"Moonam pakkam" : The third day


Moonam pakkam, like all other works of Padmarajan, is a piece of creative ingenuity.
The movie is centered around human relationships- the delicate nature of human relationships, their complexity, and the way the ordinary pattern of our lives revolves around these relationships. It focuses on the simple things that give meaning and purpose to life.
In this movie, the main focus is on the relationship between Jayaram (grandson) and Thilakan (grandfather). Jayaram gives meaning to Thilakan’s life, justifying his continuing existence.
But, on a closer look, we are made to realize that the movie portrays a delicate network of intertwined relationships:
Nalini, whose life is solely nourished by Thilakan’s generosity.
Bhadra, whose dreams and goals revolve around Jayaram. While her grandfather fills the void of her parents, Jayaram gives her life a direction, a goal.
Jagathi- yet another lonely soul, who integrates himself into Thilakan’s network and fills the void in his own life.
The old doctor, whose association with Thilakan is so old and deep that one tends to overlook it.
They are all people deprived in their own ways, but the deprivation is buried by the social network that these people have created, filling the void in each others’ lives, and giving warmth to each other.
On the peripheries of this network of human relationships, are physical factors, which derive meaning from the rim of human existence that surrounds them- the lovely old house built in wood, the pond, the trees and fields, the sea and sands, the forts and ruins…
Death will always be a haunting fiasco in all our lives. This movie addresses the impact of death on our carefully woven lives.
Death targets our near and dear, and we learn to come to terms with it…we shift our goal and focus, and we continue to live.
Sometimes, death brings to surface the depth of a relationship. Also, death is powerful; it puts back the focus on all the negativities surrounding us, highlighting our hollow existence. Both these are highlighted with great sensitivity in this movie:
The grandson-grandfather relationship is so deep, that it is ordinary and natural. Had the grandson not met with death, the essence of this relationship would have been lost on us.
Also, while the grandson lives, Thilakan’s platter seems full. His grandson’s death brings to light the frightful loneliness and emptiness in his life.
This movie has a simplicity about it. It is so ordinary that one would mistake it for real life. Like Vincent says- simple works of art are the most difficult to replicate coz they have practiced the most rigid elimination.
Like all of Padmarajan’s movies, the location is a tranquil place, with immense natural beauty, and very little people…where one can hear the sounds of nature.
This movie is built on a deep rooted emotional plane- there is no element of heightened emotion all along the movie, and then it terminates abruptly with a haunting climax, throwing on our face, the horrors and the powers of reality, that we so cleverly choose to not acknowledge.

5 thoughts on “"Moonam pakkam" : The third day

  1. Sensitively written. Amongst all Padmarajan's movies, I think this was one of the rare ones that he left his pet theme of potent sexuality ( both repressed and expressed ) in varying degrees back home and took Death instead. Even the releationship between Pachu and Bhadra are treated with almost 'playful' respect, a degree different from a similar relationship he explores in Thinkalazhcha Nalla Divasam (1985)( Ashokan and Kukku Parameshwaran), according to me. But above all, Moonnam Pakkam is about Love in the time of Death, something our film makers have kept away from trying to discuss onscreen.Please keep writing.

  2. Very true. Most of his movies explore relationships. There was this little piece I had written on Thoovanathumbikall…will post it here as soon as I can find it. Thank you for reading. Writing is always most prolific when the reader extends the writer's thoughts on the subject. Hope to see you here regularly :)Vidya

  3. Yet another beautiful movie from Padmarjan…. It always amazes me how each of the 18 movies he directed are different from one another and still how they all are brilliant… Well written review

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