Critically acclaimed and commercially successful adaptation of Kerala’s well-known legend, set in the 16th century, of the brave Aromalunni, his beautiful sister Unniyarcha and their poor adopted relative Chandu. Scenarist Nair filled in the story’s ‘silences’ and emphasised important, but traditionally marginalised, characters, making Chandu (Mammootty) a misunderstood victim of jealousy and betrayal. Aromal (Gopi) is transformed into a brash, arrogant and devious warrior, less skillful than Chandu but promoted because of his caste pedigree. When Aromal dies accidentally in a fight, Chandu is accused of treachery. Unniyarcha (Madhavi) is shown as a fickle woman with a flexible notion of morality who repeatedly betrays Chandu. In flashback, Chandu narrates the facts omitted from the public version to a young woman in a closed arena, while Unniyarcha’s sons wait outside to challenge him to a duel. One of the most expensive Malayalam films to date, it is famous for its reconstruction of the famed martial arts form of kalaripayattu and for Mammootty’s remarkable performance (which the actor regards as his best film work). Following on from his novel Randaamoozham, the film continues Nair’s efforts to make the silences in our epics ‘speak’ the caste and kinship aspects traditionally glossed over in the narration.
Did you know?
This film won four National Film Awards (1989) including Best Actor (Mammootty), Best Screenplay (M. T. Vasudevan Nair), Best Production Design and Best Costume Design (P. Krishnamoorthy) and six Kerala State Film Awards. Read More