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August 26 2019
Manichithrathazhu and it's undimmed popularity for 25 years
24 December 2018

Manichithrathazhu continues to fascinate the new generation of cinemagoers

Sometimes, you get everything right.

Like director Fazil did when he made Manichithrathazhu, the mystery that created history in Malayalam cinema. It went on to become one of the most loved films in Malayalam and was remade into several languages. It turned 25 last week.

“People still talk to me about it, and that makes me happy,” Fazil told The Hinduon Friday. “I had worked on the script (written by Madhu Muttom) for a couple of years, and it was a challenge shooting the film.”

His hard work paid off. Manichithrathazhu was an instant hit.

Perfect package

But its success had not come as a surprise to Fazil. For, it had everything – a brilliant script, an exceptional cast led by Shobana and Mohanlal, a melodious music score by M.G. Radhakrishnan and splendid camera work by Venu.

The story of Ganga, a woman who believes she is the reincarnation of dancer Nagavalli from a different period, was told with great skills by Fazil, who had already proved himself with major box office hits like Manjil Virinja Pookkal,Nokkekkatha Doorathu Kannum Nattu and Ente Mamattikuttiyammaykku.

Shobana, a trained Bharatanatyam dancer, was the obvious choice for the role of Ganga. “To say that she was the only choice would be more accurate,” Fazil says.

Her dance sequences with Kannada actor Sridhar was a highlight of the film. She walked away with the National and the State awards for the best actress that year.

Mohanlal, as Dr. Sunny, a psychoanalyst, Suresh Gopi, as Ganga’s husband, and a host of talented actors like Vinaya Prasad, Thilakan, Nedumudi Venu, Innocent and Kuthiravattam Pappu were in great form, too. Dubbing by Bhagyalakshmi and Durga (for Ganga and Nagavalli, respectively) also deserve mention.

Not many, however, had known about Durga’s contribution, until Fazil spoke about it a few years ago.

Controversy

There was a controversy at the State Awards too, when M.G. Radhakrishnan made public statements against the jury after being overlooked. The composer’s angst was understandable, for the songs of Manichithrathazhu – Oru murai vandu..., Pazham Thamizh paattizhayum... and Varuvaanillaarumi... -- had become a rage.

Pale imitations

It was in 2004 that the first remake that came out – Apthamitra (Kannada). That was followed by Chandramukhi (Tamil), Rajmohol (Bengali) and Bhool Bhulaiyya (Hindi).

They all paled in comparison.

 

 

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