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|Directed by||K. G. George|
|Screenplay by||K. G. George|
S. L. Puram Sadanandan (dialogues)
|Story by||K. G. George|
|Music by||M. B. Sreenivasan|
Yavanika (transl. Curtain) is a 1982 Indian Malayalam-language mystery thriller film written and directed by K. G. George, and starring Bharath Gopi, Nedumudi Venu, Jalaja, Thilakan, and Mammootty. 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.
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 departs for a stage show during that night at a distant place. All are on board, but wait for Kollappally (VenuNagaValli), a popular and awarding winning performer of the troupe. In that rainy 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 enquires 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. Varunan (Jagathi Sreekumar), the comedian of the troupe, suggests to go past 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 there 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 without him and the team proceeds to a hotel midway to the following day's show. In the morning, Chellapan (Sreenivasan) sends another Tabalist as a replacement for Ayyappan. After two consecutive shows the troupe returns and drops Rohini first at her home and finds that Ayyappan hasn't returned to their home either.
After a week the troupe members realise that the "missing" of Ayyappan is mysterious and without any valid reason, despite his history of quarrelling and leaving the troupe in the past. Varunan advises Vakkachan to register a complaint at the Police for a missing person case. The police files the case and puts Jacob Eraly (Mammootty) a Circle Inspector in charge for the investigation.
Soon, Jacob Eraly starts an inquiry. He interrogates the troupe members one by one. Some are of the opinion that Ayyappan might have left the troupe or is with other women as he has taken the ornaments of Rohini the day before he went missing. Police went clueless except that (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 store owner the evening before he went missing. After a month when people started forgetting about Ayyappan, his body was recovered from a paddy field. So the case now has turned into murder. The police officer identifies a keychain with some keys from the spot where the body was found, with "J.K." on it. C.I. Jacob recognises 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 killed Ayyappan on the roadside when he met him that night, as a result of a quarrel and wrestling. He said he hid the body under the paddy field. 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 at 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 a message that he will come to the stage directly. The curtain raises and the show starts. Rohini appears 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 the 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 who committed the murder of Ayyappan. She explains to the police that Ayyappan took her ornaments, sold them 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. In desperation, Rohini sought help from Kollappally, who always had empathy for her, for her tied-up life with Ayyappan against her will. Kollappaly helps her to hide the body under the paddy field. While packing Ayyappan's body, a piece of the bottle was left behind in the house which Rohini puts out of the house and which was subsequently found by Jacob. 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 enter the bus silently and depart from the scene.
- Bharath Gopi as Tablist Aiyappan
- Nedumudi Venu as Balagopalan
- Jalaja as Rohini
- Thilakan as Vakkachan
- Mammootty as Jacob Eeraly
- Venu Nagavalli as Joseph Kollapally
- Jagathi Sreekumar as Varunan
- Vijayavani as Molly Jacob Eeraly
- Thodupuzha Vasanthi as Rajamma
- Sreenivasan as Chellapan
- Ashokan as Vishnu Ayyappan
- Mohan Jose as Danny
- Kuttyedathi Vilasini as Ammini
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, but later picked up and became a commercial success at the box office. Yavanika released along with the Prem Nazir-starrer Ivanoru Simham but still it managed to surpass its box office collection.
|1||"Bharatha Muniyoru Kalam Varachu"||K. J. Yesudas, Selma George||O. N. V. Kurup|
|2||"Chembaka Pushpa"||K. J. Yesudas||O. N. V. Kurup|
|3||"Machaanethedi"||Selma George||M. B. Sreenivasan|
|4||"Mizhikalil Nirakathiraayi"||K. J. Yesudas||O. N. V. Kurup|
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- "Yavanika". spicyonion.com. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- K. Pradeep (19 November 2007). "A classic called Yavanika". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
- Shobha Warrier (29 January 2008). "Goodbye, Mr Bharat Gopi". Rediff.com. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
- "മലയാള സിനിമയിലെ കരുത്തനായ പോലീസ് ഓഫീസര്, അതിശയിപ്പിച്ച എട്ട് വേഷങ്ങള്!!". Filmibeat. 26 March 2016.
- "ജീവിതമെന്ന അസംബന്ധനാടകം". (in Malayalam). Janayugom. 31 March 2010. Retrieved 22 July 2011.