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This article is about the 1978 film. For the novel, see Rathinirvedam (novel). For the 2011 film, see Rathinirvedam (2011 film).
Rathi Nirvedam.jpg
CD Cover
Directed by Bharathan
Produced by Hari Pothan
Screenplay by Padmarajan
Based on Rathinirvedam 
by Padmarajan

JayabhaRATHI Jayabharathi

Music by Devarajan[1]
Cinematography Ramachandra Babu
Edited by K. Narayanan
Supriya Creations
Release dates
  • 1978 (1978)
Running time 124 minutes
Country India
Language Malayalam

Rathinirvedam (English: Adolescent Desire) is a 1978 Malayalam coming-of-age film directed by Bharathan based on the novel of the same name written by Padmarajan who also wrote the script.

The film's story revolves around a teenager (played by Krishnachandran) who falls in love with a woman older than he is (played by Jayabharathi).[2] The storyline of the film miffed many for its sensitive portrayal of the lead as well as garnered appreciation for its narrative. It is said to have redefined the art of movie making in South India, and hence regarded as a landmark in Indian film history. The film was also one of the biggest box office hits in Kerala's history. It inspires similar productions all over South India, even decades after its release.


The story takes place in a small village surrounded by hills and valleys. Young Pappu, a teenager, awaiting school results to go to college, has plenty of time on hand. His trouble is adolescence, but neither his mother nor his aunt can diagnose his affliction. Everything around him excites and stimulates his sexual curiosity. Twenty plus Rathi, the girl next door, has been chechi (elder sister) to him since he was a child. Unaware of the stirrings of his desire, she dismisses his first overtures to her as boyish pranks. But soon her feelings change. She is sympathetic to the boy's confusion and goes to the sarppakkavu (cobra-shrine) to keep a midnight date with Pappu. It storms and thunders while Pappu makes love to Rathi. Only then do the storms—the one tormenting him inside his mind and the other raging thunderously on the outside, subside. Aghast at what has happened, Rathi stumbles to her feet but is bitten by a cobra but she goes back to her house and suffers in silence in order to prevent any scandal and the delay costs her life. Next morning Pappu leaves home for college and his new life.



Rathinirvedam is an incisive portrayal of a teenager's coming to terms with his budding libido that eventually drives him into a tabooed bond with an affable spinster in the neighbourhood.[3] A teenage mind caught in the flux of sexual adolescence is captured beautifully through the lens by the director Bharathan. Steamy scenes restrict the movie to mature audiences. In typical Bharathan style, an unexpected climax leaves the audience in tears. Jayabharathi gives a commendable performance as the titular character in this movie.


The film was produced by Hari Pothan under the banner of Supriya Films. It was mostly shot in Nelliampathi, Palakkad, Kerala.[4] Director Bharathan had proposed to actress K.P.A.C. Lalitha after the shooting of this film.[5] They remained together till the death of the former.

Legacy and criticism[edit]

Rathinirvedam is regarded as a landmark in Indian film history.[5] It is one of the most sensuous movies of all time, and is said to have redefined the art of movie making in South India.[6] The extremely erotic scenes performed by Jayabharathi sent heat waves across Kerala. Even when some of the intelligentsia predicted the beginning of a new era of parallel cinema, a major section of Malayalis were on the warpath saying that mainstream Malayalam cinema had degenerated to porn. But in spite of the criticism, Rathinirvedam became one of the biggest box office hits in Kerala's history.[7] It inspires similar productions all over South India, even decades after its release.[8]


A remake of the film was made in 2011. It was directed by T. K. Rajeev Kumar. Shwetha Menon played the female lead, and Sreejith played the young male lead. Padmarajan himself was credited as the writer.[9][10]


  1. ^ "Show evokes the everlasting appeal of Devarajan’s songs". The Hindu. 28 September 2008. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "Nilolsavam to be staged on Thursday". The Peninsula On-line: Qatar's leading English Daily. Retrieved 25 July 2009. [dead link]
  3. ^ S. Anandan (18 June 2011). "Lacklustre copy of a maverick movie". The Hindu. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  4. ^ Saraswathy Nagarajan (16 June 2011). "When Pappu met Rathi…". Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Emotional reunion". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 17 June 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  6. ^ "Rathinirvedam". Rathinirvedam.com. Retrieved 19 June 2011. 
  7. ^ "Can Rathinirvedam remake recreate waves?". Kochi, India: Deccan Chronicle. 16 June 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2011. 
  8. ^ K. N. Shajikumar. (5 April 2010). "മനസ്സിന്റെ കാണാപ്പുറങ്ങള്‍". Janayugam. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  9. ^ "An unusual love story". The Indian Express. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  10. ^ "Rathinirvedam to be remade". Bombaynews. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 

External links[edit]