Kallan Pavithran (1981)

  • Mammachan would easily qualify for the "most memorable wimp" in Malayalam film history.
  • The village thief who tripped on vanity and met his nemesis.
  • The nemesis of the principal characters was also a master puppeteer.
  • The rogue artifacts trader who knew how to push buttons.
Released -
26th June, 1981


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Kallan Pavithran (1981)

Pavithran, the Thief ” – Alt. Title (Translation)

Kallan Pavithran was the second collaboration on screen between Padmarajan and Bharat Gopy, the first being Padmarajan’s debut feature, the multi-award winning Peruvazhiyambalam (1979). This was also probably the first of the many movies in which Bharat Gopy’s trusty fellow-traveller on his celluloid journeys – Nedumudi Venu – joined him in a leading role, matching emotive note for note. This was their second film together, the first being Thampu (1978). Shot at the erstwhile Uma Studios (the new Asianet Studio complex) and surrounding areas, the film also won Bharat Gopy his first Kerala Film Critics Award for the Best Supporting Actor for the year 1981.

Bharat Gopy
Nedumudi Venu
Beena Sabu
Subhashini [Debut]
Adoor Bhasi
Ambili (1972)
Geetha (Old), Dhanya (Old), Noohu, Bhaskara Kurup, Kariyachan, Kallara Bahandas
Kallara Sasi, Nagappan Nair, Kuttiyaashaan


Director P Padmarajan
Producer M Mani
Banner Sunitha Productions
Screenplay P Padmarajan
Dialogues P Padmarajan
Background Music Shyam
Cinematography Vipin Das
Editing Madhu Kainakari
Art Direction Makkada Devadas
Design S Rajendran
Distribution Aroma Release

Nedumudi Venu in Kallan Pavithran
Pavithran, the village petty thief is one with a conscience, a rare specimen in the trade. There have been quite a few attempts on his part to shake off this ‘title’ and join mainstream village life, but to no avail. A theft in the village that could ‘possibly’ be the handiwork of Pavithran – a few utility utensils from Mamachan’s house – set off a chain of events that get Pavithran all that he has been dreaming of his entire life – respect, money and social stature. And that is when his eyes fall upon Bhama, his ‘alleged’ sister-in-law, setting off a nuclear chain reaction in his reasonably peaceful world of hormones.

A Movie Clipping from Kallan Pavithran (1981)

Bharat Gopy as Mamachen : An Overview

Bharat Gopy, incidentally, would play two Mamachan ‘muthalalis’ in his career, and this was the cuckolded and wimpy version, as compared to the heartless, cold and calculative avatar in KG George’s seminal Adaminte Variyellu in 1983. A widower on his own in the village, craven and yielding, the theft at Mamachan’s home somehow becomes the mystical catalyst that sets in motion a series of events, mostly fueled by lust, greed and jealousy that forms the narrative of Kallan Pavithran.

As with all of Padmarajan’s characterisations for the screen, especially when it was with his published works adapted for the screen by himself, Bharat Gopy’s portrayal of Mamachen is brilliant. Particularly delightful is his reaction as he is seduced by Damayanthi (Beena as the local harlot and one of Kallan Pavithran’s mistresses), in the flour mill. In one of his final interviews, Gopy revealed that what had happened onscreen was an impulsive reaction, unscripted.

Kallan Pavithran, like all of Padmarajan’s fables onscreen is a simple story narrated brilliantly on celluloid. It also helped that it had legendary performers bringing those characters alive. Mamachan included.


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