chandu agrees.
Bring my brother back alive and I swear I will be yours!
As his second, Chandu takes Aromal's swords to the blacksmith for strengthening, and sharpening. However, Kunji (Geeta), Aringodar's daughter, is both frightened for her father's life and jealous that an enemy victory will take Chandu away from her. She bribes the blacksmith to weaken Aromal's swords by inserting a wooden rivet into the hilt instead of the metal one.
Kunji - Aringodar's daughter and the deux ex machina
The duel begins. Aromal's mastery over the art of sword fighting is no match for Aringodar's experience. He begins to fall back, and to make matters worse, his sword breaks off at the hilt. As his second, Chandu begs time off Aringodar to replace the weapon. Cognisant of the unbreakable rules of honour and combat, and the respect that a Chekavar gives to the ankathattu (the platform where the duel is fought), Aringodar agrees. As he turns away, unguarded, weapons lowered, Aromal kills him by throwing the half-broken sword at him. A distraught Chandu returns to their camp, only to find his cousin accusing him of the vilest of betrayals. A fight ensues, a weakened Aromal loses his balance, trips over the traditional lamp, and is fatally wounded.
Stop! He needs a new weapon
Oops, looks like he didn't!
"The blacksmith betrayed us." "The blacksmith? Or you?"
Damn the lamps
He betrayed me!
The news of the Aringodar's death has already spread far and wide, and people hurry to Aromal's camp to congratulate him. There, they find the bloodied warrior breathing his last in Chandu's lap. His last words are "Chandu chathichu" (Chandu betrayed me).

Chandu escapes the fury of the mob and goes to find the blacksmith, who confesses that he had deliberately weakened the sword upon Kunji's orders. With death in his heart, Chandu storms the Aringodar household, where Kunji, hearing about her father's death, has already hung herself.

Chandu has nowhere to turn. He returns to his childhood home, where he is faced by a grieving Unniyarcha -  her brother's death has turned her love into a deep, undying hatred. She vows that her son will avenge her brother's death. 
I swear my unborn son will avenge his uncle's death. (She does swear a lot.)
And now, years later, Aromalunni (Unniyarcha's son) and Kanappanunni (Aromal Chekavar's son) have come to fulfil her vow. The night has passed; Chandu is still reluctant to battle two inexperienced boys. However, they are not willing to listen and Chandu is unwilling to pick up his sword against children. An adamant Aromalunni still stands his ground - he will not go back without the head of the enemy. It is a promise that he has made his mother.
Mom hates you!
So what is new?
Chandu is defeated too. Aromalunni could have been his son if the fates had not willed otherwise. He cannot bear that Unniyarcha's son will ever face defeat. Despite everything, his love for her has never ceased to be. He makes the final sacrifice to end a life with which the fates had played dice.
There's not a man alive who can kill me...
so I will have to kill myself

...because you are the son I never had
We see the tale play out through Chandu's eyes,  and come back with a sense of unease - maybe there really is more to the story than we always knew? Maybe he wasn't the coward he is always portrayed to be? Maybe he is more to be pitied than censured? Like another legendary hero, Karna of the Mahabharata, maybe Chandu's is also a tale of a man cursed by the fates?


Mammootty's Chandu is definitely one of his best performances.  It won him a well-deserved national award for best actor that year. He is a man tossed aside by life, fated by circumstances to always be second. He is weak in his love for the one woman he cannot have. And that weakness loses him the women who love him - Kunjinooli and Kunji. Finally, he is a man who is defeated by life itself.

Madhavi plays Unniyarcha, sympathetic, lovelorn, arrogant and vengeful by turns. Watch her eyes flash as she excoriates him for her brother's death. She is a fantastic actress and the scene where she changes from a woman in her lover's embrace to a distraught wife, afraid for her chastity is hers - the shell-shocked Chandu and the angry Kunjiraman are but foils to her distress.

Suresh Gopi's Aromal is a man who yearns for his father's approval, and therefore susceptible to the well-placed barbs of his cronies. He is arrogant, yet respectful of his father's frailty; a brave warrior, yet not beyond stooping to deceit to win duels, whether it is for a tournament or a duel unto death. He is famous, yet fated to die a dishonourable death (in this version).

Well-directed, well-scripted (T Hariharan / MT Vasudevan Nair), and a lot of attention paid to detail (the Kalaripayattu scenes are a joy to watch, the lead actors, including Madhavi, trained in Kalaripayattu before they began shooting), this is a movie that really is a must-see. Ravi's (yes, the hindi music director) music only added to the whole movie experience. MT Vasudevan Nair also picked up a national award for his screenplay.

It is a film that cast its characters well, each actor fitting in the part he or she plays so well that one cannot think of any other person doing that role. This is true of the supporting actors (Sukumari, Balan K Nair, Sreeraman, Capt. Raju) as well.

I must thank one of my readers for giving me the impetus to write this review. bollyviewer, this one is for you. And to please you, there are more than enough sword fights.


© Anuradha Warrier

31 comments:

  1. Anuradha, thank you so much for this! It sounds absolutely fabulous. I am a sucker for period stories, particularly if they involve grey characters and swordfights! :) And though I am not familiar with the legend that has been re-interpreted here, I LOVE a story told from the point of view of the "villain". Karna has always been my favorite character in all the Mahabharata interpretations and Chandu sounds exactly like that! Only one question remains - WHERE do I find this, complete with subtitles? *off to search the world wide web*

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  2. Anamika, thanks for reading. The movie really is that good - the acting, the script, the direction, the music, the sets - I do not know whether it is available on DVD yet, unfortunately. I have been searching for it for some time. It has been uploaded on youtube though, I assume from a Video tape.

    MT (the script writer) is known for his alternate perpectives -one of his most famous works is Randam Muzham (The Second Turn) which looks at the Mahabharata from Bhima's viewpoint.

    Karna is my favourite character from the Mahabharata too :) Only, Chandu in popular imagination has never had the sympathy that Karna evoked. He was always depicted as a slimeball. It is the strength of MT's screenplay and Mammootty's acting that we not only sympathise strongly with the raw hand that fate deals him (it *could* have been *exactly* as MT wrote), but also hate the more popular Aromal Chekavar.

    Talk about turning the whole case around on its head! I think MT would have made a very successful defence lawyer!

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  3. I am not sure why blogger labeled me "Anamika" (anonymous!) instead of "bollyviewer"!

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  4. Oh, so *you* are bollyviewer! LOL I wondered who this was. So now Anamika is not 'anonymous' anymore... :)

    If the email you used had 'Anamika' as the name under which the email is sent out, maybe? Other than that, I cannot think of anything.

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  5. Karna is my favourite character from the Mahabharat too - such an interesting, many-dimensional person. But yes, I agree with you - Karna is generally a more sympathetic character in popular legend. So seeing a film from the point of view of somebody who's regarded by ALL as a no-good villain (as Chandu seems to be - I'm not familiar with the legend) must be interesting. Will look out for this, though with not very lively hopes of being able to get hold of a subtitled version. :-(

    (But - kalari doesn't need subs, no? So I just might browse through the youtube version and see the kalari scenes! That is one martial art I think can really be classified as an art - it looks so graceful!)

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  6. Oh, I went through my entire childhood hating Chandu with a vim and a verve. Dad comes from North Malabar; and as I have mentioned before, is quite a film buff; so I remember seeing movies like Unniyarcha, and Aromalunni and rooting for the evil Chandu to get his comeuppance. :)

    Of course, it also helped that Chandu was always played by a real 'villain'.

    So, when I go to see Vadakkan Veeragatha and see Mammootty playing the role, and having a sneering Suresh Gopi play Aromal, I felt like I had just received one of those kalari punches. LOL

    The tale of Aromalunni and his betrayal by his cousin Chandu is a very famous one in Kerala. As famous as Thacholi Othenan, or Aromalunni - folk heroes, who all belonged to the mercenary class of warriors on hire (Othenan was the only one born into a royal family.)

    Somehow, Kerala is quite cut off in terms of its folk tales, its myths, its legends being very restricted geographically.

    I'm coming to India in June for five weeks. I usually bug my DVDwala for this film - if it is available, I will let you know. I could mail you a copy.

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  7. I too admire Madhavi. A fine actress. Unfortuantely in Hindi films she hardly got any good roles.
    And add to it Kalari. A great Art!
    Unfortunately I haven't seen this film. It sound sto be an epic!
    Thanks for the review and sharing it with us.

    BTW Karna is not a villain in Mahabharata. He does get lots of sympathy. A Mahabharata from the viewpoint of Drithrashtra or Duryodhana, that would be something!

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  8. So. Is the film available on DVD? A quick search did not bring up anything.

    I have heard so much about good Malayalam movies, but if they are not available on DVD, then I am lost. A friend made me watch Urumi recently. I was impressed by that young actor - what's his name? The film was good but could have been better, IMO.

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  9. Again, I do not think so. It's unfortunate. Urumi was nowhere near Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha in terms of story; like all Santosh Sivan movies, it had wonderful cinematography. And yes, Prithviraj is good!

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  10. Hi Anu,
    Fantastic, in terms of conveying the emotions of watching an MT's script unfold, even to someone who hasn't even heard of the Ballads of Northern Kerala. OVV has by now become a part of Malayalam cinema's legacy ( am I being vain here? :) ), and it truly deserves it, without a doubt. Compared to the colorful, kitschy, sensleess but delightful mayhem in size-11 toupees and plastic pearl ornaments that was unleashed onscreen by Udaya studios every Onam season, this was a godsend. Also, I remember reading Parvathi was initially slated to do Madhavi's role, and I shudder to think what if, THAT would have happened. :) As far as 'viewpoints' are concerned, there is an even more succesful work in Malayalam, of the telling of Mahabharatha from Karna's point of view, Ini Njaan Urangattey by PK Balakrishnan. How I wish THAT was adapted on screen by MT rather than Randamoozham ( which is rumored to be in pre-production now ).Please keep writing..Regards..cinematters

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  11. Thanks, cinematters. And I agree that OVV will always be mentioned among the Malayalam classics. Do you know it is still NOT available on DVD? I wish they would be more proactive about getting good movies onto DVDs. :( I would definitely buy a copy.

    Parvathi as Unniyarch! Ente bhagawathi! I'm so glad Madhavi did it! She was as Unniyarcha *should* be - proud, tempestuous, sensuous - a woman who *could* drive any man mad! Parvathi is a good actress, but I don't think she could have carried off this role; especially not the Kalari scenes.

    I have read PK Balakrishnan's book - what imagery! The Mahabharata is such a treasure trove; yes, I do wish they had adapted that on-screen. Well, Randamuzham is MT's own book, no? So, I guess it makes sense that he would want to adapt it. Who is directing it? Is it Hariharan again? I hope it is. :) That combination has a magic to it.

    And if you like the alternate versions, then do read Yajnaseni. It is the story of the Mahabharata from the viewpoint of Draupadi.

    Now, *SHE* is one character that I could totally see Madhavi enacting on screen.

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  12. And NO, there is no DVD for the movie, all that are floating around are VHS source-turned-digital versions. Why there isn't, for the life of me, I just do not understand..thanks..cinematters

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  13. That this movie has not yet been released on DVD is an absolute travesty.
    One of the greatest films in the history of Malayalam cinema,  OVV is a movie that makes me truly proud to be a Malayali.

    How often do movies actually rewrite popular history? Well, this one for once did exactly that. For most commoners who watched this movie, after it the story of Aromal Chekavar and Chandu changed for life. We dont know if it is true at all, but no other history seems truer once you watch this movie.

    The screenplay by MT is quite simply marvelous, one of the best in his career. He himself could not replicate anything close to that in the recently released much hyped Pazhassi Raja (which by the way was a very good movie in itself, so you get the point), then how can one expect the likes of Santosh Sivan to get anywhere close? In my opinion, MT's best script was the movie "Sukrutham" (a must watch for all movie lovers), but OVV is a different league in every sense.

    Agree completely with you about the music, those songs like and the BGM - some of the most memorable in malayalam cinema, an inedible mark left by Ravi Bombay really.

    As for the performances, enough cannot be said really. The supporting cast, especially Balan K Nair and Madhavi were simply marvelous. But of course, its Mammootty who is the heart and soul of this one, and man does he deliver! He deservedly won the National honour for this one. This was one of those roles which you get once in a lifetime and Mammootty has had a lion's share of those in his illustrious career to be honest. Is it because he went out of his way to look for such roles? I do not know. However, its fair to say the man has managed to do 200% justice to most of such roles and its OVV that always comes to mind as that true flesh and blood performance that leaves you with goosebumps. 

    Thanks for letting me relive this masterpiece. Off I go to watch it again for the umpteenth time! :)

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  14.  The movie is not available on DVD yet because there is a fight about remuneration. Yes, it all boils down to filthy lucre. :(

    Mammotty had once credited his wife for his choice of roles - especially after his comeback in the eighties.

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  15. Quite a write up Anuradha , your captions of the screen shots neatly summarises the movie, giving it at times a much appreciated comic twist.

    I would like to point out one bit , you stated that Chandu went to train under Aringodar in Tulunadu (Karnataka) , it's true that the present day Tulunadu encompasses the Karavali coastal landscapes of Mangalore,Udupi and Kundapur , but this may not be the Tulunadu of the Vadakkan Patukkal , I remember reading an article by M T Vasudevan Nair in Mathrubhumi or Pachakuthira magazine ( dont exactly remember which ) that the Tulunadu of the ancient days referred to as the training ground of champions  was the present day Tellicherry or Thalashery of northern Kerala in Kannur district.

    I've spend a few years in Mangalore/Udupi and was eager to know if there were any remains  to the fabled martial training grounds of Kalaripayattu there ( before I read M T's article) , the people there did not know about Kalaripayattu at all , but the Tulus are a martial group of people and they had something called as ' Garadi' in the olden days  ( didnt come across any present day Garadi there ), this was a training ground for combat arts , but the arts as much as I could understand were more of wrestling in nature than that of Kalari where kicks,strikes and lunges in unarmed combat and a vast array of weaponry  in armed combat are used.

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  16.  Welcome to my blog, Xcaliber, and thank you for that interesting bit of information about Tulunadu. I assumed it was present-day Tulunadu, because there is much mention of the place in Vadakkan Pattukal. It is interesting that you should say they have never heard of kalari, and even more interesting (to me) that they do have a martial art of their own.

    My father comes from the Malabar area. I should check with him about the places mentioned.

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  17. Thalashery/Kannur would be Kolathunadu. This is the old Kolathiri kingdom based in Chirakkal in Kannur. In fact, Unniyarcha says early on in the movie that Chanthu is presently living in Kolathunadu, when she asks her dad to bless Aromalunni in the quest to kill Chanthu.

    I always assumed Tulunadu would be the region to the north of Kolathunadu, ie todays Kanjangad/Kasargod region...

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  18.  Now I really have to ask my father about this. :) I keep meaning to, and I forget during our usual weekly conversations.

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  19. Thank you admin for this vividly described movie with every shots, because i am a kanadiga i never understood the language and searched for lot for english subbed version of the movie but never found it. If it was n't for you i could not have discerned some of the scenes.
    thank you very much

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  20. Shankar Nagarajan9 October 2013 at 14:55

    Hi Anu, I have read your comments on other sites (BR, Carla etc.), but I just stumbled upon your blog. OVV will always remain one of my fav movies. I still remember being blown away, watching it in the theater (Sangam in Calicut), when it released. I also recall it kept going past 100 days (It's another matter that these days the 100 crore mark is the target!) quite easily and was one of the biggest hits of those times!

    Please do continue to write about South Indian films, and perhaps one of these days, we can discuss films over a cup of coffee! I am a huge film enthusiast and my family is "trained" to be one too! :-) However, I do find it hard to get Malayalam films locally.

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  21. Hi Anu, I have read your comments on other sites (BR, Carla etc.), but I just stumbled upon your blog. OVV will always remain one of my fav movies. I still remember being blown away, watching it in the theater (Sangam in Calicut), when it released. I also recall it kept going past 100 days (It's another matter that these days the 100 crore mark is the target!) quite easily and was one of the biggest hits of those times!

    Please do continue to write about South Indian films, and perhaps one of these days, we can discuss films over a cup of coffee! I am a huge film enthusiast and my family is "trained" to be one too! :-) However, I do find it hard to get Malayalam films locally.

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  22. Hi Shankar, welcome to my blog. OVV is one of my favourite movies as well. I don't think history (myth?) has been so cleverly stood on its head before. Unfortunately, I missed it in the theatres. and could only watch it on the television. Even more unfortunately, it is not available on DVD. :(



    I like how you have 'trained' your family to watch films. I source my DVDs from India when I go there in the summers. Of course, that means that I watch a whole lot of films almost a year after it's been released, but those are the breaks.



    Of course we should discuss films over coffee - only if you promise it will be of the decoction variety. :)



    Thanks for commenting.

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  23. I didn't see this comment until now. I'm sorry. Thank you for reading and commenting on my blog, Nandishchs.

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  24. Hi Anu, maybe I can raid your arsenal of movies and borrow some that I may have missed. For a long time, I had a store in Maryland record movies on video cassettes and ship it to me! Yup, discussions on films and music is fine by me...with filter coffee (Coffee with Anu?!!) :-)

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  25. Give an inch and take a yard? *grin* I'm very possessive about my DVDs because most people do not seem to take care of them, and I was getting tired of telling people to take care of stuff. I lent them out to very few people who I know will not get smarmy fingermarks on them. That said, yes, coffee, films and music are a great trio. (And yes, I much prefer coffee to tea, but 'Conversations over Coffee' did not have the same caché as 'Conversations over Chai'.

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  26. Thanks for politely refusing my request! :-) But seriously, I completely understand what you mean. I'm extremely possessive about my films and music too. Sometimes people don't understand that it takes a lot of effort to source and collect these things. So it's completely okay.

    BTW, coming to movies, I've become a Fahadh Fazil fan in the past year. The guy seems to have a knack of picking good scripts. With some of the other good films being made as well, I'm almost tempted to say it marks a comeback of good Malayalam cinema, or at least interesting cinema. Thoughts? I have a couple of friends with whom I can discuss Malayalam cinema, none local though. And a lot of time is spent in discussing other cinema on BR's blog, but he doesn't watch a lot of Malayalam cinema either. Also, my pet theory has been that, especially with 80s Malayalam cinema, you had to have lived there to get the milieu, conversations etc. since not everything is completely explained...as in Tamil cinema for example.

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  27. *grin* I don't know you. :) And even among my friends, there are very few people to whom I would lend my films and music.

    I liked Fahd Faasil but now I think he is stereotyping himself into the same old characters. Yes, I would also, with reservations, say that Malayalam cinema is seeing a resurgence. I see people like Prithviraj not only choosing different scripts but putting his money where his mouth is. I see new scripts, new ideas, people who are not above pushing the envelope to say what they want to say.

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  28. Got in here from Google and must say, very well written review. OVV is my all time fav mal movie and I have watched plenty of them (well, not many from around 2005 onwards) Big big fan of MT. Always keeps it natural. This is one of the movies in which almost everything works. Watched it again recently and it was fun to see joemol and vineeth as kids :). Mammotty was fantastic but I also thought suresh Gopi did his part very well as the talented but arrogant aromal. That was not an easy role to pull it off.
    Some of my other favs are Thoovanathbikal (who does'nt like that one ?;)), amaram, namukku paarkkan munthiri thoppukal , thazvaaram, innale, mrigaya , dasaratham , aranyakam, sandesham. I was saddened by the loss of quality in 2000s and quit watching in 2005. Moved onto Scorsese , Tarantino.. Recently came to know that there are some good work being done in mal, like ayalum njanum thammil, looking forward to watching them. Will look into your list for more of those :)

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  29. Nash, welcome. Thank you for the kind words. Thoovanathumbikal was shot in my hometown, and I remember huge crowds everywhere the stars went. Yes, there are some really good films being made in the past couple of years that gives me hope for a rennaissance in Malayalam cinema. Lots of young kids making films, lots of fresh ideas, lots of experimentation. Even if they do not all succeed, it is a step in the right direction.

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  30. OVV is a favorite movie of mine also, more so for the songs than just the movie itself. I was under the impression that MT wrote the songs also but I found out that the lyrics were written by one Jayakumar and Kaithapram, although google says that Jayakumar wrote this song (never heard of him) and the music was by Ravi! Not sure if the lyricist was ever were part of any of other movies after this (please correct me if I am wrong). Interestingly, Yesudas has sung in almost all the Aromal Chekavar related movies from the early 70's onwards (Poothoram veettil, Vrischika Poo Nilave from Thacholi Marumakan Chandu come to mind).

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  31. The songs are beautiful, aren't they? I'm afraid I know nothing about the lyricist. :( I will do some digging when I'm not as busy.

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