“ The Curtain ” – (Lit. Translation)
Considered to be Malayalam cinema’s finest “whodunnit” ever, and arguably one of the best in world cinema, Yavanika (1982) was loosely based on the disappearance of a popular session tabalist of central Kerala – Alleppey Usman, conceived and created by KG George and had its dialogues written for the screen by SL Puram Sadanandan. Developed from a chance narration of the disappearance of Alleppey Usman by PA Latheef, Yavanika was Bharath Gopy’s first onscreen collaboration with KG George. He went to play leading roles in five out of the eight movies he directed in his movie career as a big-screen feature director. And what a delightful range of roles and characters it was. Yavanika (1982) won three State Awards that year – for the Best Film, the Best Story and the Second Best Actor. Incidently, the Best Actor Award for the year went to Bharat Gopy, for his performance in Ormakkaay.
|Vijayavani, S Henry, Perumana Bhaskar, Captain Bhaskar, Pushpa|
|Dialogues||SL Puram Sadanandan|
|Lyrics||ONV Kurup, MB Sreenivasan|
|Singers||KJ Yesudas, Selma George|
|Art Direction||GO Sundaram|
Ayyappan is the infamous tablist of a popular theatre group, brilliant in his art and devoid of a moral compass. He flits between a strange personal hopelessness, depravity and blissful promiscuity, with occasional flashes of commiseration that is mostly stifled by the more popular sentinels of his dark self. Ayyappan also has the perfect dysfunctional family. He manages to get Rohini, a distant cousin as a stand-in for the lead lady who goes missing from the house production, and turns out to be quite the crowd-puller. Ayyappan now has his eyes set on Rohini for all the wrong reasons. And soon, Ayyappan goes missing.
The investigating officer Sub Inspector Jacob Eeraly digs deeper and finds a whole lot of probables of who desperately wanted Ayyappan “removed,” for obvious reasons. The movie pings back and forth in flashbacks and the present investigation, as the involved parties paint their personal pictures of Ayyappan in front of the Sub Inspector. It becomes a brilliant set of probables in front of the viewer as with the investigating officer as the film races to the fateful night that reveals the secret for everyone.
Tablist Ayyappan could easily be the most memorable characters onscreen of Bharat Gopy. But then again, that is the case with every other film too and the characters he brought alive onscreen.
A Movie Clipping from Yavanika (1982)
How can you not fall in love with this actor ?
Bharatha muniyoru kalam varachu
A classic called ‘Yavanika
Director K. G. George and producer Henry were driving from Chennai at break neck speed trying to beat a deadline. They were carrying four prints of the film, ‘Yavanika’ that was slated for release the next day. After handing over the prints to theatres from Thiruvananthapuram to Kottayam, they sat through the first show at Changanasserry.
അയ്യപ്പന്റെ തിരോധാനത്തില് നിന്നുമാണ് യവനിക തുടങ്ങുന്നത്. അയ്യപ്പനെ കൊന്ന പ്രതിയെ കണ്ടത്തുന്നതോടെ അവസാനിക്കുന്നു. അയ്യപ്പന്റെ തിരോധാനത്തെക്കുറിച്ച് അന്വേഷിക്കുന്ന ഈരാളി എന്ന പൊലീസ് ഉദ്യോഗസ്ഥന്റെ ബുദ്ധികൂര്മ്മത ചിത്രത്തെ ആദിമദ്യാന്തം ഉദ്വേഗജനകമാക്കുന്നു. കുറ്റവാളിയെ കണ്ടെത്താന് ഈരാളി സഞ്ചരിക്കുന്ന വഴികള് പൊലീസ് അന്വേഷണത്തിന്റെ കാണാപ്പുറങ്ങള് അനാവരണം ചെയ്തു.
Kerala State Film Awards – 1982.
Best Film : Yavanika
Second Best Actor : Thilakan
Story : K G George
Mathrubhumi News TV‘s tribute to Yavanika (1982) in its segment on 100 years of Indian Cinema in 2013.
Bharat Gopy as Ayyappan : An Overview
Tabalist Ayyappan (‘Yavanika’ – 1982) is evil in full blast. His walk, his speech, the way he strikes at the tabla, everything about him is animated by a subterranean scorn. He has a look that would make any woman feel molested.
says renowned journalist R Ayyappan in his tribute to the actor extraordinaire.
That was ‘pure Ayyappan’, the sheer, distilled version. KG George has put it on record that the most important factor that helped in the box-office success of Yavanika was its perfect casting, and leading the troupe was Bharat Gopy as the rogue tabalist Ayyappan. A perfect artist and a perfect beast – that was Ayyappan. His perverse nature that radiated in every nuance of his body language, along with his perfect portrayal as a veteran artiste on the tabla was a rare occurance in Malayalam cinema, never to be repeated again. Ayyappan harbours no regrets, on the contrary, he ensures that his basal instincts and sexual debauchery fuelled his creativity in a bizarre, vicious circle.
Yavanika (1982) was a historic event in Malayalam cinema. And Bharat Gopy led the event. Period.