Panchavadi Palam (1984)“The Bridge at Panchavadi” – (Lit. Translation)
KG George‘s endearing classic, Panchavadi Palam remains the finest black comedy and political satire ever captured on the Malayalam screen. Based on Veloor Krishnankutty‘s story “Palam Apakadathil” (The Bridge is in Danger), the movie had the unique distinction of a humorist and a syndicated cartoonist coming together to craft a cinema in Malayalam for the first time. KG George wasn’t averse to such creative combinations. It was this daring to explore new collaborations in creativity that also helped him craft some of the finest classics in Malayalam cinema. This was also, according to director KG George’s admission, the costliest project in his career.
|Mohan Jose, M Chandran Nair, Kalpana, Shubha, VD Rajappan, Alummoodan,Bhuvana, KP Ummer, Kottayam Valsalan.|
|Producer||Balan (Gandhimathi Balan)|
|Singers||KP Brahmanandan, CO Anto|
|Cinematography||Shaji N Karun|
|Art Direction||GO Sundaram|
Dusshasana Kurup is the president of the Panchavadi panchayat and has been that for a decade, propped up by a bunch of rabid and strong sycophants who have their own axes to grind, for which it is necessary to keep the morally and academically supine “president” in harness. As the ruling faction and the opposition fight pitched political battles in office and remain fast friends out of it, the panchayat and its people have been at the receiving end for decades.
With the popularity of the panchayat president plumbing new depths of unpopularity, his main henchman and the “Iago” of the lot hits upon a brilliant idea – why not demolish the perfectly robust bridge in the village and re-build it, this time naming it after the panchayat president, and even better, having his bust installed on both ends of the approach way to the bridge! As callousness and sycophancy hit new levels, tragedy awaits in the wings.
A Movie Clipping from Panchavadipalam (1984)
A Cartoonist scripts a Satirist's short story into an endearing classic
It was a daring experiment, the scale or the scope of which has never ever even been attempted before in Malayalam cinema! The characters in the drama borrowed their monikers from the Indian sacred texts, even dipping into the Bible! A short story authored by one of the most popular and venerated names in Malayalam satire and humor was adapted for the big screen by an equally popular cartoonist who had never written a screenplay before! The Director, obviously, as with all his earlier productions, never felt anything was amiss or out of place in the creative process. He was absolutely sure of what he set out to create on the silver screen.
Revisiting Panchavadipalam 30 years on.
Image credits : Kollam Mohan & P Krishnankutty
Courtesy : www.nanaonline.in
Bharat Gopy as Dusshasana Kurup: An Overview.
As renowned journalist R Ayyappan put it succintly, “Dusshasana Kurup is a good-for-nothing, a blank slate on which anyone can scribble. He has a slight stoop that seems to reflect his spinelessness. His excitable manner suggests an intellectual blankness. And his movements convey a state of perennial confusion. Kurup is a kind of guy who will flee at the sight of someone like Ayyappan, the tabalist.” ( Read his complete tribute here.)
Supreme idiocy was what Dusshasana Kurup personified, and this couldn’t be better evident than in his famous commemorative speech that threatens to give him an aneurysm, as he literally takes the advice of delivering a “thundering” speech to heart.