|Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha|
|Produced by||P. V. Gangadharan|
|Written by||M. T. Vasudevan Nair|
|Music by||Bombay Ravi|
|Cinematography||K. Ramachandra Babu|
|Edited by||M. S. Mani|
|Distributed by||Kalpaka Films|
Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha (English: A Northern Tale Of Valor) is a 1989 Indian Malayalam-language epic historical drama film directed by Hariharan, written by M. T. Vasudevan Nair, and starring Mammootty, Balan K. Nair, Suresh Gopi, Madhavi, Geetha and Captain Raju. The film won four National Film Awards (1989) including Best Actor (Mammootty), Best Screenplay (M. T. Vasudevan Nair), Best Production Design and Best Costume Design (P. Krishnamoorthy) and six Kerala State Film Awards.
The film is set in 16th-century northern Kerala. The plot unfolds at Puthooram, the house of great Kannappan Chekavar. Kannappan Chekavar adopts the son of his estranged sister when the boy loses both his parents and brings him to Puthooram to live and learn with his cousins. The orphan boy, Chandu, a quick learner, earns the love and admiration of his uncle, while he is loathed by his cousin Aromal.
As they grow up Chandu is betrothed to Chekavar's daughter, Unniyarcha. Several events unfold where in Chandu finds himself being pushed to the corner by his cousin. He flees to the kalari under the guidance of Tulunadan expert and master Chekavar, Aringodar.
Chandu has to recount only losses in his life, as Aromal ensures his sister is not married to Chandu. He even deceives Chandu by usurping and marrying Kunjinooli (Chithra), who was in love with Chandu. The heartbroken Chandu moves ahead and continues to master the art of Kalari Payattu from Aringodar.
On wedding day of Aromal, Unniyarcha invites Chandu to her room. However Unniyarcha's husband, the eunuch Kunjiraman sees them. Unniyarcha, the clever vixen that she is, convinces her husband that Chandu broke into her room as she was awaiting the arrival of Kunjiraman. Chandu gets a sobriquet: 'Womanizer Chandu.' A dejected Chandu finds solace in Kunji, Aringodar’s daughter.
Feudal lord Unnichandror (Ramu) arrives at the footsteps of Aringodar and invites him to represent his cause in an angam (duel unto death) against mooppu feud with his brother Unnikonar. Unnikonar, in turn, invites Aromal to represent him. Chandu is now caught in a dilemma, when his uncle requests him to play second hand to Aromal in the angam against his teacher Aringodar. Unniyarcha also appears and offers to live with Chandu if he assists Aromal to win against Aringodar. A tempted Chandu, decides to second Aromal. Chandu takes on the task of revitalizing Aromal's swords by providing them for treatment to the blacksmith. However, Kunji, Aringodar’s daughter, bribes the blacksmith and makes them brittle.
On the day of the duel, Aromal, though highly skilled, is no match for the master Aringodar. To add to the misery, Aromal's sword breaks in two. As Chandu placates an attacking Aringodar, seeking time to replace the weapon, Aringodar obliges. Then wily Aromal throws his broken sword and kills an unguarded Aringodar.
Aromal is declared winner. As he retires to his resting place, Chandu follows him to tend to his injuries. Aromal blames Chandu of cheating, by treating the swords to make them brittle, and attacks him. Aromal kills himself in an accident by falling over a lamp. As people gather, Aromal breathes out his last words: "Chandu betrayed us!".
The ill-fated Chandu escapes the mob and finds the blacksmith, who informs that he was bribed by Kunji. Fighting his way through the entire contingent of guards, Chandu storms into Aringodar's household seeking Kunji. To add to his list of regrets, he finds Kunji has committed suicide by hanging herself. Chandu returns to Puthooram Veedu and is greeted by a raging Unniyarcha, who vows her sons will avenge her brother’s death.
Years later, Aromal Unni and Kannapan Unni (sons of Unniyarcha and Aromal Chekavar respectively) come to the kalari of Arangodar seeking revenge. Chandu explains to them the situation, hoping to avoid a duel. However, after being repeatedly challenge Chandu easily beats both, once again showing his mastery. Thinking they will leave before bloodshed is inevitable he attempts to retire his weapons. The two young warriors are in no mood to leave in defeat and insist on a duel to the death. Chandu plainly tells them about their mistakes in the duel and skillfully explains the possible strategies they have up their sleeve. Aromal Unni announces himself, "I, son of Unniyarcha, will die or go back with your head." Chandu realises the madness in the youngsters and appears to relent to their provocations, turns his back to them as if to pray in preparation for the duel. But knowing that no one will ever be able to win against him, and reminded that Aromal is Kannappan Chekavar's grandson, he commits one final act of valour: Chandu stabs himself with his sword. "You would have been my son," he tells Aromal Unni reminiscing bitterly on what could have been. He reaches out to the statue of his deity and dies. There ends life of a valiant but misunderstood man, the greatest warrior of his age.
- Mammootty as Chandu Chekavar: A misunderstood hero belonging to a mercenary clan. The orphan boy, Chandu, a quick learner, earns the love and admiration of his uncle, while he is loathed by his cousin. Veteran actor Prem Nazir was originally considered for this role but since MT felt Mammootty's physique would better suit the character.
- Balan K. Nair as Kannappan Chekavar: Chandu's uncle and a veteran master of the southern style of Kalari martial arts. He adopts Chandu when the boy loses both his parents and brings him to Puthooram to live and learn with his cousins.
- Suresh Gopi as Aromal Chekavar: son of Kannappan Chekavar.
- Madhavi as Unniarcha: A succubus and vixen warrior, sister of Aromal Chekavar and fiancée of Chandu Chekavar.
- Captain Raju as Aringodar Chekavar: A mighty legend and master of northern Kalari known as "Thulunadan Kalari" and Chandu's second teacher in his lifelong learning discipline.
- Geetha as Kunji
- Rajalakshmi as Kuttimani
- Jomol as young Unniarcha
- Vineeth Kumar as young Chandu
- Vishal menon as young Kunhiraman
- Biyon as Child Artist
- Ramu as Unnichandror
- Devan as Unnikonnar
- Oduvil Unnikrishnan as the king
- Chithra as Kunjinooli
- Soorya as blacksmith's daughter
- Sanjay Mitra as Aromalunni
- Rasheed Ummer as Kanappanunni
- Sukumari as Kannappa Chekavar's wife
- V. K. Sreeraman as Kunhiraman
- Kundara Johny as Aringodar's student
- Bheeman Raghu as Aringodar's student
- Tony as Unnikannan
Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha received both commercial and critical acclaim. In a 2013 online poll, IBN Live listed Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha as the third greatest Indian film of all time. The poll was conducted as part of the celebrations of Indian cinema completing 100 years. The poll constituted a list of 100 films from different Indian languages.
|1||"Chandanalepa Sugandham"||K. J. Yesudas|
|2||"Enthinavidam"||K. J. Yesudas|
|3||"Indulekha Kanthurannu"||K. J. Yesudas|
|4||"Kalarivilakku Thelinjathaano"||K. S. Chitra|
|5||"Unni Ganapathi Thamburaane"||K. S. Chitra, Asha Latha|
- Best Screenplay – M. T. Vasudevan Nair
- Best Actor – Mammootty (also for Mathilukal)
- Best Art Direction – P. Krishnamoorthy
- Best Costume Design – P. Krishnamoorthy
- Best Popular Film
- Best Screen Play – M. T. Vasudevan Nair
- Best Actor – Mammootty
- Second Best Actress – Geetha
- Best Cinematography – K. Ramachandra Babu
- Best Female Play Back Singer – K. S. Chithra
- K. T. C. Abdullah, P. M. Jayan. "വടക്കന് വീരഗാഥയില് ആദ്യം പ്രേംനസീര് ആയിരുന്നു നായകന്" Archived 23 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Chandrika Weekly. 7 October 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
- "Happy Birthday Mammootty: 5 best performances of Mammukka you shouldn't miss". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- "'Mayabazar' is India's greatest film ever: IBNLive poll" Archived 4 February 2015 at WebCite. IBN Live. 12 May 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- "IBNLive Poll: Vote for India's greatest film of all time". IBN Live. 26 April 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2013.