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Jul 7, 2009

Naalu Pennungal

Naalu Pennungal or Four Women or Four Ladies or Four Females of the Human kind however you want to translate it is one of the recent offerings from renowned Malayalam film maker Adoor Gopalakrishnan. Adoor Gopalakrishnan and G.Aravindan were the stalwarts of parallel cinema(we used to call these 'award padams') in Malayalam during the last three decades of the last century.

It is good to see Adoor still going strong. His 'award padams' were the easier to digest of the lot. Naalu Pennungal, carries forward that tradition of bearable intellectualism. Infact I did hear that the film ran in packed houses in Kerala which is a notable achievement for a parallel/alternative/indie Malayalam film. Adoor himself confesses that Naalu Pennungal is not complex like his other films.

The process in which this movie was made could be deconstructed thus: Adoor selected four female oriented stories from Thakazhy Sivasankara Pillai's(Jnanpith winner) short stories. Padmapriya, Geethu Mohandas, Manju Pillai and Nandita Das were given lead roles in each one. He made the cinematographer set a really shallow depth of field which ensured any element in the landscape which might have dated or showed an intrusion of modernity(say an internet cafe near boat jetty) in the film was made permanently out of focus. The writer being Thakazhi and the director being Adoor ensured that film would be set in the scenic locales of the Venice of the East aka Alleppy.

Serious analyzes of this film are littered all over the internet so I wouldn't dare to do that. Since all four stories are female-centric, the film provide ample fodder for discussions about latent feminism in Kerala society in the fifties and the sixties. As far as I am concerned, I liked the movie - four interesting stories about four different women who inhabits the same landscape of Kuttanad. It has also renewed my respect for Thakazhi, supposedly one of the greatest writers Malayalam ever produced but I had known him as Thakazhi of the Doordarshan's notorious drag or a TV serial by the name, 'Kayar'.



Good Review, I absolutely love this film I wish I could see it again.