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Directed byBalu Mahendra
Screenplay byBalu Mahendra
Story byJohn Paul
Produced byJoseph Abraham
CinematographyBalu Mahendra
Edited byD. Vasu
Music byIlaiyaraaja
Prakkattu Films
Release date
  • 20 September 1985 (1985-09-20)

Yathra (transl.The Journey) is a 1985 Indian Malayalam-language film directed by Balu Mahendra. It was remade by Balu Mahendra himself in Telugu as Nireekshana.[1] Yatra stars Mammootty and Shobana in the lead. [2][3][4]

Yathra tells a fictional story but is built upon the human rights violations by the police and the prison authorities in India during the nationwide 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. The film regarded as a one of the best Malayalam movie of malayalam cinema. One of the best performance done by Mammootty and Shobana.


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.

Box office[edit]

The film was commercial success and highest grossing Malayalam film of the year 1985.[5][6]


Mammootty won the Kerala State Film Award – Special Jury Award in 1985 and Balu Mahendra won Best Director at Filmfare Awards South. It also won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Film with Popular Appeal and Aesthetic Value.[7][8]


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. ^ Shedde, Meenakshi (18 July 2015). "Risking life and liberty". The Hindu. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Yaathra". www.malayalachalachithram.com. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  3. ^ "Yaathra". malayalasangeetham.info. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  4. ^ "Yaathra". spicyonion.com. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  5. ^ "New icons of Kerala's thriving movie industry zap jaded demigod Prem Nazir". India Today. 15 January 1986.
  6. ^ "Shobana to work with Mohanlal and Mammootty again? Here's what the actress says". The Times of India. 13 May 2020.
  7. ^ "6 Movies Of John Paul Which Prove That He Is A Master Writer!". Oneindia. 2 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Balu Mahendra: A fascinating journey in filmdom". The Hindu. 15 February 2014.

External links[edit]