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  • Writer's pictureVenki

P. Padmarajan - The Mark of a Man

Updated: Jul 26, 2020

74 years ago, on 23 May 1946, a legend was born and later went on to become the Maestro of Malayalam cinema. He established himself as Malayalam cinema’s most introspective, most artful, and deepest film-maker till date. Build a career and leave a legacy, thats exactly what he did to Malayalam film industry. Considered as a magical script writer and cinematic philosopher, his work is unmatched till today in Malayalam Industry. He is a fine example of supremely individualistic and an uncompromising director. Padmarajan carved a niche for himself. His movies are known for their realism, naturalism, and haunting climaxes. His work dealt with indelible explorations of the human emotions. His meticulous style of story telling often leaves with a mysterious experience to behold. Padmarajan played a key role in bringing back Malayalam popular cinema back to common man. Love , Lust, Revenge , Loss you name anything, the master handled it brilliantly. A subtle lyrical quality is seen in many of his films.

He was a shimmering light and some call him the celestial story teller and some call him gatekeeper of losses. To me, every movie by Padmarajan is worth a watch dozen times. Thats the power of this legendary director's story telling capabilities. Some of his novels are considered as among the best in Malayalam literature. His attention to details in the screenplay is unmatched in the Industry so far. He continues to inspire lot of filmmakers. His stories can be sane and insane at the same time. I have never watched any of his films in theater and I was told, most of his films were a box office flops. And thats absolutely understandable as his creative ideas traveled ahead of time and it was bouncers at that time for most of the audience. Some of work is now considered as cult, while in retrospection. If i have to pick one Indian director which i passionately followed then its him. I have a huge collection of his books and CD's. He was the man who made me fall in love with movies.

Ironically Padmarajan life ended abruptly in a cold January. He was at the peak of his creative brilliance. The void that created still remains and his legacy reaches far beyond awards and accolades. I wish someone recreates all his film in high quality digital format with subtitles and release it on OTT. And the Korean film maker, Bong Joon Ho was absolutely right in his statement “Once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” I wanted the world to see this genius film makers passionate work. I am hoping that day is not that far. Nevertheless he will be remembered forever and the younger generation will learn so much from his film making. The magician will live on and on as a celestial demigod.

In Memory, listing my top 10 films of Padmarajan not in any particular order as its daunting task to give a ranking for his films. You need to be genius to fully interpret, analyze and write a full blown review of his movies. I really wont be able to do a justice to that.

  1. Nombarathi Poovu - 1987 Verdict - 4/5(A heartbreaking motherhood story)

  2. Thoovanathumbikal - 1987 Verdict - 4/5(A unique love story)

  3. Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal - Verdict - 4/5(Love beyond boundaries)

  4. Njan Gandharvan (1991) Verdict - 3.5/5(Love in two different worlds)

  5. Innale (1989) Verdict - 4/5(Love at the time of amnesia)

  6. Desatanakkili Karayarilla (1986) Verdict - 4/5(An inexplicable love)

  7. Season (1989) Verdict - 4/5 (A cult crime thriller)

  8. Aparan (1988) Verdict - 3.5/5 (A mistaken identity)

  9. Moonnam Pakkam (1988) Verdict - 3.5/5(love and death)

  10. Peruvazhiyambalam (1979) Verdict - 3.5/5(The birth of Sethumadhavan)

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