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Oct 7, 2006

Thazhvaram

Thazhvaram, directed by Bharathan and penned by M.T.Vasudevan Nair is perhaps the first real Western in Malayalam cinema. Highly remniscent of Sergio Leone masterpieces like The Good The Bad and The Ugly and For a Few Dollars More, the wild west in Kerala is the 'thazhvaram' or the valley. The high-ranges or the Western Ghat region of Kerala and the valleys thereof have always attracted the adventurous and the pioneers. Symbolically these places are the closest Kerala has to the unchartered frontier that was the old West in America.

Mohanlal is Bharathan's protagonist, so often portrayed by Clint Eastwood in Leone's movies. The terse talking lone ranger seeking revenge is wrapped in a signature Indian poncho in case of Eastwood, here Mohanlal sports a black wool shawl striped with red which is infact worn by farmers in the region.

The film opens with a long shot of the lone human figure, slowly advancing against the magnanimity of the landscape(or whatever magnanimity you can wrestle out of a Kerala landscape.) A wailing, haunting instrumental typical of Westerns plays in the background.

There are four main characters in the movie, they are pretty much all the people that feature in it, there are not many distractions. It is beautifully shot and never wavers from its course. Salim Ghouse, a Hindi TV serial actor, remember Bharat in Doordarshan's campus drug drama of the late eighties - Subah, is the guy who plays the villian in this film. Shammi Thilakan has dubbed for him here. Sumalatha and Shankradi makes the rest of the caste along with the villian and the hero.

The final scenes are also very Leone-sque with the fight taking place in a large open space with vultures watching over. And then the lone ranger leaves once the fight is over, end of story. A very good movie by Malayalam standards.

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2 comments:

nice to see the reviews of thazhvaram and idavela. Though the review is a bit shabby considering the quality of the movie. other malayalam cult classics i know will be Seasons and Kallan Pavithran .
P.S all B.O. flops except idavela.
no review of Bhramaram :(
and considering the way prithviraj is going i dont think the superstar era is over.

nice to see review of thazhvaram.

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