Revisiting A Classic: Thoovanathumbikal

The film “Thoovanathumbikal” (1987), written and directed by P. Padmarajan based on his own novel “Udakappola,” centers around Jayakrishnan, who leads a contrasting dual life—one with his friends in the town and the other with his mother and sister in their village. He falls in love with two women: Radha, a distant relative, and Clara, an escort in town. The characters portrayed by Mohanlal, Sumalatha, and Parvathi—Jayakrishnan, Clara, and Radha—display fantastic chemistry, especially in the romantic moments as they get to know each other.

Mohanlal, one of cinema’s finest actors, delivers a perfect and absolutely flawless performance as Jayakrishnan. The film excels in every aspect, including photography, set design, music, and performances, making it a beautiful cinematic experience.

Jayakrishnan ‘It was raining when I first met her. It was raining when I wrote my first letter to her’

The film delves into the most intense human emotion—love. It is filled with so much romance, and the story actually revolves around Clara, even though Jayakrishnan is on screen in almost all the scenes. The beauty lies in seeing the script move, holding the hands of Clara.

Jayakrishnan ‘Clara, I want to marry you’
A strong wave hits Clara.
Soon the song starts, ‘Megham poothu thudangi, Moham peythu thudangi’

This scene is one of the purest and most honest moments in the film. It’s not just about what is on the outside but what it symbolizes and what it intends for us to see. The song portrays their dreams of life that began a few hours back. You feel as if you have a connection with the main characters, as if you’ve known them for a long time, and thus, emotionally share the highs and lows throughout the plot.

Jayakrishnan ‘Clara, is a girl who came from somewhere and vanished to somewhere’

It was raining, and the atmosphere looked very beautiful, and then comes the first letter from Clara to Jayakrishnan. Rain is a recurring theme and is portrayed almost as a character in the film. It does not rain at the final meeting between Clara and Jayakrishnan. The incredible score by Johnson (with songs by Perumbavoor G. Raveendranath) pushes its emotional effectiveness up a notch.

Padmarajan, one of the greatest scriptwriters and directors from Kerala, but I feel it is a little unwarranted for the non-Malayalam viewer to pick up his movies as it is difficult to identify with the lifestyle of the characters. Once you get to feel it, you will get addicted to him. The film was ranked 8 by IBN Live in its list of the greatest Indian films of all time. It is far above the usual. Experience this movie, don’t simply watch it, for the charm of all the characters.

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About the Author

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

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