Revisiting A Classic – Thenmavin Kombath

Revisiting a 21 year old Malayalam film that is rich in color and gorgeous scenery – Thenmavin Kombath.

‘കറുത്തപെണ്ണേ നിന്നെ കാണാഞ്ഞിട്ടൊരുനാളുണ്ടേ…
വരുത്തപ്പെട്ടേന്‍ ഞാനൊരു വണ്ടായ് ചമഞ്ഞേനെടീ…’

The musical comedy-drama film written and directed by Priyadarshan, Thenmavin Kombath is one of the Kerala’s favorite films. The story, set in a remote village, revolves around the love triangle between Manikyan, Sreekrishnan and Karthumbi. The film went on to run over 250 days, and remade in three languages, 1. Muthu (1995, Tamil) starring Rajinikanth and Meena, 2. Saat Rang Ke Sapne (1998, Hindi) starring Arvind Swamy and Juhi Chawla and 3. Sahukara (2004, Kannada) starring Ravichandran and Ramba.

Thenmavin Kombath (2)

‘Koodeyurangaan kothiyaavunnu
Nenjil manjin kuliroorunnu,
Nilledi nilledi nilledi ninnude
Kunjikkurumbonnu kaanatte njaan,
Manjakkurukkuthikkunnum kadannittu
Minnippolinjallo poonilaavu’

The film is best remembered for its visuals and music. K. V. Anand and Sabu Cyril won National Film Awards for Best Cinematography and Best Production Design respectively. The production design and the camera work were great, mixing in a lot pleasant to look at colors. A visual and musical treat. Thenmavin Kombath is one of the most ravishing and beautiful looking films ever made in Malayalam. Each and every frame can be made as a photo frame for interior wall. Each moment is superbly shot. Classy. It’s wildly sensuous on a visual level. There are more than few moments that make us wandering how they designed it. To call it breathtaking is not overstating it.

Thenmavin Kombath (1)
Thenmavin Kombath (4)

Mohanlal and Shobana, is among the immortal screen couples. The screen simply sizzles whenever they join for a song. How can somebody forget the song ‘Karuththa penne…’ and the Mysore episodes? All these elements make it worth revisiting again and again even after 21 years of its theater release. I wish, I could watch this on big screen.

Thenmavin Kombath (6)
Thenmavin Kombath (5)

Viewers who watch Malayalam movies with subtitles and those who are not familiar with actors are most likely to end up not liking it, because the beauty of this movie is not with the story. But still, give a try for the rich tapestry of colors and gorgeous scenery. The visuals are majestic, with primary colors and panoramic landscapes. Is it just a visual feast, more style than substance? Very difficult to say, because the style so overwhelms the substance. But it is true that this movie doesn’t have a script which make you fall in love like Vandanam or Chithram nor that can make you drop tears like Thalavattom, but it is loved so much by Malayalis for something which only those who have seen the movie in the decade of its release can understand. Thanks to Mohanlal, Priyadharshan, Shobana, Berny-Ignatius, KV Anand, Nadumudi Venu…

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About the Author

PS Arjun
Cinephile. Learning the art of filmmaking. Script Writer. Director.

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