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 “Thenmavin Kombath” is one of Kerala’s favorite films, written and directed by Priyadarshan. The story, set in a remote village, revolves around the love triangle between Manikyan, Sreekrishnan, and Karthumbi. The film ran for over 250 days and was 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.
  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’

When Visual Splendor Meets Timeless Melody: The Allure of ‘Thenmavin Kombath

The film is best remembered for its visuals and music, earning K. V. Anand and Sabu Cyril National Film Awards for Best Cinematography and Best Production Design, respectively. The production design and the camera work were exceptional, incorporating a vibrant array of colors that were pleasant to the eye. “Thenmavin Kombath” stands out as one of the most ravishing and beautiful films ever made in Malayalam. Each frame possesses the potential to be a photo frame for interior walls, capturing moments that are superbly shot and exude a sense of class.

The film is wildly sensuous on a visual level, with numerous moments leaving viewers in awe of the meticulous design. To describe it as breathtaking is not an overstatement.

Thenmavin Kombath (1)
Thenmavin Kombath (4)

Mohanlal and Shobana stand among the immortal screen couples, creating a sizzling on-screen chemistry. Their collaboration, especially in songs like ‘Karuththa penne…’ and the Mysore episodes, is unforgettable. These elements contribute to the film’s enduring appeal, making it worth revisiting even after 21 years since its theatrical release. Many fans express a desire to watch it on the big screen once again.

Thenmavin Kombath (6)
Thenmavin Kombath (5)

The Timeless Allure of Thenmavin Kombath: A Cinematic Spectacle

Viewers who watch Malayalam movies with subtitles or are not familiar with the actors might find it challenging to appreciate this film, as its beauty lies not just in the story. However, it’s worth giving it a try for the rich tapestry of colors and stunning scenery. The visuals are grand, featuring primary colors and expansive landscapes. Some may argue that it’s more of a visual feast, prioritizing style over substance.

Assessing whether the film has substance is challenging because the style is so overpowering. While it lacks a script that might evoke the same love as “Vandanam” or “Chithram” or bring tears like “Thalavattom,” Malayalis hold a deep affection for it, a sentiment understood best by those who experienced the movie during its release decade. Credits are due to Mohanlal, Priyadarshan, Shobana, Berny-Ignatius, KV Anand, Nadumudi Venu, and others.

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About the Author

PS Arjun
Cinephile. Learning the art of filmmaking. Writer. Filmmaker.

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