From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Theatrical release poster
Directed byBalu Mahendra
Screenplay byBalu Mahendra
Story byJohn Paul
Based onThe Yellow Handkerchief
Produced byJoseph Abraham
CinematographyBalu Mahendra
Edited byD. Vasu
Music byIlaiyaraaja
Prakkattu Films
Release date
  • 20 September 1985 (1985-09-20)
Box office₹19 million

Yathra (transl.The Journey) is a 1985 Indian Malayalam-language romantic drama film written and directed by Balu Mahendra. The film stars Mammootty and Shobana, while Adoor Bhasi, Thilakan and Alummoodan play supporting roles. The film tells a fictional story but is built upon the human rights violations by the police and the prison authorities in India during the emergency of 1975–1977, when the fundamental rights of the citizens were suspended. It is an adaptation of the 1977 Japanese classic The Yellow Handkerchief.[1][2][3][4]

The film was produced by Joseph Abraham under the banner Prakkattu Films. The film was his third production venture, the others being Olangal and Oomakkuyil. The film features original songs composed by Ilaiyaraaja, with lyrics written by P. Bhaskaran and O. N. V. Kurup. The cinematography of the film was done by Balu Mahendra himself, while the editing was done by D. Vasu.[5]

Yathra was released on 20 September 1985 and received critical acclaim. It was a box office success and had a theatrical run of over a year. The film won three Kerala State Film Awards: Best Film with Popular Appeal and Aesthetic Value, Best Director for Balu Mahendra and the Special Jury Award for Mammootty. Shobana was nominated for Best Actress category at the Filmfare Awards South. The film was remade by Balu Mahendra in Telugu as Nireekshana (1986) and in Tamil as Adhu Oru Kana Kaalam (2005).[3][5][6]


The story unfolds as Unnikrishnan (Mammootty), a convict, now free from jail, tells his tragic love story to his fellow passengers in a school bus. An orphan and a forest officer by profession, he falls in love with a local woman, Thulasi, during his stay at a forest area. They decided to get married, and he sets off to tell his best friend about his plans. On his way back, the police arrest him as a suspected criminal, who looks similar to Unnikrishnan. There he accidentally kills a policeman and gets life imprisonment. During his early days at jail, he writes a letter to Thulasi asking her to forget him. When his prison term was about to complete, he writes a letter to see if she waits for him. After long years of torment in the jail he goes to meet Thulasi. Does she still wait for him? That's the question of his fellow passengers, too. At the end, she does wait for him, and welcomes him with lamps, and a face, wet with tears of joy, and sadness, together. Thus, the film ends off happily, with everyone shedding tears of joy.



The film was released on 20 September 1985. According to a trade analysis by Sreedhar Pillai for India Today, the film grossed around 0.19 crores from the releasing centers, becoming the highest grossing Malayalam film of the year.[7][8] Yathra completed a 120-day run in theatres.[9] The film ran for more than 50 days in a center in Coimbatore.[10]


Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Kerala State Film Awards Best Film with Popular Appeal and Aesthetic Value Balu Mahendra, Joseph Abraham Won [11]
Best Director Balu Mahendra Won
Special Jury Award Mammootty Won
Filmfare Awards South Best Actress Shobana Nominated [12]


The music was composed by Ilaiyaraaja and the lyrics were written by P. Bhaskaran and O. N. V. Kurup. The song "Thanannam Thannanam" is inspired by My Favorite Things from the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music.

No. Song Singers Lyrics Length (m:ss)
1 "Kunnathoru Kaavundu" (resung song from Asuravithu) Cochin Alex P. Bhaskaran
2 "Thannannam Thaanannam" K. J. Yesudas, Ambili, Chorus, Antony, Anna Sangeetha O. N. V. Kurup
3 "Yamune Ninnude" S. Janaki, Chorus O. N. V. Kurup


  1. ^ "Yaathra". spicyonion.com. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Yaathra". malayalasangeetham.info. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b Shedde, Meenakshi (18 July 2015). "Risking life and liberty". The Hindu. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  4. ^ "Yaathra". www.malayalachalachithram.com. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Producer of film 'Yaathra', Joseph Abraham passes away". OnManorama. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  6. ^ "+++++++++++++ official website of INFORMATION AND PUBLIC RELATION DEPARTMENT OF KERALA +++++++++++++". 3 March 2016. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  7. ^ "New icons of Kerala's thriving movie industry zap jaded demigod Prem Nazir". India Today. 15 January 1986.
  8. ^ "Shobana to work with Mohanlal and Mammootty again? Here's what the actress says". The Times of India. 13 May 2020.
  9. ^ Menon, Akhila (15 November 2016). "10 Mammootty Movies Which Completed 200 Days At The Theatres". filmibeat.com. Retrieved 11 July 2022.
  10. ^ Yathra (1985) - Posters
  11. ^ "Kerala State Film Awards 1969–2001". Information and Public Relations Department of Kerala. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
  12. ^ 34th Filmfare South winners.jpg (1899×1891) (archive.org)

External links[edit]