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I was intrigued with this film when you first mentioned it, because I knew nothing about it (nor anything about Malayalam cinema). So, it was great fun to learn more about it (sad ending and all) and thanks so much for including the film clips so I could hear the songs.

Silver Screenings

This sounds like a beautiful and haunting film. Thanks for the introduction!

Katherine Matthews

It really is such a beautiful film -- it's on my list of films that really deserve a restoration (including new subtitles, the ones that exist now leave much to be desired). And I have to thank you for the push to finally write about it. I love it so much that I've been afraid of doing it justice. And I've made a note to also write a post just about the music of Chemmeen, which deserve more attention.

Celia Philips

Hi Katherine,

Chemmeen is indeed a wonderful gift from India to the world cinema and as a Malayali, I am so glad that you like it. I could not figure out where you are from but I take that you are not Indian. I have always found it difficult to explain to people outside India that Indian cinema is more than just Bollywood. Thanks to Bahubali, now the world knows that there are other regional movie industries in India that are highly active and brilliant. And here I am awestruck, by the amount of enthusiasm you show in reviewing Malayalam movies. I hope you get a chance to watch all the classics in Malayalam.

Although people might refer to the movies of the 80s and 90s as the golden period of Malayalam cinema, there were fantastic movies with great depth even before the golden period. Movies with socially relevant as well as plain entertainment-oriented concepts. These were low budget movies compared to their contemporary ones from the rest of India.

One of my personal favourite movies is 'Thriveni' starring Sathyan( Palani in Chemmeen), Prem Nazir and Sharadha. It is a romantic movie with absolutely brilliant songs by veteran duo G. Devarajan-Vayalar.

A few other movies you might like to watch is 'Ashwamedham' (where Chemmeen -fame Sheela acts as a bride who finds out that she suffers from leprosy just a week before her wedding), "Murappennu", "Nadhi", " Yakshi"( horror-psychological thriller) and "Anubhavangal Paalichakal" (which deals with topics of communism in Kerala, domestic violence, extra-marital affairs etc.) These movies may have not attained national or international fame nevertheless, they are movies that are a must watch. Some of them are black and white and the acting may seem...well, a little melodramatic.it took some time for natural acting to seep into Malayalam movies.

As with every art form, Malayalam movies are influenced by the history of Kerala, it's culture, it's traditions, the problems faced by it's youth and women, the way Malayalis carry themselves, their food, their love for subtle humour, their secular outlook . This knowledge will help you understand the movies better even if you do not understand the language.

Let me stop here. I'll look to reading more of your posts on Malayalam movies. Keep going! God bless!


Celia, thank you so much for your kind words and for your recommendations. The only problem, of course, is finding older films that have been subtitled (since I understand only the very basics of the language -- you're right, I'm not Indian, I'm Canadian). But I will make a note of your suggestions and keep my fingers crossed for subtitles. I do try to learn as much as I can to help with my understanding, and thankfully there are so many Malayalis out there willing to help me learn and understand as well.

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Totally Filmi's appearances elsewhere

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    I'll be writing about Virus.
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    Check for my Swashathon entry in July 2017.
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    Check out my Great Villains entry on "Mogambo khush hua! Mr. India's most iconic villain".
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    I will be writing about Junglee.
  • "Winter Sports Blogathon" organized by Le Mot du Cinephiliaque

    I will be writing about Breakaway.
  • "Criterion Blogathon" organized by Criterion Blues

    Where I've contributed my review of Satyajit Ray's classic film Charulata.
  • "The Swashathon! A Blogathon of Swashbuckling Adventure" organized by Movies Silently

    Check out my Swashathon! entry on 'Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp (1952)'.
  • The "Classic Movie History Project Blogathon" organized by Movies Silently

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  • The "Beach Party Blogathon" organized by Speakeasy - Classic Movies & More

    I will be writing about "Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal" directed by Ajith Pillai.
  • The "My Favorite Classic Movie" Blogathon for National Classic Movie Day

    I will be writing about "Chemmeen".

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