VCD poster cover
|Directed by||P. Padmarajan|
|Produced by||P. Stanley|
|Screenplay by||P. Padmarajan|
by P. Padmarajan
Perumbavoor G. Raveendranath
|Edited by||B. Lenin
V. T. Vijayan (assistant)
|Distributed by||Gandhimathi Films|
|Running time||151 minutes|
Thoovanathumbikal (Malayalam: തൂവാനത്തുമ്പികൾ, English: Dragonflies in the Spraying Rain) is a 1987 Malayalam romance film written and directed by P. Padmarajan, which is based on his own novel Udakappola. The film revolves around Jayakrishnan (Mohanlal) who falls in love with two women; Radha (Parvathy) a distant relative of his and Clara (Sumalatha) an escort in town. The film has turned into a cult film with a large following and commands good viewership even till today. Polls conducted by several websites states the film to be one of the greatest Malayalam films of all time.  The film was ranked #8 by IBN Live in its list of greatest Indian films of all time. The movie is also praised for the rich film score and popular songs. Rain is a recurring theme and is portrayed almost as a character in the film.
Jayakrishnan (Mohanlal), a well-to-do bachelor lives a contrasting dual life, one among his friends in the town and the other at his native village, where he lives with his mother and sister. While he is a spendthrift guy celebrating life with his friends in town, he is a frugal family-man at home. The film is about his dual life and how he falls in love with two women — Clara (Sumalatha) and Radha (Parvathy) unable to decide a partner among the two. Jayakrishnan is a typical Malayali guy belonging to an aristocratic family from Trichur. He has his own vision of life, especially when it comes to marriage. He is hardworking and works on his own farm. At the same time he finds time to enjoy a very modern life with his friends in town, about whom very few people in his village know. He meets a girl called Radha, a distant relative, and he falls in love with her. He is attracted to her no-nonsense attitude. He tells Radha that he loves her and wants to marry her. But Radha refuses, thinking that he is a flirt. Jayakrishnan is persuaded to write a letter to a girl named Clara for his friend Thangal, who is a pimp. The letter is intended to fool Clara's father and thereby introduce Clara to the sex industry under Thangal. When Jayakrishnan writes the letter it rains. Clara belonged to the coastal fisherman community and was poor. Her stepmother treated her bad and Clara was trying to get out of her clutches. As an easy way out of this, Clara agrees to become a sex worker and meets Jayakrishnan. It rains again as the two meet. Depressed, after Radha's rejection and urged on by his friend Thangal, Jayakrishnan, who until then had never been to a prostitute, agrees to be Clara's first customer under Thangal. Later when he realizes that Clara was a virgin, Jayakrishnan becomes disturbed. He had made a promise to himself that he would not sleep with a virgin unless she was his wife and if he could keep his pledge, then that girl would at least become his wife. On breaking the one promise he was determined to keep in life, he is deeply disturbed and proposes to Clara. Admiring his sincerity and scruples, she finds it difficult to reject his proposal, but not wanting to cause Jayakrishnan any hurt socially or personally (as she considers herself a sex worker), Clara decides to disappear from his life. During this time, Radha, hears more about Jayakrishnan from her brother (Madhavan), who was junior in college to Jayakrishnan. She hears more about the dual life of Jayakrishnan, his small games of fooling people around him and ready to do anything attitude for his friends. She also hears that he had never fooled around with girls in spite of all this. Her brother tells her that it was the first time that Jayakrishnan had proposed to someone. Understanding that Jayakrishnan is not a roadside flirt, she starts falling in love with him and becomes ready to accept his proposal. She meets Jayakrishan to express her feelings and tells him that she feels sorry about what had happened in their first meeting. But by now Jayakrishnan feels that he is not the right person for Radha. When she asks the reason, he discloses everything that happened with Clara. But Radha takes things differently as she feels even more attracted and closer to him because of his sincerity. Radha expresses to Jayakrishnan how she feels about him and convinces him that she is not at all worried about his past. Since he was not going to meet Clara anymore, she does not care about her. But Clara calls up Jayakrishnan one day and informs him that she is coming to visit him again. It rains again. Jayakrishnan cannot resist meeting her. During his time with her, he tell her about Radha, and Clara says she is happy for him. But later on Clara feels that she is the hindrance for Jayakrishnan not committing to Radha and vows that she will not meet him anymore. Before she leaves, she asks him not to disappoint Radha. Jayakrishan and Radha get closer to each other and decide to marry. Everything goes on fine until one day Jayakrishnan gets a telegram. An off season rains arrives and it rains heavily. Clara is coming to see him, this will be the last time they meet, and it will be at the Ottapalam railway station. Shocked, Jayakrishnan and Radha can't decide what to do. Radha asks Jayakrishnan not to meet Clara, but he cannot resist seeing her. Toward the end of the movie, Jayakrishnan reaches the station to meet Clara. Radha too reaches the station without Jayakrishan's knowledge. At the station both are surprised to see that Clara is married and is holding a baby. She tells Jayakrishnan that she had decided to get married to save both their futures. Now she can have a family life and Jayakrishnan can get married to Radha, with whom he has fallen in love. Clara leaves Jayakrishnan's life forever, and Radha and Jayakrishnan unite. It does not rain at the final meeting between Clara and Jayakrishnan.
- Mohanlal as Jayakrishnan
- Sumalatha as Clara
- Parvathy as Radha
- Ashokan as Rishi
- Babu Namboothiri as Thangal
- Sreenath as Madhavan
- Sukumari as Jayakrishnan's Mother
- Jagathi Sreekumar as Ravunni/Ramanunni Nair
- Sankaradi as Radha's Father
- M.G. Soman as Moni Joseph
- Sulakshana as Jayakrishnan's sister
- Jayalalitha as Ranjini
- Babu Namboothiri
Part of this movie, especially Jayakrishnan's lifestyle in the town, is loosely based on one of Padmarajan's friends, Karakath Unni Menon. Padmarajan met Unni Menon when the former was working at All India Radio, Thrissur. The friends of Jayakrishan were loosely based on the other friends of Unni Menon: Kanjavu Varkey, Express George and Vijayan Karot.
Thoovanathumbikal is one of the most significant Malayalam films of the 1980s and enjoys a cult status even decades after its release. In a 2013 online poll, IBN Live listed it as the 8th greatest Indian film of all time. The poll was conducted as part of the celebrations of Indian cinema completing 100 years. The poll constituted a list of 100 films from different Indian languages.
- K. Jeshi. (18 January 2007). "Life at the editing table". The Hindu. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
- Parvathy S Nayar (Jun 4, 2013). "Rain sets three films rolling in Mollywood". The Times of India. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
- "Karakath Unni Menon". Weblokam.com. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
- "'Mayabazar' is India's greatest film ever: IBNLive poll". IBN Live. May 12, 2013. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
- "IBNLive Poll: Vote for India's greatest film of all time". IBN Live. April 26, 2013. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
- Paresh C Palicha (December 5, 2011). "Review: Beautiful is a milestone in Malayalam cinema". Rediff.com. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
- Chandrakanth Viswanath (September 25, 2012). "An abode of sensuousness". The New Indian Express. Retrieved June 20, 2013.