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A Film That ‘Bridged’ the Decades!

The decades-old Nagambadam bridge in Kottayam refused to give in despite every attempt to bring it down, while the Palarivattom flyover under construction didn’t wait for any external efforts to bring itself down. The strong monsoon rains and the news about building, demolishing and rebuilding bridges, bring back memories of one of my favourite political

The decades-old Nagambadam bridge in Kottayam refused to give in despite every attempt to bring it down, while the Palarivattom flyover under construction didn’t wait for any external efforts to bring itself down. The strong monsoon rains and the news about building, demolishing and rebuilding bridges, bring back memories of one of my favourite political satires of Mollywood, Panchavadippalam. This 1984 masterpiece by K G George was an adaptation of a story titled ‘Paalam Apakadathil’ penned by veteran satirist Veloor Krishnankutty. The names of the characters are one noticeable aspect of the movie. The henpecked and indecisive panchayat president is named ‘Dussaasana Kurup’, the crafty character who creates fights between parties, taking everyone for a ride is ‘Shighandi Pillai’, the bootlegger-sex worker of the locality is ‘Poothana’ – so goes the very ‘creative’ list of names! The exaggerated storyline and the animated acting by the finest cast of Mollywood which included Bharath Gopi, Thilakan, Srividya, Sukumari, Nedumudi Venu and Jagathy Sreekumar, among others, helped provide absolute onscreen bliss. The makers also didn’t forget to take a dig at Godmen through V D Rajappan’s ‘Swami’ character!

There are two particular sequences that I love to highlight. While the opposition party objects to the idea of a new bridge, the ruling party ropes in an engineer to inspect the bridge. He comes, get bribed, intoxicated and finally, recommends demolition of the bridge. The opposition party alleges that “it is a clear case of bribery. The engineer has even puked on the bridge”. In response to this, the panchayat president says, “Don’t worry the bridge will be cleaned first and then demolished!” and that sums up a lot of problem-solving methods that we practice these days!
Sreenivasan has portrayed a very subtle and silent character, a wheelchair (cart)-bound local guy who anticipates a new bridge with a lot of passion and is amused by the political fights going around him. The final scene of the movie shows his cart floating in the river along with the pieces of the fallen bridge. Each time I see my friends fighting in the name of politics, I remember the floating cart of Panchavadippalam!

A muted opposition, utopian ideas, fighting politicians joining hands to make money, corruption, red tape – believe me, each sequence in the movie is still very relevant! If you recall all the movies you have watched and try to find out their relevance now, you will see that there are hardly a few movies that stand out and Panchavadippalam undoubtedly is one among them. Watch it again, just to be sure that we haven’t changed a bit!

Silent Thriller
‘Song of Silence’, directorial debut of techie Sajan Cherian Mathew has been released. The 25-minute-long non verbal musical thriller, produced by Babu Footloosers, is an unflinching depiction of growing incidents of child abuse cases, relying completely on background score.

Is there a Zootopia 2?
An investigative thriller with a strong element of suspense, some inspiration on chasing your dreams and a strong message against stereotyping – that’s what Zootopia is all about! Now, rumors are rife that Walt Disney is working on Zootopia 2 and perhaps a third edition too. There is no confirmation so far but reports say an unknown animated project has been slated by Walt Disney for release in 2020. Can it be a Zootopia sequel? Any way, in the mean time, check out Zootopia on available digital formats. Kids would certainly be interested in an animated 3D.

(The author is Director, Mozanta Technologies)

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