Happy Father’s Day? Eight Complex Father-Son/Daughter Relationships Of Malayalam Cinema
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From a staunch patriarch in Joji to a disciplinarian in Perumthachan, here are eight Malayalam films that depicted rather complicated relationships between fathers and sons or daughters:

Veendum Chila Veettukaryangal

With a climax falling in line with a familiar plot device of “it was us all along” that tends to slightly lean towards an aversion from aspirations, Veendum Chila Veettukaryangal is one of director Sathyan Anthikad’s best. Actor Thillakan portrays the character of Thirumuttathu Kochuthoma who puts his close association with his youngest son Roy to test, for the sole reason of making the son realize the hardships in life. 

The film explores the relationship between the father and son but the fact that sticks out is the ways through which Thilakan’s character tries to mend his son. Roy’s attempt to become an actor is also shown in a rather hilarious but pessimistic manner where Lohitadas provides him a piece of advice to venture into better career prospects. The performances by its supporting cast that includes Nedumudi Venu, KPSC Lalitha makes this an entertaining watch even today.

Perumthachan

The only directorial venture by Ajayan that won him a National Award saw him collaborate with legendary writer M.T.Vasudevan Nair and ace cinematographer Santhosh Sivan.  Perumthachan tells the story of a disciplinarian carpenter Raman Perumthachan played by Thilakan whose beliefs are questioned by his progressive son Kannan played by Prashanth. 

The film dwells upon caste issues and their consequences over generations. The film also yields to one of the most talked-about climaxes in Malayalam cinema.

Joji

Director Dileesh Pothans’s envisioning of Macbeth got everybody’s heads turning. Pothen used the Shakespearian classic as a plot device that showcased the consequences of patriarchy in a close-knit family of three siblings. Fahad Fasil portrayed the principal character of Joji, the youngest of them all who goes through a downward spiral in an attempt to become the next heir. 

This brings us to the next character named Kuttappan Panachel played wonderfully by Sunny PN Kuttappan, the flow-mouthed patriarch of the Panachel family who looks upon his offsprings as his loyal servants. The film beautifully showcases how various shades of Kuttappan are transformed to his three sons. While the eldest, Jomon played by Baburaj represents strength and loyalty his younger brother Jaison displays attributes of an opportunist followed by Joji, youngest of them all who is portrayed wayward yet cunning. What follows is a thrilling story of wealth and power struggle post the patriarch’s mysterious demise. 

Spadikam

Apart from giving Mohanlal one of his iconic and most celebrated characters “Aadu Thoma”, Spadikam is a tale that puts forth the consequences of bad parenting. 

Legendary actor Thilakan gave one of his career-best performances as the staunch yet narcissistic Maths professor C.P.Chacko, who deprives his son of not being able to reach up to his expectations, which eventually conditions Thomas to grow up as a rebel without a cause. Director Bhadran took inspiration from many real-life individuals to pen the characters. 

Narasimham

Though a quintessential blockbuster in every term, one can never shy away from the fact that the basic plotline is inspired by the star’s very own Spadikam which was released five years before Narasimham. Mohanlal plays the character of Poovalli Induchoodan, son of Justice Maranchery Karunakara Menon (Thilakan) who is released from prison after six years for a crime in which he was framed deliberately. This incident causes an estranged relationship between the father and son. 

The scene in which the characters of Thilakan and Mohanlal confront each other justifying their grounds by taking analogies from Mahabharat remains fresh even today. The dialogue “being a social animal, I too indulge in issues ” can be seen as an ode to Spadikam.

 Aarkkariyam

Cinematographer Sanu John Varghese’s directorial debut got everyone’s attention from its casting. A film starring Parvathy, Sharafudheen, and Biju Menon is experimental casting done right. Aarkkariyam is a family drama weaved into a thriller genre. The film tells the story of Shirley and Roy played by Parvathy and Sharafudheen who are settled in Mumbai. 

Due to the ongoing pandemic, they drive down to Kerala to stay with Shirley’s aging father Ittyavira played by Biju Menon. What follows is an intriguing thriller with dark revelations that explores the presumptive prospect of God’s plan.

Kireedam

This is Malayalam cinema’s very own Shakespearean tragedy. A despairing tale of a father who witnesses the downfall of his once hopeful son still manages to get our eyes moist thirty two years after its theatrical release. Mohanlal plays the role of Sethumadhavan, a youth who aspires to become a police officer. The source of his aspiration comes from his father Achuthan Nair (Thilakan) who is a righteous police constable. 

What follows is a story of how these aspirations are shattered due to an unprecedented event that changes the life of Sethumadhavan and his father. The final shot of Sethumadhavan’s picture being stuck in the wanted criminal chart still leaves us with an eerie sense and can be considered one of the iconic closing shots in Malayalam cinema.

Sangham

Sangham is an underrated classic under the Joshiy-Dennis Joseph collaboration. The film tells the story of Kuttapayi (Mammootty) son of a rich planter named Rappayi (Thilakan) in the Kottayam belt. Rappayi is a disciplined and hard-working patriarch of the family who is while Kuttapayi turns out to be a ruffian who invites trouble regularly which becomes a cause of concern for his wife Mollykutty (Seema). During certain instances, Kuttapayi also plans a theft at his own house to retrieve money from his authoritarian father. 

Things take a shift while Kuttapayi and his friends are forced to exile from their town following a ruckus. Kuttapayi comes across his illegitimate wife and daughter who are forced into prostitution. How Kuttapayi saves them from these dire consequences follows the rest of the story. Though not a huge success as their previous ventures like New Delhi and Nirakottu, Sangham can be termed as one of the early films that popularised characters from the Kottayam belt eventually leading up to monstrous hits like Kottayam Kunjachan.

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