#FilmyFriday: Vadakkunokkiyantram: A complete Sreenivasan starrer – Times of India

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The entertainment industry in Kerala is trying to regain its momentum. As the state government has given a go-ahead for the theatres from October 25, film personnel are in relief. Watching a movie in the cinema houses is an experience on its own, but as theatres remain shut as of now, and there is no means other than streaming platforms to revisit old Malayalam films, let’s catch it in the comfort of our living room!

Friday evenings are the best time to revisit old movies. Watching entertaining movies can be a huge stress reliever and as we know the process of settling for one could be tedious, we decided to make your task easier. ETimes presents the weekly movie suggestion – with #FilmyFriday, wherein we recommend a must-watch Malayalam movie, every week.

And this week we are recommending ‘Vadakkunokkiyantram’!

Director: Sreenivasan

Cast: Sreenivasan, Parvathy, Innocent, KPAC Lalitha, Baiju, Lalu Alex, CI Paul, Usha, Jagadish, Mamukkoya

Release date: 19 May 1989

Starring and directed by Sreenivasan, ‘Vadakkunokkiyantram’ dealt with body image issues the protagonist, Thalathil Dineshan struggles with and how his lack of confidence and inferiority complex results in marital discord.

The film opens with the scene of Thalathil Dineshan (Sreenivasan) waking up in the morning. As soon as he gets up from bed, he rushes to a mirror in the room. Dineshan checks out himself in the mirror. There are no dialogues, only actions. Dineshan has perfectly normal hair, but his actions suggest that he is concerned about receding hairline. His skin looks supple and radiant, but he is worried about a pimple outbreak. He has an absolutely normal and good moustache, but it doesn’t look like he is aware of it. His toothy grin is beautiful, however, Dineshan doesn’t think so.

Even before brushing his teeth, Dineshan grabs a pen and paper. Before you jump to a conclusion, let’s break this to you, Dineshan is not writing a journal, but a letter to the psychologist. Weird, right? Who writes to a psychologist right after waking up.

The letter that Dineshan writes to the psychologist has paramount importance in the plot, so please bear with us.

Dineshan’s letter reads, as following.

“Dear Sir,

I am clueless. Please begin writing about the psychology of women in the weekly, ASAP, because my marriage has been arranged. My fiancée is very beautiful. The thought of whether I deserve her is making me anxious. I have been living according to the advices you have given me at various points in my life. Thanks for all of it. First, let me tell you the naked truth. I am not at all a handsome man. I have a dark complexion, and my height is not so ideal. So, I can only woo my fiancée through a psychological approach. I want to win her heart at our first night itself. Requesting you to advice me all the solutions. I feel that being a teetotaler and frugal are the qualities that attracted the attention of my fiancée’s family. Other than that, I don’t really see any qualities that they would like in me. I am asking you as an elder brother, is there any way to increase my height? What are the hacks to increase my facial beauty. I haven’t used any beauty creams yet. What is your thoughts on Vicco Turmeric? Will I look fairer upon using it? Please help me from this unfortunate situation by answering all of the above questions in the next issue of the weekly.”

Well, now you know how unconfident Dineshan is. He runs his late father’s owned printing press and makes a decent living, lives with his mother, younger sister, and also has a brother, who works in the city. Dineshan’s efforts to woo his wife Shobha (Parvathy) on their first night becomes a forgone conclusion. Dineshan loves his wife so dearly and his possessiveness transforms into obsession slowly and the iconic scene of the two clicking their pictures at a studio and their movie date is proof! (We have no plans to spoil those scenes, by merely describing them. You can thank us later!) His insecurities heighten to the point where he can’t help but make derogatory remarks on superstar Mohanlal, whom his wife admirers, and all other movie stars in general!

The insecurities start to worsen and from fighting with the neighbour for standing in the public pavement, which his wife also uses, to getting into a brawl with his own younger brother, because the latter shares a friendship with Shoba, Dineshan goes out of his mind. The initial body image issues of Dineshan slowly develop into Othello’s syndrome, resulting in marital discord.

Sreenivasan, who has always underlined facts with sarcasm, here used dark humour to deliver Dineshan’s body image issues and how it skyrocketed to Othello’s syndrome. Thalathil Dineshan became an iconic character in Malayalam cinema, and even three decades after its release the film stands tall and resonates with the audience as most of us might have come across Thalathil Dineshans at least once in our lives. If physical appearance is Thalathil Dineshan’s inferiority complex, stature or success would be the one’s in real life.

Trivia

  • The film won three Kerala State Film Awards – best film, best music director (Johnson), and, best male playback singer (MG Sreekumar)
  • ‘Vadakkunokkiyantram’ was dubbed in Telugu as ‘Sandeham’.
  • The film was also remade in Tamil (Dindigul Sarathy), Kannada (Nanjangudu Nanjunda), and Hindi (Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh).
  • In pop-culture: 2019 film ‘Love Action Drama’, used the names of the characters – Thalathil Dineshan and Shobha and were played by Nivin Pauly and Nayanthara respectively.



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