Well, for the beginning part of my review, I’d like to forget Bharathan’s ‘Rathinirvedam’; let’s begin by taking Rajeev Kumar’s ‘Rathinirvedam’ as a fresh movie. Let’s forget the Bharathan movie, seen as a cult classic, for some time.
‘Rathinirvedam’ is a ‘coming of age’ story, one that tells the story of a young guy Pappu (Sreejith) getting obsessed with a much elder Rathi (Shwetha Menon). Pappu, who comes to spend his vacations at his mother’s village, gets attracted towards Rathi Chechi, an attraction that gets transformed into lust and ends up in a relationship that’s bound to change lives. This in a nutshell is what ‘Rathinirvedam’ is all about; but the film narrates in a very sensitive manner what ‘coming of age’ was in the 1970s and not the new 21st century, which is shorn of all the innocence that characterized the times when Padmarajan wrote and based the script. Hence it’s wise of director T.K.Rajeev Kumar to have based his film in the 1970s and not the present era.
Rajeev Kumar’s ‘Rathinirvedam’ is no doubt worth your money and time; you just need to see the film as a good film based on a good script and not as something ‘objectionable’ that you got to go watch secretively. It’s no porn stuff, it’s life, seen through the eyes of one of the most brilliant of script-writers we ever had. There’s no doubt eroticism in it, but that’s integral to the plot. There’s sex in it; but that’s integral to the fabric of life. Well, don’t we see these elements in the so-called ‘decent family entertainers’ these days? Don’t approach the film with the outlook that some blockheads had while approaching and appreciating films like ‘Rugmini’ and ‘Venalkinavukal’. Another thing, to be noted, is that this film needn’t be compared to the Bharathan directed ‘Rathinirvedham’ or you’ll end up comparing Shwetha Menon to Jayabharathy and realizing that Jayabharathy was indeed better and that the T.K.Rajeev Kumar film somehow lacks that aura of innocence that the Bharathan movie had. You may even be left wondering why Rathi Chechi’s costumes had to be so colourful; “Do we see such Rathi Chechis with so colourful costumes and such a noticeable ‘aranjaanam’ (waistband) in the villages of Kerala”- that’s what you may be tempted to ask. Sigh!! Well, see this is an independent movie and go watch it, enjoy it. It’s a slice of life.
Shwetha Menon has put in a good performance; she has lent credibility to the role of Rathi Chechi, though there is a touch of aggressiveness in her performance which, if done away with, could have made it even better. Sreejith impresses us with his Pappu. Well done Sreejith. The supporting artists are all good.
Manoj Pillai’s cinematography is one of the big highlights of the film. He, teaming up with art director Mohandas, who has recreated the aura of the 1970s with the right kind of properties, has done his best in supporting director Rajeev Kumar in the best of ways.
This is M.Jayachandran’s 100th film as music director and he has given us some good songs indeed, which jell well with the theme. Here again is a warning; don’t compare the songs to those of the Bharathan movie and don’t expect the Kavalam- Devarajan magic.
Well, this is no new script; ‘Rathinirvedam’ was written over three decades ago by Padmarajan, a man who wrote scripts and directed films with a masterstroke. No point in reviewing the script, which is already one of the most noted of scripts ever written in Malayalam.
T.K.Rajeev Kumar deserves to be appreciated for having dared to recreate (well, that’s the word that I’d use and not ‘remake’) ‘Rathinirvedham’. He has remained true to the script. Of course he could have toned down things at certain places. He could have taken care of the costumes in a better manner and could even have taken care of the ‘innocence’ factor. He should have taken care not to go for deliberate shots that want to underline things, especially things sensuous, they should have been left as such. He should have taken care not to come up with things suggestive. But the film, as it is, is a good work, one that you should definitely go watch.
Verdict: Good work, could definitely have been better. Appreciable, watchable.