4 July 2018 | ramnath-p
A Good Thriller
During the 80s and 90s famed filmmaker Sathyan Anthikkad would some times deviate from his usual subject of family melodrama and try a different genre.
His standard audience could not accept such departures resulting in the movie failing to impress at the box office.This happened in the case of good movies like sandesham - a political satire, pattanapravesham- comedy slapstick, pingami- an investigative thriller etc.. All these movies were really good ones but failed to impress the audience of that era.. Not surprisingly, they all have developed a cult following later on..
Artham is one such departure.However this was a success at the box office . This was also one of those movies of megastar Mammootty where he played the loner character unlike his early 80s films where he always played a family man(remember "mammootty, kutty, petti" films) . Another film in the same vein i can think of is Kalikkalam which was also directed by Sathyan Anthikkad .
Artham (1989) starts with a loner named Ben Narendran (Mammootty) writing a suicide note. He says that he is committing suicide as hefinds no purpose for his continued existence. He chooses to jump in front of a train . However fate intervenes when he ends up saving another young man named Janardanan (Jayaram) who has the same intention. Janardanan has committed a murder out of desperation and is scared of revenge. Narendran consoles him and offers to take the blame of the murder so that Janardanan can live freely.
Narendran gets sentenced to lifetime imprisonment. While in jail, he writes a book under the pen name "Ben" which becomes immensely popular and recieves the Academy award for that year. Journalist Manasa (Saranya) discovers that the author is behind bars and sees a story in him for her paper. Through Adv. P. S. Nenmara (sreenivasan) she gets him out on 28 days parole.
Narendran gets word that Janardanan has died mysteriously. He sets out on a mission to find the culprits with the help of Nenmara and Manasa.
The movie though dealing a serious subject has its lighter moments provided by Nenmara's infatuation with Manasa , Nenmara's servant Kunjikkanan (Mammukoyaa ) and the landlady played by Philomena..
It has a beautiful song Shyamambaram (written by Kaithapram and Music by Johnson) which is one of my favourites.
One curious thing i noted that when Ben talks about his past life, it sounds way similar to the backstory of another famous film hero Jagannathan(aaram thampuran) which came out much later in 1997 ! maybe Renjith got inspired from artham , may be not .Also the plot element of the curious journalist who gets out the prisoner who is an author on parole is similar to munnariyippu(2014). coincidences happen , don't they?
Artham is good movie to watch on a lazy afternoon.. One of mammoottys good movies.