Stories based on tinsel world has always found its audiences in Kerala. In recent years Udayananu Tharam (Vellithira in Tamil) and Katha Parayumbol (Kuselan in Tamil) were blockbusters.
Now a Malayalam film released last Friday (Sep 12) for Onam Thirakatha (Screenplay) is turning out to be controversial.
It is said to be based on one of the biggest Kollywood romances of the late 70's between Kamal Hassan and top Tamil and Malayalam actress Srividya !
Srividya, one of the finest actresses in south, daughter of Carnatic singer M.L Vasanthakumari, had acted in over 150 films in Tamil and Malayalam and was known as the 'tragedy queen' in her personal life. She died a lonely death in 2006 in Thiruvananthapuram.
Two years after her death, leading Malayalam writer-director Ranjit who knew her at close quarters has made the film Thirakkatha featuring Prithviraj, Anup Menon and Priyamani, loosely based on her life and romance.
The film's promotional posters also feature Srividya's photo along with Padmarajan and Bharathan, two of the greatest writer- director team of 70's and early 80's, the 'Golden Age' of Malayalam cinema.
Director Ranjit in television interviews is quite candid that it is loosely based on Srividya's torrid affair with Kamal. However he goes on to add that there has been similar romances between leading men and their heroines from time immemorial.
The buzz is that Ranjit had access to Srividya's personal diaries she maintained. At one time Srividya was to publish her memoirs for a Malayalam weekly, but strangely it never saw the light of the day.
Meanwhile the film has taken a decent opening all over Kerala and the word of mouth is very good. The performance of Priyamani, is said to be brilliant. She plays Malavika an actress modeled on Srividya.
Newcomer Anup Menon is the superstar Ajaychandran, while Pritviraj plays a young director Akbar Ahmed a new age director who plans to write a script about the romance between Ajay and Malavika and her subsequent disappearance.
Thirakatha is one of the best films to have come out from Kerala in recent times. The climax, which will leave a lump in your throat is the highlight of the film, and Priyamani a spitting image of Srividya is excellent as she is able to bring out the various mood swings and frailties of a heartbroken and lonely actress.