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P. Padmarajan
Born Padmarajan Pillai
(1946-05-23)23 May 1946
Muthukulam, Haripad, Alappuzha
Died 24 January 1991(1991-01-24) (aged 45)
Kozhikode, Kerala, India
Other names Pappettan
Occupation Film director, writer, AIR news reader
Years active 1975 - 1991
Spouse(s) Radha Lakshmi
Children Ananthapathmanabhan, Madhavikutty

P. Padmarajan (Malayalam: പി. പത്മരാജന്‍; 23 May 1946 – 24 January 1991) was an Indian author, screenwriter, and film director who was known for his landmark works in Malayalam literature and Malayalam cinema. Padmarajan was the founder of a new school of film making in Malayalam, along with Bharathan, in the 1980s, which created films that were widely received while also being critically acclaimed.

Padmarajan was noted for his fine and detailed screenwriting and expressive direction style. Padmarajan made some of the landmark motion pictures in Malayalam cinema, including masterpieces like Oridathoru Phayalvaan (1981), Koodevide (1983), Arappatta Kettiya Gramathil (1986), Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal (1986), Thoovanathumbikal (1987), Moonnam Pakkam (1988), Innale (1989), Season (1989) and Njan Gandharvan (1991).

Early life[edit]

Padmarajan was born on 23 May 1946 in Muthukulam near Haripad in Alappuzha district as the sixth son of Thundathil Anantha Padmanabha Pillai and Njavarakkal Devaki Amma. After early schooling at Muthukulam, he studied at M. G. College and University College Trivandrum, graduating with a BSc in chemistry (1963). Subsequently, he learned Sanskrit from the scholar Cheppad Achyutha Warrier at Muthukulam. He then joined All India Radio, Trichur (1965), starting as a programme announcer, and later settled at Poojappura, Trivandrum (1968); he would remain at All India Radio until 1986, when his busy involvement in films would prompt him to retire voluntarily.

Career as screenwriter and director[edit]

His stories deal with deceit, murder, romance, mystery, passion, jealousy, libertinism, anarchism, individualism, and the life of peripheral elements of society. Some of them are considered as among the best in Malayalam literature, his first novel Nakshathrangale Kaaval (With only the stars as witness) won the Kerala Sahithya Academy award (1972).

He entered the world of Malayalam films by writing the screenplay for Bharathan's directorial debut Prayaanam (1975) to take first steps to be one of the most talented script writers to have graced Malayalam cinema.

He later began to direct films based on his own screenplays, beginning with Peruvazhiyambalam (The Street as a Choultry) (1979), which are greatly popular among the common people as well as intellectuals and film critics, while maintaining richness in artistic and thematic originality and excellence. Padmarajan was a great experimenter who explored all walks of life in his works. His screen plays had such hitherto-unheard of features and subjects – such as casting rainj as a character in Thoovanthumbikal (Dragonflies in the Spraying Rain), friendship between two young school girls inDesadanakiliKarayarilla(Migratory Birds Don't Cry), unusual climax (By traditional standards) in Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal (Vineyards for us to dwell) and Oridaththoru Phayalvaan (There Lived a Wrestler). Many of his films bear the mark of his romanticism.

He is celebrated for his possibly unparalleled attention to detail in his screenplays. Some of his scripts are arguably the smoothest narratives ever penned in the Malayalam language. They are also ample proof for his keen observation, acute perception, and astute portrayal of human relationships and emotions. Many of his films have stunning and haunting climaxes, most of them not commonly portrayed in Malayalam movies. His characters were portrayed with great sensitivity and intensity on the screen and many of the scenes are generously sprinkled with humor. The dialogues of characters are quite natural, in the language of the common man, and yet have a subtle lyrical quality.

Indeed, a just case may be made that his directorial merit flowed easily from his exquisitely crafted screenplays: he never directed a film based on a script written by someone else (unlike other Malayalam film directors of comparable stature, say, Bharathan and K. G. George), and rarely adapted his script from a story not his own. Consequently, he had an unusually intimate knowledge of the characters in his films in combination with his mastery of the script.

Association with Bharathan[edit]

Together with Bharathan and K. G. George, he successfully laid the foundation for a school of Malayalam cinema that strove to tread a middle ground by striking a fine balance between intellectual and commercial appeal, without sacrificing the strong points of either approach; this was accomplished by portraying brilliant stories with "next door" men and women as characters, steering clear of artificial characters, stereotypes and pedantic inclinations allegedly typical of critically acclaimed films. The term "Parallel film" is usually used to describe his style of film making. Along with Bharathan, he displayed mastery in handling sexuality on the screen, hitherto less known in Malayalam cinema.

Association with actors[edit]

He was quite adept in spotting talent, and introduced many fresh faces who would later make their mark in Indian cinema, including Ashokan (Peruvazhiyambalam), Rasheed (Oridathoru Phayalvaan), Rahman (Koodevide), Jayaram (Aparan), Ramachandran (Novemberinte Nashtam), Ajayan (Moonnam Pakkam). Also artists like Nitish Bharadwaj (Njan Gandharvan), Suhasini (Koodevide); Shaari (Namukku Parkkan Munthirithoppukal) were introduced to Malayalam screen by him.

He coaxed sparkling and inspired performances from many actors, such as Bharath Gopi, Mammootty, Mohanlal, Karamana Janardanan Nair, Rahman, Jagathy Sreekumar, Suresh Gopi (in Innale), Shobhana, Sumalatha, Thilakan, and Nedumudi Venu; indeed, Thilakan's rendition in Moonnam Pakkam is one of the best performances of the thespian's career. His association with Mohanlal was well noted especially because their films broke the conventional concepts prevailing during that time. He also aided in establishing, to a fair degree, the fame of other directors such as Bharathan, I. V. Sasi, and Mohan, through his association with them; his collaboration with Bharathan as a script writer is considered to have produced remarkable works in Malayalam cinema. His assistants who went on to direct films independently include Thoppil Ajayan (Perumthachchan), Suresh Unnithan (Jaathakam, Raadhaamaadhavam), and Blessy (Kaazhcha, Thanmaathra, the latter adapted from Padmarajan's short story Orma.


His sudden and untimely death, which occurred at Hotel Paramount Towers in Calicut while he was visiting a Cinema playing his last film Njan Gandharvan. The news of his death was a shock to Keralites and was widely mourned, and the feeling of loss among the people of Kerala lingers to this day.The reason for his death is a massive cardiac arrest.

Personal life[edit]

Padmarajan's wife Radhalakshmi Padmarajan is from Chittur in Palakkad. Radhalakshmi was his colleague at AIR before their marriage in 1970. RadhaLakshmi has written her reminiscences about him in her book Padmarajan entaey gandharvan (Padmarajan, my celestial lover). Their son, P. Ananthapadmanabhan, is a writer.



# Name Translation in English
1 Itha Ivide Vare Look! Till Here
2 Jalajwala The Watery Fire
3 Manju Kaalam Notta Kuthira The Horse Which Longed for Winter
4 Nakshathrangale Kaaval The Stars Alone Guard Me
5 Nanmakalude Sooryan The Sun of Virtues
6 Onnu Randu Moonnu One two Three
7 Peruvazhiyambalam Highway Shelter
8 Prathimayum Rajakumariyum The Statue and the Princess
9 Rathinirvedam Venereal Disenchantment
10 Rithubhedhangalude Paarithoshikam The Reward of Vicissitudes
11 Shavavahanangalum Thedi In Search of Biers
12 Udakappola A Bubble in the Water
13 Vadakakku Oru Hridayam A Heart for Rent
14 Vikramakaaleeswaram
15 Kallan Pavithran Pavithran The Thief

Short stories[edit]

Name Year Book
"Aanakkeni" 1968 Prahelika
"Aattinkuttiyum Chennayayum" (NA)
"Achan" (NA)
"Agnikkuri" 1970 Mattullavarude Venal
"Ajnathamaya Oru Nadu" (NA)
"Akale Sandhya Marikkunnu" (NA)
"Alappuzha" 1972
"Amrithethu" 1971 Pukakkannada
"Anubandham" (NA)
"Aparan" 1967 Aparan
"Arante Ammayude Shavam" (NA)
"Arappatta Kettiya Gramathil" (NA) Kaivariyude Thekkeyattam
"Athirthi" (NA) Kaivariyude Thekkeyattam
"Athithi" (NA) Kaivariyude Thekkeyattam
"Avakashikalude Prashnam" 1977
"Avar Appozhum" (NA)
"Azhchayaruthi" (NA) Kaivariyude Thekkeyattam
"Banion Avenue" (NA)
"Bhadra" 1967 Prahelika
"Busum Goulikalum" (NA)
"Chiraku Viriyunnathuvare..." (NA)
"Choondal" 1967 Aparan
"Daya (Avalude Katha)" 1970 Prahelika
"Enikku Kireedam Venda" (NA)
"Ente Prabhatham Undavatte" (NA)
"Garbhapathrangalkkullil Shavangal" 1971
"Girijayude Swapnam" (NA)
"Homappakshiyute Muttakal" 1977
"Jalappishachu" (NA)
"Jeevithacharya" (NA) Kaivariyude Thekkeyattam
"Kabandhagathi" 1970 Aparan
"Kabar" 1970 Aparan
"Kaikeyi" 1967 Prahelika
"Kaivariyude Thekkeyattam" (NA) Kaivariyude Thekkeyattam
"Kanneerummakal" (NA)
"Kariyilakkattupole" (NA)
"Kazhinja Vasanthakalathil" 1970 Aparan
"Khandavam" 1968 Aparan
"Kili Kizhavi" 1968 Aparan
"Kizhakke Muttathe Chempakamaram" (NA)
"Kodathivishikku Shesham" 1969 Mattullavarute Venal
"Kunju" 1977
"Kure Kuttikal" (NA) Kaivariyude Thekkeyattam
"Lola" 1965 Aparan
"Manjukalathe Kakka" 1971 Pukakkannada
"Marangal" (NA)
"Marimela" 1970
"Mattoru Bhoopradesham" 1974
"Mattullavarude Venal" (NA) Mattullavarude Venal
"Mazha" 1970 Pukakkannada
"Moovanthi" 1970 Prahelika
"Mrithi" 1969 Mattullavarude Venal
"Mrithyupathrathil Thiruthu" 1968 Pukakkannada
"Nakshathra Dukham" 1970 Prahelika
"Nammal Nagnakal" (NA)
"Nee (Veendum) Nee Nee" 1970 Prahelika
"Njan Ninte Koode" (NA)
"Ningalude Thazhvarangal Ningalkku" 1974
Name Year Book
"Nishashalabham" (NA) Kaivariyude Thekkeyattam
"Nizhal" (NA)
"Ore Chandran" (NA)
"Orma" (NA)
"Oru Divasam Ucchakku" (NA)
"Oru Dukhithante Dinangal" (NA)
"Oru Pazhaya Satheerthya" (NA)
"Oru Sameepakala Durantham" 1981
"Oru Sthree, Oru Purushan" 1970 Mattullavarude Venal
"Oru Vidhoorabandham" 1977
"Pakalukalolam Rathrikal" (NA)
"Palunkumalika" 1970 Prahelika
"Pambu" (NA) Kaivariyude Thekkeyattam
"Pathayile Kaattu" 1970 Mattullavarude Venal
"Parvathikkutty" 1967 Aparan
"Pazhaya Katha" 1973
"Peppatti" (NA)
"Poovum Thavalayum" (NA)
"Prahelika" 1970 Prahelika
"Prasavam" 1970 Aparan
"Pretham" (NA)
"Pukakkannada" 1969 Pukakkannada
"Pulayanarkkotta" 1970 Mattullavarude Venal
"Raghunathante Achan" (NA)
"Raktham, Choru, Kannuneer" (NA)
"Ranimarude Kudumbam" (NA) Kaivariyude Thekkeyattam
"Rathrichithram" (NA)
"Rathriyile Mathram Suhruthukkal" (NA)
"Rathriyum Pinneyoru Rathriyum" (NA) Kaivariyude Thekkeyattam
"Sahasika" (NA) Kaivariyude Thekkeyattam
"Samayogam" (NA) Kaivariyude Thekkeyattam
"Sankhapporul" 1975
(NA) Kaivariyude Thekkeyattam
"Sannipatham" (NA)
"Sayahnasavari" 1976
"Shanthasooryan" 1973
"Shoorppanakha" 1970 Aparan
"Sree Gopalankutty" 1979
"Sundarikalum Sundarimarum" 1969 Mattullavarude Venal
"Swathanthrya Samaram" 1970 Pukakkannada
"Syphilisinte Nadakkavu" 1970 Pukakkannada
"Thakara" 1978
"Thanthrangalilonnu" (NA)
"Theatre" (NA)
"Theethali" (NA)
"Thira, Theeram" 1970 Prahelika
"Thiruvullam Bodhippan" (NA)
"Tholkkathe, Jayikkathe" (NA)
"Thottavaril Oral" (NA)
"Vanitha" 1971 Pukakkannada
"Velipadu Kondavar" 1975
"Veruthe Vesham" 1973
"Veyilil Doore" (NA)
"Vicharana, Vidhi" (NA)
"Vikalangar" (NA) Kaivariyude Thekkeyattam
"Viswasangalil Aviswasam" (NA)
"Yauvanam Izhayumpol" (NA)


Year Original title English title Direction Story Screenplay Notes
1975 Prayanam The Journey Yes Yes Directed by Bharathan.
1977 Itha Ivide Vare Look! Till here Yes Yes Based on the novel of the same name. Directed by I. V. Sasi.
1978 Nakshathrangale Kaaval The Stars Alone Guard Me Yes Yes Based on the novel of the same name. Directed by K. S. Sethumadhavan.
1978 Rappadikalude Gatha The Song of the Nightingales Yes Yes Directed by K. G. George.
1978 Rathinirvedam Adolescent Desire Yes Yes Based on the novel of the same name. Directed by Bharathan.
1978 Sathrathil Oru Rathri A Night in an Inn Yes Yes Directed by N. Sankaran Nair.
1978 Shalini Ente Koottukari Shalini, My Friend Yes Yes Directed by Mohan.
1978 Vadakakku Oru Hridayam A Heart for Hire Yes Yes Based on the novel of the same name. Directed by I. V. Sasi.
1979 Peruvazhiyambalam Highway Shelter Yes Yes Yes Based on the novel of the same name.
1979 Kochu Kochu Thettukal Minor Mistakes Yes Yes Directed by Mohan.
1980 Thakara Weed Yes Yes Based on the short story of the same name. Directed by Bharathan.
1981 Oridathoru Phayalvaan There Lived a Wrestler Yes Yes Yes Also edited the film.
1981 Kallan Pavithran Pavithran, the Thief Yes Yes Yes Based on the novel of the same name.
1981 Lorry Yes Yes Directed by Bharathan.
1982 Novemberinte Nashtam November's Loss Yes Yes Yes
1982 Idavela Interval Yes Yes Directed by Mohan.
1983 Koodevide? Wither the Nest Yes Yes Based on the Tamil novel Moongil Pookkal by Vaasanthi.
1983 Kaikeyi Yes Yes Based on the short story of the same name. Directed by I. V. Sasi.
1983 Eenam Tune Yes Yes Directed by Bharathan.
1984 Parannu Parannu Parannu Soaring Soaring Soaring Yes Yes Yes
1984 Kanamarayathu Beyond the Horizon Yes Yes Directed by I. V. Sasi.
1985 Thinkalazhcha Nalla Divasam Monday, an Auspicious Day Yes Yes Based on the radio drama Ammakku Vendi by Sajini Pavithran.
1985 Ozhivukalam Vacation Yes Yes Directed by Bharathan.
1985 Karimbinpoovinakkare Across the Sugarcane Flowers Yes Yes Directed by I. V. Sasi.
1986 Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal Vineyards for Us to Dwell Yes Yes Based on the novel Nammukku Graamangalil Chennu Raappaarkkaam by K. K. Sudhakaran.
1986 Kariyila Kattu Pole Like a Zephyr of Dry Leaves Yes Yes Based on the radio drama Sisirathil Oru Prabhatham by Sudhakar Mangalodayam.
1986 Arappatta Kettiya Gramathil In the Village Which Wears a Warrior's Belt Yes Yes Yes Based on the short story of the same name.
1986 Desatanakkili Karayarilla The Migratory Bird Never Cries Yes Yes Yes
1986 Nombarathi Poovu The Sorrowful Flower Yes Yes Yes
1987 Thoovanathumbikal Butterflies of the Spraying Rain Yes Yes Yes Based on the novel Udakappola.
1988 Aparan The Impostor Yes Yes Yes Loosely based on the short story of the same name.
Story credited to Padmarajan and M. K. Chandrasekharan.
1988 Moonnam Pakkam On the Third Day Yes Yes Yes
1989 Season Yes Yes Yes
1990 Innale Yesterday Yes Yes Based on the Tamil novel Punarjananam by Vaasanthi.
1990 Ee Thanutha Veluppan Kalathu In These Cold Wee Hours Yes Yes Directed by Joshi.
1991 Njan Gandharvan I, Celestial Lover Yes Yes Yes
2011 Rathinirvedam Adolescent Desire Yes Yes Remake of the 1978 Film of the same name directed by T. K. Rajeev Kumar.


Kerala Sahithya Academy Awards
  • 1972: Novel – Nakshathrangale Kaval
National Film Awards
Kerala State Film Awards[1]
Kerala Film Critics' Awards
Film Fans' Awards
  • 1975: Best Screenplay – Prayaanam
  • 1977: Best Screenplay – Itha Ivide Vare
  • 1978: Best Screenplay – Rappadikalude Gatha, Rathinirvedam
  • 1980: Best Screenplay – Thakara
Other awards

Padmarajan Award[edit]

Main article: Padmarajan Award

Padmarajan Puraskaram or Padmarajan Award is an annual film/literary award instituted by the Padmarajan Memorial Trust.[2] It carries a plaque and a cash award of 10,000.[2] The award is given in two categories:

  • Padmarajan Award for Best Short Story
  • Padmarajan Award for Best Film

See also[edit]


External links[edit]