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Promotional Poster
Directed bySantosh Sivan
Produced byManiyanpilla Raju
Ajaya Chandran Nair
Reghu Chandran Nair (Sri Bhadra Pictures)
Rajendran Sivasankaran (S.M. Raju) (executive)
Written bySunil Parameswar
StarringPrithviraj Sukumaran
Kavya Madhavan
Manoj K Jayan
Kalabhavan Mani
Riya Sen
Biju Menon
Cochin Haneefa
Music byM. G. Radhakrishnan
(background score)
CinematographySantosh Sivan
Edited bySreekar Prasad
Distributed byVishaka Release
Release date
  • 4 November 2005 (2005-11-04)
Running time
130 minutes

Anandabhadram is a 2005 Malayalam dark fantasy film based on the novel of the same name by Sunil Parameswaran. The film was the debut Malayalam film venture of director Santosh Sivan[1] and actress Riya Sen.[2] The story concerns ghosts, spirits, and black magic.

The film was inspired by the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, Theyyam, and Kathakali dance movements, and Kalaripayattu martial art forms. It rode on a renewed interest in both Ravi Varma and Kalaripayattu in and outside of India. Anandabhadram won five awards in the 2005 Kerala State Film Awards and two in the 2005 Asianet Film Awards. It also was a commercial success. During production, Santosh replaced Sabu Cyril as the art director, M. G. Radhakrishnan replaced Vidyasagar as the music director and Kavya Madhavan replaced Meera Jasmine as the actress. The audiography of the film was done by M. R. Rajakrishnan . It was also dubbed in Tamil, Telugu (as Sivapuram),Hindi as Phir Wohi Darr. and English, and was an inspiration for Tanthra (2006), another Malayalam film.


In the ancient village of Shivapuram, little Ananthan hears a tale from his mother, Gayathri (Revathi). She tells him that his family comes from a line of powerful magicians, and they are responsible for protecting nagamanikyam, a jewel on a serpent's head. The jewel, she narrates, lies in a secret place in the house guarded by snakes, including a tiny snake called Kunjootan.

Years later, obeying the wishes of his dead mother, Ananthan (Prithviraj Sukumaran) returns to his ancestral village to light the lamps at Shivakavu, a dark and mysterious temple of Shiva. On his way home he meets the comical Maravi Mathai (Cochin Haneefa) on the train. The local black magician Digambaran (Manoj K Jayan) opposes the lighting of the lamps on the grounds of local superstitions in order get his hands on the nagamanikyam. Disbeliever Ananthan meets the supernatural for the first time in his life.

In his effort to fit into the local environment, Ananthan gradually wins the villagers' hearts over by his easy and kind manners. This appreciation is breached briefly when the magician takes over his mind for a short while. Meanwhile, Ananthan's cousin Bhadra (Kavya Madhavan) falls for him and his light-hearted flirting, eventually leading to a commitment of love between them. At one point, Bhadra faces the dilemma of choosing between Ananthan's love and becoming a Devi (goddess) in a mystical ritual of self-offering.

Chemban (Kalabhavan Mani), a blind martial arts expert, stands in the way of Digambaran's hunt for the nagamanikyam. The evil black magician manages to remove Chemban from his way, and leaves a trail of blood in his wake. Digambaran also lures Chemban's sister and his lover Bhama (Riya Sen). A series of sensuous and evil magical rites follows that features a wide paraphernalia of the exotic, including Kathakali movements, tantric paraphernalia, traditional magic spells.

In the end, Ananthan and Bhadra escape Digambaran's sinister tricks and unravel his conspiracy in front of the villagers, who believed him to be a benevolent mystic. The fight at the end sees Digambaran lost his eyes and Ananthan restoring the nagamanikyam.



Kerala State Film Awards 2005

Kerala Critics awards



Ananthabhadram is based on the novel of the same name by Sunil Parameswaran.[3] The story was inspired by tales told to Sunil by his grandmother when he was a child.[3] Director Santosh Sivan was also influenced by such stories told by his own grandmother.[4] Set in rural Kerala, the story is a fairy tale dominated by Shakta black magic, martial arts, and tantric seduction rituals.[4]


Inspired by Raja Ravi Varma[5]
"Woman in thought"

Theyyam and Kathakali: Sivan said he received inspiration from the arts of his country: "We have a rich visual culture and even in Ananthabhadram, I have used certain aspects from Theyyam dancers and Kathakali to create the wizard Digambaran's image. The colour, long nails, kohl-lined eyes and so on were inspired from Theyyam and Kathakali."[4] The sequence between Manoj K Jayan using Riya Sen as a channel for black magic, choreographed by Aparna Sindhoor, the dance director of the film, uses Kathakali movements in particular,[6][7] which has been an inspiration for major Indian films[8] like director Shaji Karun's Vanaprastham (1999)[9] and director Adoor Gopalakrishnan's Kalamandalam Ramankutty Nair (2005).[10]

Kalarippayattu: The film also used Kalarippayattu, the traditional martial art of South India, for the fight sequences between Digambaran and Chemban choreographed by action director Arash.[11] Use of Kalari in the film followed the footsteps of Kalari-based movies like Palattu Koman (1962), Thacholi Othenan (1964), Kannappanunni (1977) and Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha (1989),[12] as well as famous martial art film actor Jackie Chan's The Myth.[13][14] After Asoka, it was the second time the director had used Kalari (as it is known in popular coinage).

Raja Ravi Varma: The director used three paintings of Raja Ravi Varma – Damayanti and the swan, Lady in thought and Girl carrying milk tray – as inspiration to picturize the song Pinakkamano (acted by Prithviraj Sukumaran and Kavya Madhavan; sung by M. G. Sreekumar and Manjari; choreographed by Aparna Sindhoor).[15][16] Sivan said, "Yes, it is a tribute to Raja Ravi Varma, who is so intrinsically etched in every Malayali's mind."[17] This song came in the wake of a renewed interest in Varma's work in Indian showbiz, as evidenced in Indian pop star Falguni Pathak's music video for the song "Meri Chunar Ud Ud Jaaye" (2001, acted by Trisha Krishnan) which emulated Varma's Shakuntala[18] and Shaji Karun's declared film to be made on the artist's life which would feature Madhuri Dixit (actress of Gaja Gamini, a film by painter M.F. Hussain).[19][20][21]

Pattanam Rasheed said about the make-up of the Pinakkamano sequence, "The skin tone I gave the characters is akin to an oil painting, orange-yellow shades, which give a painting-like look. That is why you feel that a painting is coming to life in some shots. The eye and eye brow make-up is also different, according to the old styles in the paintings." Costumer Satheesh said, "Not one of the saris that Kavya wears is complete in itself. To get the colours of the body and border of the sari as close as possible to the ones in the paintings, I shopped in Chennai, Bangalore and Kochi. I had to attach the borders to some of the saris and dyed some to get the right shade... I had to rework all the jewels, with a few stones from one chain added to another." art director Sunil Babu points out that despite attempts at accuracy, in the Damayanthi scene, the swan is missing.[17]


Sabu Cyril was originally scheduled to direct the film with actress Meera Jasmine in the lead.[11][22] Production was delayed due to a strike in the Malayalam film industry in June 2004. Later, Cyril became busy with Shankar's film Anniyan. At this point, Santosh Sivan stepped in to replace Cyril.[23][24][25] Cyril's assistant Sunil Babu art directed the film.[26]


Like his earlier directorial ventures Asoka and The Terrorist (a.k.a. Malli), Santosh was also the cinematographer for Anathabhadram. Kavya Madhavan replaced Meera as the female lead and gave a performance that established her as the top heroine of the Malayalam Film Industry that year, aided by both commercial success and critical acclaim.[27] Prithviraj Sukumaran as the male lead also had his biggest success of 2005, out of the five films he did that year.[27] Manoj K Jayan was to have a sannyasin look with long hair in the proposed Sabu Cyril version, but sported a more contemporary look in the version that was eventually shot, winning much critical accolades.[28]


Soundtrack album by
GenreFeature film soundtrack
ProducerSri Bhadra Pictures

Santosh Sivan rejected music director Vidyasagar's work and appointed M. G. Radhakrishnan to get the right score for the film.[6] Radhakrishnan went on to win Asianet Film Awards as the best music director for the film's tracks.[29] He also did the score for Sivapuram, the Telugu version of the film.[6] M. G. Sreekumar won Asianet Award as the Best Male Playback Singer for singing "Pinakkamano".[29]

All lyrics written by Gireesh Puthenchery; all music composed by M.G. Radhakrishnan.

1."Malamalalooya"Kalabhavan Mani3:27
2."Thiranurayum"K. J. Yesudas3:44
3."Shivamallikaavil"K. S. Chithra4:05
4."Pinakkamaano"M. G. Sreekumar, Manjari Babu4:15
5."Minnayam Minnum"K.S. Chithra2:21
6."Vasanthamundo"M.G. Radhakrishnan, Hema4:48


It is the first Malayalam feature screened using a satellite feed instead of conventional prints;[30] aimed at an international market. it was also dubbed in Tamil, Telugu (as Sivapuram), and English.[6][31] The release of Anandabhadram in India followed that of the horror movie Chandramukhi, starring Rajnikanth, which was a remake of the Malayalam film Manichitrathazhu, creating a brief success for the horror genre.[32] The film was showcased in Osian's Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema in 2006.[33]


Anandabhadram was a commercial successes.[34][35] Pinakkamano became the top hit among Malayalam film songs in 2005.[36] The film also inspired director KJ Bose's Tanthra (2006) featuring actors Siddique and Shweta Menon. Sunil Babu, the art director, came to the notice of Kerala audience because of the film, especially his treatment for Raja Ravi Varma inspired songs.[37] The performance of Manoj K. Jayan was critically acclaimed.

Anandabhadram won five awards in the Kerala State Film Awards for 2005, including Best Cinematography (Santosh Sivan), Best Music Direction (MG Radhakrishnan), Best Editing (Sreekar Prasad), Best Art Direction (Sunil Babu) and Best Makeup (Pattanam Rasheed).[38] It won five awards in the Kerala Film Critics Association Awards 2005, including Best Film, Best Director (Santhosh Sivan), Best Actor (Manoj K Jayan), and Best Cinematography (Santhosh Sivan).[39] M. R. Rajakrishnan had won the Amritha Fertanity Award for Best Audiography for his work in this film.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ananthabhadram, Chennai Online, Retrieved: 2010-11-22
  2. ^ "Riya Sen in Ananthabhadram". That's Malayalam. Archived from the original on 22 October 2006. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
  3. ^ a b "Of facts and fantasy". The Hindu. 2 August 2006. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
  4. ^ a b c "In flashback mode". The Hindu. 2 August 2006. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
  5. ^ Raja Varma comes alive, The Hindu, 2005/11/19
  6. ^ a b c d "Mesmerising mystery". The Hindu. 2 August 2006. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
  7. ^ "Interview: Straight talk with Santhosh Sivan". Music India Online. Archived from the original on 6 October 2007. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
  8. ^ "Indian Dance". BBC. 2 August 2006. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
  9. ^ "Vanaprastham". Keral. Archived from the original on 31 October 2006. Retrieved 31 March 2007.
  10. ^ "Kathakali comes alive on screen". Deccan Herald. 2 August 2006. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
  11. ^ a b "In love with the lens". The Hindu. 2 August 2006. Retrieved 30 March 2007.
  12. ^ Payyamveli Chanthu: Early Preview Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Jackie Chan and the art of Kalaripayattu". Rediff Movies. Retrieved 20 April 2007.
  14. ^ Gopakumar, R. "Jackie Chan touch gives kalaripayattu a fillip". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 20 April 2007.
  15. ^ "Raja Ravi Varma's art makes song number one favourite". Now Running. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
  16. ^ "Ananthabhadram". Deccan Herald. 2 August 2006. Archived from the original on 8 September 2006. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
  17. ^ a b "Ravi Varmas come alive". The Hindu. 2 August 2006. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
  18. ^ "Women in Raja Ravi Varma Mold". Boloji. Retrieved 31 March 2007.
  19. ^ "Madhuri being sought to play a painter's muse". Apun Ka Choice. Archived from the original on 15 June 2006. Retrieved 31 March 2007.
  20. ^ "The return of Madhuri Dixit". Rediff News. Retrieved 31 March 2007.
  21. ^ "Shaji N Karun to make a Hindi film". Rediff Movies. Archived from the original on 13 March 2007. Retrieved 31 March 2007.
  22. ^ "Sabu Cyril turns director". Kairalee. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
  23. ^ "Malayalam film industry begins indefinite strike". The Hindu Business Line. 25 June 2004. Retrieved 17 April 2007.
  24. ^ "The reel world of Sabu Cyril". The Hindu. 17 February 2006. Retrieved 17 April 2007.
  25. ^ "Santosh Sivan to direct spooky film". Rediff Movies. Retrieved 17 April 2007.
  26. ^ "Mesmerising mystery". The Hindu. 23 September 2005. Retrieved 17 April 2007.
  27. ^ a b Pillai, Shreedhar (30 December 2005). "Boom year for Mollywood". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 29 April 2007. Retrieved 20 April 2007.
  28. ^ George, Vijay (18 November 2005). "Portrayal of tones of grey". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 27 April 2007. Retrieved 17 April 2007.
  29. ^ a b Lifetime achievement award for Sukumari, The Hindu, 2006-03-12, Retrieved: 2010-11-22
  30. ^ "Ananthabhadram screened using satellite technology". My Kerala. Archived from the original on 13 November 2006. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
  31. ^ "Mesmerising mystery". The Hindu. 2 August 2006. Archived from the original on 25 April 2007. Retrieved 30 March 2007.
  32. ^ Horror is the current flavour from the Hindu
  33. ^ Brain Candy, India Today
  34. ^ "Santosh on a roll". The Hindu. 24 November 2005. Retrieved 20 April 2007.
  35. ^ 2005– An analysis from Sify
  36. ^ Raja Ravi Varma's art makes song number one favourite from Now Running
  37. ^ Vijay George (18 December 2005). "Casting a spell". The Hindu. Retrieved 11 November 2005.
  38. ^ "Thanmatra, Anandabhadram bag five State film awards each". The Hindu. 2 August 2006. Archived from the original on 16 April 2007. Retrieved 28 March 2007.
  39. ^ "Kerala Film Critics Association 2005 Awards". Alternative Film Guide. Archived from the original on 14 March 2007. Retrieved 29 March 2007.

External links[edit]