Monday, May 05, 2008

Thalappavu Coming...

Why would I dedicate a post to a movie that I am yet to see? Because this is a film that has excited me from the day I came to know of its announcement and because the film is about a man who I adore to the cusp of hero worship. And because I don't see a trace of this man's sacrifice, leadership and heroism in today's generation of young Keralites. "Naxal" Varghese as we call him today was the CPM Wayanad district secretary who chucked a promising future as a politician(probably chiefministership too???) to join the Naxalite Movement protesting against the party's acquiescence of landlordism and exploitation of tribals and peasants ultimately laying down his young life for the people whose conditions he strived to better.

I am no supporter of violent upheaval but there are situations when you feel justified in your support for such movements. Naxalites are back in relevance and have even begun to rule, as we see in neighbouring Nepal where the ruling class and middle class ignored the fate of the underprivileged majority. We have states in India with naxal menace like Jharkand, Chattisgarh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, etc that are seething at the non-improvement of their living conditions despite 60 years of independence and democracy. While India has zestfully responded to the justified need of supressing these violent movements, more importantly the efforts to address the ills that plague the societal inequalities in these states have not been tackled properly.

Thalappavu will release anytime soon I hear. Many years back I read these three wonderful articles on rediff when retired police constable Ramachandran Pillai who is dead now confessed to the cold-blooded murder of Varghese. On that same day rediff also carried this article indicting the establishment. A few years later noted Kerala journalist George Iype travelled to Thirunnelli and discovered the legend that surrounded Varghese 30 years after his death. Around the same time, mainstream newspapers like Manorama and Mathrubhumi retrieved superbly written articles from their archives chronicling the last days of Varghese, Ajitha's arrest and the fatal torture inflicted on Rajan. Unfortunately I didn't have the foresight to save those gems.

In Thalappavu, Prithviraj plays Varghese and Lal plays constable Pillai who killed him. The movie is directed by actor Madhupal who makes his debut behind the megaphone, script is by Babu Janardhanan who arrived in prominence with Achanurangatha Veedu and Vasthavam in 2006, with camera helmed by veteran Azhagappan and is produced by Tamil actor, Mohan. Check out the film's superb website at I decided to pitch this movie seeing propoganda aimed against this film by our "harmless" superstar fans who have already begun deriding it as offbeat, a "derisive" label which today is used to keep people away from theatres. A movie like this deserves to succeed but is waiting release as crap superstar flicks like Annan Thampi and Innathe Chinthavishayam continue their artificial run. Hope my little blog has given you all a heads-up and everyone will go watch this movie in its first week. Also check out two snaps I uncovered from the net of Varghese, shot by famed Manorama photographer, T.Narayanan . Note the facial similarily he shares with Prithviraj which probably prompted his casting for this role. The other one is Varghese shot to death after the "encounter".


joseph said...

i remember reading about the confessions when it came out....
Jabs... who was this Rajan you mentioned... are you talking about the Professor's son ? Was that incident also around the same time.... related to this ?
Defintely I have to see the film..

Karthik said...

Hope Prithvi does justice to the role and the movie turns out to be a good one. Let those stupid fans of super-stars realise the value of good cinema at least after this film.

Nikhil Narayanan said...

Inspite of being and ardent un-fan of Prithviraj because of his "attitude" and his I-am-a-know-all-been-there-done-that approach (most seen during TV interviews),I will watth this one.

When I joined ex-Mohanlal fans community on orkut in 2005, I had hope.It is high time Lalettan hungs up his boots.
Innathe Chinthavishayam as you said is an artificial success. But I am sure it is MUCH better that CRAP like Hello.
For how long can Mohanlal,act with all these young dames.

Did you notice that he usually plays characters like widower,un-married oldie,or a big brother types,because this is the only way he can have a female character with equal importance(and nayakan-nayika combination is a must for our commercial movies), also he knows he is old.

How I wish, he could go back to the days of unemployed "vayinokki" or "prarabdakaaran" roles of the late 80s and 90s.(May be the only movies where we can have a glimpse of old Trivandrum)


silverine said...

I heard about this Varghese from your blog when you wrote about him long time ago. And I remember the aftermath too :p lol!!

A central govt report has asked Karnataka to start "talking" with the Naxals as the movement is gaining strength here due to the neglect of other parts of Karnataka. Bangalore gets blamed for everything. The rest of Karnataka think that Blr is pampered. What they don't realise is that the revenue from Bangalore is being diverted elsewhere instead of being pumped into the rest of the State. Sorry for going a little off topic, but after reading your earlier post on Varghese, I am now beginning to realize that there is a lot of wisdom in that directive by the central govt.

journeycalledlife said...

thank you for putting up this review-sorts...i was losing all faith in good meaningful malayalam movie and here comes this prithviraj starrer - yes i do like him a lot among the current lot as he is trying out different roles, and this role will suit him to a T - and there is an uncanny resemblence between verghese and prithvi...

Jiby said...

jofu, yes Rajan was the REC student whose father was a hindi professor.
check out
and you can read prof.warrier's book here

karthik, let's wait and watch. thattikootu films are here to stay - the best we can do is highlight such ventures.

nikhil, what i admire about prithvi is exactly what you hate about him! :) mohanlal can't hold on for much longer like this. for sure he is still a good actor, but doing all the wrong kind of roles. am waiting for akashagopuram. as for mammootty, despite all my reservations to his recent commercial films, aa nithyayauvanathinte munbil thala kunikkunnu :))

silverine, i recently heard a story from a telugu friend of mine who is a hardcore congressman on how they "engaged" the naxalites in AP. these people were invited for talks, put up in five-star hotels and played and preyed on their weaknesses. won't elaborate. wonder if this will be the same strategy used in karnataka too?

smita, i had also given up hope on malayalam cinema. nowadays i believe the best way forward is to completely ignore mediocre films and undeserved praise of superstardom and to appreciate the filmmakers who dare at the risk of failure to be different.

Nikhil Narayanan said...

Njanum thala kunikkumu aa "nithya yavvuanathinte munbil"
Sammathikkanam, I am sure he is a grand father by now ;)

Mohanlal ine kandu sangadavum varunnu....aa thadi! uff !!
Ingane undayirunna Lal aanu :-)

Dhanush | ധനുഷ് said...

Varghese is really a true hero and I hope his story is portrayed well without any twists in the tale :)

The other day I was in TVM, picked up a few CDs from Kuravankonam Welgate Shop. Now watching one by one. Saw Yavanika.

g-man said...

wow, i had never heard of him till now. went through all the links, and i think shall go watch the movie wen it does come out :) thanks for the tip

Anonymous said...

hi da,
really good article.. infact people aborad have heard about varghese and about wayanad feudalism.. i was surprised that ppl like me who are born bought u in Kerala did not know .. good one.. waiting for the movie..


Nikhil Narayanan said...

Hi Jiby
I am not a know all!
But, I knew about Varghese.
I am shocked by the fact that most of the Malayalees (who commented) did not know about Varghese.

Guess, they all missed a healthy diet of Malayala Manorama during their lives in Kerala.
I am glad, I devoured the newspaper and still do the same online :-)

Jiby said...

dhanush, glad you concur with my thinking on varghese. i also have yavanika with me...i wonder if a yavanika will run today like it did, then!

g-man, felt glad to introduce varghese to youngsters like you.

chaks, when i think about it, i feel we all should have had more discussions on politics than we did...but then there was only kannan to present left viewpoints and the rest of us ganged up on him.

nikhil, its a sad story that we tend to read only news that interests us. i agree that the manorama features were a treat but i wouldn't say the same about their news coverage.

g-man said...

yea...btw, you know any place in tvm where i can get a copy of the motorcycle diaries? eloor doesn't seem to have one...

Anonymous said...


So where is this propaganda against Thalapavu? Is it a strawman to get people into the theater. There is a discussion going on about your article here. Maybe you would like to add a few words.

Jiby said...

dear unni, i was concerned that this movie would be cornered as an offbeat film by "fans" as in the case of superb films like kathavasheshan, achanurangatha veedu and vasthavam, possibly due to which audiences kept away. i was hoping to preempt that possibility of offbeat propaganda being used against this film.

of course i am surprised that the editor/editors at varnachitram were quick to spot that sentence and highlight what i thought was just another harmless sentence. anyways i am glad that my post seems to have made an effect as indiaglitz also seems to have picked it up...but this time in the right spirit which i intended!

Anonymous said...


After your last post, I had to go all the way and check varnachitram to find what the story is. I didn't see any propaganda in the post, just thought you found something unique in the movie and wanted to share that. And every movie has a word of mouth campaign against it, so that part never stuck. its not important too. And to say the least, your last bitter pill was in my very personal opinion out of place. As a reader your morality doesn't matter to me and you dont have to explain things. I read your posts not because I rely on you for my stuff, but because you have balanced views, lot of perspective, an understanding of history and compared to many others an openness to other view points. Maybe in that post you got carried away a little, but that happens when you are passionate. Nothing more. Common man, if i follow you then for all my posts I'll have to write one apology post. as soon as I log in, i lose my balance. So please dont introduce new habits :)

abt the naxal art you remember "Ninachal Ozhukiya Naalvazhikal" in DD? all time classic that was. if you havent chk out C Radhakrishnan's Vayalar award winner "Munpe Parakunna Pakshikal"

and abt your attempt to destroy the superstar cult, maybe you can destroy mammooty's cult- thats easy. but definitely not Lals. Once "Madambi" releases, Annan will have a mega hit and then he'll go on to win national award or "Akashagopuram"! and all his detractors will shut shop. to quote Dileep "annan is around for 25 years, annan will be around for another 25" - As No1. So try when you are 50 something!

Anonymous said...

Well i am also excited to see Prithvi as the Firy Naxalite on screen,and the stills of the film looks damn exciting!

and i can't understand why you are against superstars,i know Annan Thampi is crap but still Innathe Chintavishayam had a messeage in it..Wait it till Akasha Gopuram,Madambi and Kargil come out !
Lalettan is making a great comeback :D

Anonymous said...

Wonder when's varghese is going to be "beatified"? is it anywhere soon??