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LP Vinyl Records Cover
|Directed by||K. G. George|
|Screenplay by||S. L. Puram Sadanandan
K. G. George
|Story by||K. G. George|
|Music by||M. B. Sreenivasan|
Yavanika (English: When the Curtain Falls) is a 1982 Indian Malayalam mystery thriller film co-written and directed by K. G. George and starring Bharath Gopi, Mammootty and Jalaja. The film explores backstage drama of a travelling drama group. The plot is structured around the search for an unpopular tabla player of the troupe who suddenly disappears.
The film received wide critical acclaim and some critics even consider it as one of the greatest mystery thrillers ever made. It stands out as an aesthetic and commercially successful film of the 1980s. It won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Film. It was one of the first notable films of Mammootty. He won the Kerala Film Critics Awards for Best Supporting Actor, for his portrayal of Circle Inspector Jacob Eeraly. Thilakan established himself as an actor and got his first state award in 1982 for his role as Manager Vakkachan.
Vakkachan (Thilakan) is a popular theatre owner running his drama company known as 'Bhavana theatres'. He is the director of his dramas and is a critically acclaimed director and often surfaces as best ones in the state drama awards (in the story). The movie starts with a scene that the troupe departing for a stage show during that night in a distant place. All are on board but waiting for Kollappally (VenuNagaValli), a popular and awarding winning performer of the troupe. In that rain shadowed evening Kollappalli arrives late (unusually) and gives excuses to Vakkachan for being late, and the bus departs.
On the way they pick-up Rohini (Jalaja), who plays the lead female role in the drama, from her home. Vakkachan enquire where is Ayyappan (Gopi), the Tabala player of the troupe, with whom Rohini lives. The gloomy faced Rohini says she doesn’t know where he is and he hasn’t returned home last night, she replies. Varunan (Jagathi Sreekumar), the comedian of the troupe, suggest to route the bus through the nearest liquor shop where Ayyappan, a drunkard by nature, might be sleeping by booze over last night. However the team could not find him at the liquor shop either and they proceed to the stage with an anticipation that Ayyapan might be joining directly there.
As the drama starts, Ayyappan hasn't turned up yet but Vakkachan takes the risk of starting the show without the Tabalist. The drama goes well despite the orchestra had no Tabalist that night and the team proceed to a hotel mid way to the following day's stage show. In the morning Chellapan (Sreenivasan) sends another Tabalist as a replacement for Ayyappan. After two consecutive shows the troupe returns and drops Rohini fist at her home and finds that Ayyappan hasn’t returned to their home either.
After a week the troupe members realize that 'missing' of Ayyappan is mysterious and without any valid reason, despite his history of quarrelling and leaving the troupe in the past. Varunan advices Vakkachan to register a complaint in Police for man missing case. The police files the case and put Jacob Eraly (Mammootty) a DYSP officer in-charge for the investigation.
Soon Jacob Eraly starts inquiry. He interrogates the troupe members one by one. Some are at the opinion that Ayyappan might have left the troupe or the place with other women as he has forcefully captured the ornaments of Rohini the day before he went missing. Police went clue-less except few key point such as (1) Ayyappan son's presence in the scene, a potential reprisal to Ayyappan, just before the mysteries disappearance, (2) the verbal arguments between Balagopalan (Nedumudivenu) and Ayyappan in the liquor shop on the night he went missing, and (3) the evidences that Ayyappan has sold Rohini's ornaments to a jewellery owner the evening before he went missing. After a month when people started forgetting about Ayyappan, his body was recovered from a paddy field in between the drama company and Rohini's house. So the man missing case now has turned into murder. The police officer identifies a key chain with some keys from the spot where the body was found and it was carved 'J.K.' in it. DYSP Jacob recognizes that it must be the short name for Joseph Kollappally. He grabs Kollappally after a stage show and arrests him silently. Kollappaly confesses that he committed the murder of Ayyappan on road side when he accidentally met him that day night and as a result of a quarrel and wrestling. He said he hide the body under the paddy field. The motive was a quarrel at the crime scene. Jacob Eraly partially believes it though some missing links such as presence of a piece of broken glass which was used to stab the victim was found from Rohini's house instead at the spot where Kollappalli reported where he committed the crime.
The next day again the drama troupe waits for Kollappally not knowing that he was arrested. Police set a plot to identify the role of Rohini in the murder. Kollappalli was allowed to phone the troupe and give message that he will come to the stage directly. The curtain raise and the show started. Rohini appeared nervous to find out where Kollappally was and why he is late. Kollappally tells her in secret at the back of the stage that he has been arrested by police for commit murder of Ayyappan. Rohini's conscious fades and she enters the stage in the middle of the drama and confess to the audience with utter tension that it was not Kollappally but she committed the murder of Ayyappan. She explains to the police that Ayyappan captured her ornaments and sold it for money and provoked Rohini that he will be capturing her sister also for pleasure and ruin her too like he did to Rohini once. This triggered her anger and she stabbed him to death. At desperation Rohini sought help from Kollappally at that night who is always had empathy on her for her situation of tied-up life with Ayyappan against her will. Kollappaly helps her to hide the body under the paddy field. Both Rohini and Kollapally were taken into custody by police.
The movie ends with a fantastic background score where the rest of the troupe members entering the bus silently and departing from the scene.
- Bharath Gopi as Tablist Aiyappan
- Mammootty as Jacob Eeraly
- Jalaja as Rohini
- Venu Nagavalli as Joseph Kollapally
- Ashokan as Vishnu
- Thilakan as Vakkachan
- Jagathi Sreekumar as Varunan
- Nedumudi Venu as Balagopalan
- Mohan Jose
- Thodupuzha Vasanthi
- Kuttyedathi Vilasini
- Sreenivasan as Chellapan
About the film's development, K. G. George says: "I was staying in Madras those days when I got a call from Henry. He told me he was interested in making a Malayalam film with me and asked me if I had any subjects in hand. This led to a meeting at hotel Taj Connemara where I told him about two subjects. This included Adaminte Variyellu and Yavanika. Henry was keen about Yavanika and gave me the go ahead." George had the screenplay ready but wanted someone with theatre experience to help him with the dialogues. George first met K. T. Mohammed with this request. He agreed but for various reasons could not get to work on it. Since the shooting dates had to be postponed as the dialogues were not ready, George took it to S. L. Puram Sadanandan who agreed to do it.
To play the tabla player in the film, Gopi learnt the instrument. He believed that before facing the camera, an actor should know what he is going to perform. The entire shoot was in the suburbs of Vattiyoorkavu in Thiruvananthapuram. The theatre, the house to which Ayyappan brings Rohini, were all located nearby.
Release and reception
The film released in four theatres. For the first week the response was lukewarm. Perhaps this had something to do with George's reputation as a "new wave" director, who had with his previous films like Swapnadanam, Mela and Kolangal made a strong presence in the new cinema movement. But soon word spread like wildfire. Shedding off the sluggish start, Yavanika went on to become a box office hit. Yavanika released along with the Prem Nazir-starrer Ivanoru Simham but still it managed to surpass the superstar film's box office collection.
|1||Bharatha Muniyoru Kalam Varachu||K. J. Yesudas, Selma George||ONV Kurup|
|2||Chembaka Pushpa||K. J. Yesudas||ONV Kurup|
|3||Machaanethedi||Selma George||MB Sreenivasan|
|4||Mizhikalil Nirakathiraayi||K. J. Yesudas||ONV Kurup|
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