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December 18th, 2005
06:18 pm

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Thanmathra

Watched the Malayalam film Thanmathra today at Sangeeth theatre. This is Blessy's directorial venture after Kazhcha, and tells the story of a middle-aged secretariat employee named Rameshan Nair, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The story is inspired from Padmarajan's short story called Orma.

Rameshan Nair (Brilliantly played by Mohanlal) lives in Thiruvananthapuram with his wife and two children. His father (Nedumudi Venu) had wanted him to become an IAS officer, but Rameshan was unable to fulfill his father's ambition. He is now hoping to make his son, who is a plus two student, an IAS officer, and this has been a wish of "three generations", he says. For his son, Rameshan Nair is a "friend, philosopher and guide". It was then that he starts forgetting his office files and bike keys, and is diagnosed of Alzheimer’s disease.

Memories are the most precious things in Life. The horror that our memories are leaving us one by one - that would be a terrible feeling. One would have expected Blessy to make a film fully exploiting the talent of a great actor like Mohanlal, showing the tragedy of Rameshan Nair as he slowly sinks into forgetfulness. However, after few brief scenes of Rameshan forgetting minor things, Blessy abruptly converts him to a totally broken person overnight, after which he doesn’t even recognize his wife and children. In the whole of second half, Mohanlal's role is something like that of mentally retarded person. I kept on wondering how the director will end the film, and expected something memorable, however, he disappointed there as well.

Thanmathra has several scenes crafted touchingly, mainly portraying the relationship between Father and Son. Rameshan Nair narrating his childhood days in which he had lied to his mother, and his son crying and admitting that he had also lied, Rameshan Nair creating a mock fight with his father as he is about to bid farewell to him - all are examples. In another memorable scene in the second half, Rameshan Nair recognizes his childhood girlfriend, as his wife stands and watches them helplessly.

However, Blessy is not consistent in blending the scenes with sensitivity. His portrayals of the harshness of the World go to the extremes, and are nearly unbelievable. The scene of farewell program that the secretariat employees organize for Rameshan Nair, is an example. All his colleagues look totally unaffected by Rameshan's tragedy. His son (don’t know the name of the actor) speaks smartly but there is a touch of artificiality when he dictates the retirement application for his father. It looked like the audience were getting affected by this, and they were taking these scenes as comic and laughing loudly. In a later scene, the director kills a character called Joseph (Jagathi). Probably he wanted to portray Human Tragedy, but I felt that this was totally out of place.

It is evident that Blessy wanted to make a good artistic film, but unfortunately he doesn't succeed in that completely. However, Thanmathra is a good and different film as per today's Malayalam movie standards, and establishes Blessy as one of the very few Malayalam film directors who take the media seriously. I think I had gone for the film with higher expectations, hence was disappointed.

The Music by Mohan Sithara and the technical department is excellent, and I liked the "kattu viriyithe kannamma" song especially, which fits well in the film.

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From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 3rd, 2006 08:51 am (UTC)

On Thanmathra

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bad review
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 5th, 2006 06:01 am (UTC)
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Hello Ratheesh,
I read ur blogs occasionally and I really admire the way u put things on words. I just cudnt believe u made such a bad review abt Thanmatra. Maybe u were not the right mood when u were watching the movie. I dont think this beautiful Padmarajan story cud be made in celluloid better than this way.
Chitra...
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 8th, 2006 07:32 am (UTC)

About your comments on Thanmatra

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Ratheesh, hi, i have not seen the movie, true, i am not an authority to deliver comments either, but i would like to say so, if i may"we as viewvers, should not commnet on the efforts and the veriations of the effort and how succesful he is(blessy) have, if you have not done so, yourself." Blessy has porved himself, as to, how life like and real his moview are to a normel human being, with" kazhcha"Alzheimer's Disease is the most complex stat of mind which happens, because the person cannot contain the feeling that his mind goes through, it can be a blessing as well as a curse. ratheesh, you have been very crual with your words.you should appreciate a man, who has convinced us that love can conquer the most complex mind and diseases. 'hats off to blssy. and you too Ratheesh for the guts.

Sapna Anu B. George(sapna_george@hotmail.com)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 8th, 2006 06:16 pm (UTC)
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i think his review is very accurate thank u very much. yes the director had good intentions, i cannot argue with that. the movie did touch me, and made me cry many times. but the second half of the movie and the ending, just didnt cut it. it was surreal and i just didn't feel fullfilled at the end. these were my exact thoughts after watching the movie. so ratheesh u are not alone. but good effort Blessy =)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 29th, 2006 05:54 am (UTC)
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I agree with the review. While this was an excellent film compared to what's out in the market today, the full emotional scope of the story was not properly explored by the director. Mohanlal and Arjun (the son) have given outstanding performances, and the dialogue and situations are the most realistic I have ever seen in malayalam films. There was a lot in the portrayal of them as an "average" family that struck me, and I am sure most people will find something in the first half that reflects their own lives. Even though malayalam filmdon has a long way to go to catch with most European arthouse films, I definitely recommend Thanamathra to all who enjoy good filmmaking.

PS- would definitely not recommend it to people who enjoy films like Valliyettan or Swapnakoodu.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 9th, 2006 12:24 pm (UTC)
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Hi Ratheesh
Ithoru sathyasandhamaaya review aayi enikku thonni..i enjoyed the film..i liked the film...but Even i had the same feeling as yours when the scenes like Jagathy's death,colleagues laughing and how the character suddenly forgets the wife and kids etc etc..but i disagree with you in the comment of mentally retarded person..once you lose memory i think you willl behave in that way only...and i dont think there was a better climax than this..because if you had noted at the end there is sentence displayed in screen which is something like "ee prapancham muzhuvan prakasham parathunna surya rasmikku polum oru divasamaanu aayussennu" which concludes it all..


No doubt that it is one of the wonderful film i have seen in recent times..especially in a situation when thaskaraveeran, Naran, thommanum makkalum etc are becoming mega hits the courage shown by Blessy should be encouraged..but thanmathra would have been even more better if he had taken more care to it..
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 9th, 2006 01:59 pm (UTC)

Re: Thanmatra review

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My response to the movie is at 2 levels :
1) An unbeleivable portrayal by Mohanlal ( shows how a talent like Lal can be tapped ). One of the great performances I have seen (ranks right up there with the best ) which delves into the complexity of the character ( Imagine when you lose your memory , the whole life becomes meaniingless and I do not agree with the comment that it bordered on mental retardation) -

2) But No doubt , this is a depressing movie - I could not get over the injustice meted out by life (destiny?) on Lal's character .It makes you wonder what exactly Blessy was trying to tell here - was it to depict the unpredictability of life , was it to showcase Lal's acting powress or was it to just say ,however hard you try , life just sucks!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 21st, 2006 09:08 am (UTC)

My opinion on THANMATHRA

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No doubt the movie is well made and really a tribute to his guru sri padmarajan.If at all there is a flaw,that is the role of Innocent.Performance of Arjun lan is eceptional and that of LAL is uncomparable
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 1st, 2006 07:53 am (UTC)

its utter nonsense

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hi ratheesh. this is a classic case of misuse of technology by a person of high arrogance levels. i wonder how some one having some cyberspace can write whatever coming to his mind and put shame to all mallus. thanmatra is a great film with once in a life time performance by mohanlal. my humble advice to you: please dont misuse technology. your review is totally out of context and let me ask one question? afterall what is your qualification to do this????? dont misunderstand. thank you.
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From:ratheesh
Date:March 1st, 2006 12:57 pm (UTC)

Re: its utter nonsense

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This was a hilarious comment! Thanks.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 21st, 2006 06:37 pm (UTC)

Re: its utter nonsense

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hello rathish,

i think by this time u may be hiding somewhere in shame. thanmatra has bagged almost all the available awards. a clean sweep. it shows the quality of the movie. please stop reviewing classic things. you can do it for films like paandippada, chanthupottu, raayamaanikyam, kilukkam kilukilukkam etc. but you have to be born again to vwnture to review classic things. good luck in next birth.
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From:ratheesh
Date:March 22nd, 2006 02:35 am (UTC)

Re: its utter nonsense

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That was yet another good one, Thanks!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 24th, 2006 07:26 pm (UTC)

Re: its utter nonsense

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poor ratheesh,
im a kannadiga and watched thanmatra from manoranjan theatre on the first day of the release first show. a diehard mohanlal fan a mallu friend of mine took me there. after the show all the patrons just got up and stood there and clapped and then left the hall. i saw such an incidence for the first time in my life. some of them were wiping their tears. a mallu waiting for the next show asked me 'padam engane?' (am i right????) and i told. your mohanlal and the film will get a national award. im sure it is better than black of amithabh. you mallus are really lucky. pls dont insult greats.
urs,
Appachi Gowda
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From:ratheesh
Date:March 25th, 2006 04:38 am (UTC)

Re: its utter nonsense

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Hi Appachi Gowda,

Even Appa Rao and Appachi Chattopadhyaya commented in similar lines. Incidentally, they all commented from the same network. You seem to be having a nice gang there!

I too am a Mohanlal fan, and I believe that he is one of the all-time-great actors of India. If you read my post carefully, you wont see anything in that which can be called as an "insult" for the film or the actor. Not sure what made you think so.

Anyways, I am going to close this thread here, and I may not be publishing any more comments on this thread unless they are very humorous.

Regards,
Ratheesh
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 3rd, 2006 11:11 am (UTC)

Re: its utter nonsense

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no doubt that you are mohanlal fan :)
because i faced the same kind of comments from my friends who are mohanlal fans( not fans of his performance or characters)when i said the same things what ratheesh have listed in his review.. they even went to the extent of calling me a fault finder or cynic...they consider "Naran" as a once in a lifetime movie :-D

and i think healthy criticisms we should accept..one more comment every one is entitled to have their opinion and we should respect others opinions even if it is not in favourable to our opinion..

no feelings intended
Regards,
Vinod
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 19th, 2006 03:44 am (UTC)

Read the review

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I have the disagreement with the reviewer that(retirement scene as exagerration...)I think the writer dont have enough life experience...
I have been through such moments...I never felt it as exaggerated...
again this is a case of perception...
Another thing, creating the tragedy of Jagathy deliberately as it clearly explains for a logical person...Believe me, everything in any movies is either logically or emotionaly built for some reason...
Its the perception of director which all things should be associated for such a story...Again, it can not be a monoact....you need bit more richness....
Some of the things which happens in our life shows in screen, you might say thats its exaggeration...specially when you depict tragedies...Only people have gone through it, or who can really think broad can empathise with that...
Its not that, movie is made with oout any fault...But we have to appreciate the sincerity of blessy in the midst of nonsense movies..

From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 22nd, 2006 08:03 am (UTC)

Re: Read the review

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Excellent movie!!

I belong to middle class family and my parents were govt employees working in Tvm and i can very well relate to the movie.
He diligently portrayed each character, absolutely flawless!!
The way retirement scene was picturised was very touching...u should realise how imp the day is after serving 25-30 yrs of ones life in same govt office..

Ratheesh, i would suggest u to watch it once again.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:April 9th, 2006 07:05 am (UTC)

Thanmatra

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Hello....All

One can easly comment on the film (Thanmatra).But you have to remember the hardwork behiend the making of it(In all level).So i judge the film is just superb and so touching. i think blessy has proved himself with his 2 films. dont compare blessy with others. blessy and panmarajan are in some what same range..hmmmm but panmarajan is panmarajan .
From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 23rd, 2006 01:37 am (UTC)

Re: Thanmatra

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hELLO
I THINK THE MOVIE WAS THE BEST. ARJUNLAL WAS REALLTY GOOD I AM TRULY IN LOVE WITH HIM. HE IS SO SO SO SO HOT
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 28th, 2009 10:28 am (UTC)

on thanmathra review

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respeted sir
ur writting which on thanmathra is suberb.
ur metioned the song witch u like not katti viriyithe kannama it is karru veliyidai kannamma author tamil great poet parathiyar
thanks
perumal
karur
tamil nadu
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