If there is a listicle for the most disturbing and tyrannous villains of all time, Mammootty’s Bhaskara Patelar would top the list, even 26 years after its release. We see a remorseless landlord, who fears no one and leers at his slave’s misfortune. You empathise with his slave Thommi, when Patelar sleeps with his wife and a helpless Thommi goes back to serve his lord. The master-slave dictatorship makes you flinch and you wait for Patelar to metamorphose to a less evil version of himself, but in vain. We are told that Patelar was once a righteous man whose turn of mind is largely due to the villagers singing praises of him. The transformation of Patelar from a typical Mangalore-based man to a ruthless autocrat in South Canara will make for a gripping prequel.
In a society where men are allowed to explore all shades of grey and women are expected to adhere to the whites, it is rare to see a flirtatious female sans the blacks, whites or greys. Neither is slapstick comedy used to pass off Rosamma (Anusree) as funny nor is she under any compulsion to explain her personal life to her friend or the audience.
When Kunjoonju (Prithviraj) in Swapnakoodu has casual flings and he later ends up in love with Kamala (Meera Jasmine), it simply comes across as a rich Acchayan doing his thang! But had it been a woman, we’d have had too many raised eyebrows and this is where Rosamma is a perfect fit. She flirts with five men simultaneously and later unapologetically goes on to marry another one to keep her family happy. Malayalam films are in no dearth of powerful, bold female characters who live life on their own terms. Keeping the rights, wrongs and morales aside, to see a full-fledged cinema about Rosamma will be a right addition to this list.
“Ras al Khaimayile aa valiya veettil aa rajakumaran ottaykku aayirunnu.” You’re not a millennial malayalee if you haven’t imitated Girirajan Kozhi’s LOL line even once! Girirajan’s character has very little screen time in the mass entertainer but that one scene with him in a yellow shirt and red rose, proposing to Mary with by-hearted lines will split one’s sides even today. Remember him riding in on a horse-back to George’s cafe? You can’t help but ask, “Iyaal evidina varunathu?” (Where did this man come from?) From being alone in a bungalow in Ras al Khaimah to asking for valet parking for his horse, here’s one character whose story we really want to know!
At a time when you’re sucked into Mathan and Apu’s whirlwind romance, Sameera’s Ikka comes in from Dubai and lands a tight slap on her face. Breaking off from a train of thoughts, we are bewildered seeing Sameera’s dream and ambitions snatched away from her. Soubin doesn’t have to do much to make an impression. One slap and a loud scream at the airport is enough to justify Sameera’s trepidation. What makes such men to be shrouded in male chauvinism? Were they born this way or are they injected with doses of patriarchy? A prequel please!
The Thief in Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum
One film where the screenplay is the hero and you know nothing about the lead character beyond a series of incidents you see him in. Where did this person come from? Who is he? What’s his name?
Fahadh Faasil’s character fabricates stories with such conviction that you could easily give him the benefit of doubt when he stands his ground after the theft. You catch glimpses of the falsifier he is when he expertly clips and swallows a fellow passenger’s gold chain in a moving bus, and later takes on her husband’s name as well – Prasad. You want to slap the truth out of him but you also know that this is someone who will not succumb to any pressure. When a police officer hits him while taking him for a dump (to recover the chain), he says that he is ‘in no mood’ because he was hit. But for a fleeting moment you see a tinge of goodness when he reveals where he has hidden the chain and later when he posts a letter, thanking the couple for letting him free. A prequel to this intriguing character will make for an engrossing watch.
Mariam a.k.a Queen Mary – Charlie
Charlie was a string which connected many tales and the most soul-stirring of the lot has to be that of Queen Mary’s. Beautifully essayed by the late Kalpana, here was a middle-aged woman, who’s heart-wrenching story would stay with us, years after first seeing her. Mariam’s husband pimped her to other men and years later she’d be diagnosed with AIDS. In Mariam, we see a broken woman with a warm smile. Did she ever stand up for herself? Why did she surrender to her iniquitous husband? Was she aware that her young daughter would end with her same fate if she ended her life? Kalpana’s internalised performance leaves us with a lump in our throat when Mariam disappears into the sea, leaving us with many unanswered questions.
Bhadra—Kannezhuthi Pottum Thottu
One of the best revenge dramas of all-time, Kannezhuthi Pottum Thottu saw vengeance through female eyes. Bhadra (played by a terrific Manju Warrier) will settle at nothing before eliminating Natesan Muthalali (Thilakan), an old landlord who killed her parents. She entices both Natesan and his equally immoral son Uthaman (Biju Menon), and deviously leads them to fight each other. While most of her childhood was spent in premeditating Natesan’s death, a sequel to Bhadra’s life with her lover Moosakutty, will reveal a new dimension to this character.
All through this Padmarajan classic, we see Clara (Sumalatha) through Jayakrishnan’s (Mohanlal) eyes. Clara has a mysterious aura to her and never lets anyone uncover it, not even Jayakrishnan. She runs away from Jayakrishnan to join the flesh trade but visits him when she wants to be free from the shackles of the four walls. Clara loves Jayakrishnan and confides in him that her marriage with a widower was her way of liberating them from each other. But why did she take to her heels when he proposed marriage? On her second visit, why does she not stay back knowing that he’d receive her with open arms? Most importantly, who is Clara beyond Jayakrishnan? To unravel the many layers of this enigma of a person, a spin-off will be much appreciated.
Ripper Ravi—Anjaam Paathira
He is as ‘ecstatic’ about killing humans as is a child who gets to devour his favourite ice-cream. We see him going into a trance when he describes the joy of cracking a human skull with a hammer and his eyes gleam when he claims that he is not a psychopath but one who is addicted to ecstasy. Ravi (Indrans) lived a normal childhood but dropped out of school to help his uncle at the meat shop. His passion for killing began when he saw the butchered hens writhe in pain. When slaughtering animals no longer gave him the high, he carried it forward to humans for euphoria. Here, he got the added pleasure of seeing the wails and cries at the funeral which fueled him to further his gruesome activities. What goes in the minds of serial killers like Ripper Ravi? What makes them so inhumane without an iota of remorse? This is one character who deserves a film that explores his psyche.