Jan 23, 2009

Chemmen - A great National Award Mallu Movie

“Chemmen” is the distinguished work of Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, an eminent luminary on the literary firmament in Kerala, South India. Harmoniously blending the progressive realism with a new romanticism, this classic novel, set in Kerala, has the gripping qualities of a fable or a fantasy, in which the lives, superstitions, the inner beliefs, the traditions and suffering of the fisher folks are portrayed as way of life with deep and significant moral.
Winner of the President’s Award, the most coveted literary honor in India, “Chemmeen” is a tragic tale of great emotional appeal. It has the distinction of being translated into 14 languages of India and in all important languages of the world – English, Russian, German, Italian, French, Czech, Spanish, Polish etc. Since Its publication in Malayalam in 1956, the novel has run into several editions in quick succession, setting an all India record for all time.


The Story of “Chemmeen” in brief, centers around an arrogant and ambitious fisherman, Chembankunju, whose only aim is to own a boat and a net. Sacrificing the little joys and pleasures of life, he saves whatever he can and succeeds in buying a boat and a net with the help of Pareekutty, a young Muslim trader, on condition that the fish hauled by the boat will be sold to him.

Chembankunj’s pretty daughter, Karuthamma, and the Muslim trader Pareekutty, love each other. It was pure affection, which gradually blossomed into chaste love. Karuthamma’s mother, Chakki, knows about it and remind her daughter about the life they lead with in the four thick walls of fort traditions and taboos and how she should keep up the purity of the sea coast to save it from destruction.

Realizing the tremendous impact of the traditional belief, Karuthamma forsakes her love for Pareekutty and willingly marries Palani, a sturdy orphan youth, discovered by Chembankunju on the sea in the course of one of his fishing expeditions. Soon after the marriage, she accompanies her husband to his village and sets up a family of their own, despite her mother’s sudden illness and her fathers request to stay. In his fury and frustration, Chembankunju disowns Karuthamma.

On acquiring a boat and a net and subsequantely adding one more, Chembankunju becomes more greedy and hearless, break his promise, refuse to sell the fish to Preekutty as he no ready cash. With his deceit and dishonesty, Chembankunju drives Preekutty to bankruptcy and causes his ruin. He even forsake his good neighbor and childhood friend, Achenkunju. After death of his wife, Chakki, Chembankunj marries another women, Pappikunju, the widow of a rich an, K. Valakkaran, from he has bought his first boat. Unable to bear her father’s partial treatment, Panchami, Chebankunju’s youner daughter, leaves hoe to join her sister, Karuthama, on arrival of her step mother.

Meanwhile, Kruthamma endeavours to build up a happy home. She remains a loyal and faithful wife. But scandal about her old love fro Pareekutty spreads among the people in the village haunts Palani. Fearing disaster by joining the of an allegedly unchaste woman’s husband, Palani’s friends ostracize him and refuse to take him for fishing with them. Karuthamma swears her chastity. Palani believes her. He decides to go for fishing alone.

By a strange stroke of irresistible Destiny, karuthamma and Pareekutty met on a moon-lit night, their old love is awakened and they join themselves in an ecstatic embrace when Palani is away on the rough sea, baiting a big shark. The code is defied. Kadalamma, the Goddess of the Sea, exacts a terrible vengeance. Palani is cought in the whirlpool and a treacherous under- current, followed by storm, thunder and lightning. The sea in its fury devours Palani as the true lovers find bliss in each other’s arm on the shore. Next morning, the true lovers, hand in hand, are found dead, washed ashore. At a distance, there lies a baites dead shark.

Sathyan Palani
Sheela Karuthamma
Madhu Pareekutty
Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair Chembankunju
S.P. Pillai Achenkunju
Adoor Bhavani Chakki
Addor Pankajam Nallapennu
Latha Panchami
Rajakumari Pappikunju
Eddie Thurayal Arayan
Kottayam Chellappan K. Valakkaran

And hundreds of other regular fisher folks

Music: Salil Chowdhury
Dialogue: S.L. Puram Sadanandan
Songs (lyrics): Valyalar Rama Varma
Playback: Manna Dey, Yesudas, P. Leela, Udaya Bhanu, Santha
Stills: Sivan
Edting: Hrishikes Mukherjee, K.D. George
Cinematography Marcus Bartley, U. Rajagopal
Produced by Kanmani Films
Producer Babu

Director Ramu Kariat

Processed: Gemini Studios Laboratory
Movie released year: 1965
Re released year 1976

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