25 Apr

30 March 1995 – For me, vacation had just begun after completing ninth standard. Don’t exactly remember whether it was a Thursday or Friday… It was special because a Mohanlal movie was all set to release, a film that got postponed numerous times, first because of the shoot schedule, then due to Mohanlal’s health issues, problems with distribution, etc. My destination was Janatha theatre at Nooranad now rechristened as Swathy for the new generation. I was greeted with a colossal poster of Mohanlal with his dhoti pulled off which later became a stylish “mundu parikkal” scene. At that time, we were curious to look at the stills displayed at the theatre and like many others, I too was fascinated by Silk Smitha’s voluptuous looks (pardon this teenager) rather than Thilakan’s rough peeks. I think by now, you would have guessed the film, yes, it is “Spadikam” celebrating 25 years. Long queues were visible and all of them were waiting for the arrival of the “film petty” (no satellite distribution at that time). I realised that it is impossible to get a place in the queue but spotted an innocent looking man to whom I gave Rs. 10/- for taking a ticket for me too. The “petty” (film box) arrived among huge cheers and I discovered a corner to wait for the man (started to dream too talking about watching the film on the first day). Soon I understood the reality that I had forgotten the face of that man to whom I gave the money. Imagine losing Rs.10/-, a dream shattered… but suddenly I spotted a person looking for someone. I just smiled at him and he gave a ticket to me. Relieved, I entered the theatre, took a comfortable seat and then to my surprise I found the first man there and I stood up. He looked at me and said sorry because he couldn’t take my ticket and returned my ten rupees. Finally, I realised, I had made a mistake… I got a ticket, in fact free of cost. The movie started and it was a superlative experience. The intro scene of Thomachan, Silk Smitha song, fights, the inimitable Thilakan, Villain George (Pulikkadan who later became Kuttikkadan in the film) , Urvashi and the heart-wrenching climax. 25 years have passed but it remains as a “Spadikam”…thanks to Bhadran, Rajendra Babu and Shogun Mohan. How can one forget Thilakan’s martinet Chackomash, his chemistry with KPAC Lalitha, the lovable N.F. Varghese, the humble tailor played by Bahadur, Sankaradi (remember the court scene), chirpy Urvashi, angelic Chippy, my favourite Rajan P. Dev, Silk Smitha, who had a tragic life, Nedumudi Venu, cruel Sriraman and George, Indrans, Chali, Raju, Asokan and the lovable ‘achan’ Karamana Janardhanan Nair. I realise we cannot replace these actors. Legendary P. Bhaskaran and S.P. Venkitesh deserve a special mention for the songs. “Spadikam” is a reality and I believe the theme still relevant – a tale of conflict between a dictatorial father and a son who couldn’t take it anymore. It is a wake-up call for the parents, kids, etc and a text book for the filmmakers. Finally, a word about Mohanlal – watch the scene in which he jumps from a building to a lorry full of bamboos, watch him and Thilakan in their final encounter (look at the sparks in their eyes) and watch him in the scene when Urvashi takes Thoma to her home where the clock he made still ticks – Mohanlal at his roguish best… let this movie shine always like a crystal. It’s nostalgic for my generation while it is a classic for the present.

Ranjith Krishnan

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