Neelakuyil (English: The Blue Cuckoo; Malayalam: നീലക്കുയിൽ) is a 1954 Malayalam film jointly directed by P. Bhaskaran and Ramu Kariat. It is a neo-realistic melodrama and was based on a story written by Uroob who co-wrote the screenplay and dialogues along with P. Bhaskaran. Neelakuyil tells the story of the love affair of a Dalit girl and an educated, high caste school teacher. It stars Sathyan, Miss Kumari, Prema, P. Bhaskaran and Master Vipin. Many of the actors debuted through this film.
|Directed by||P. Bhaskaran|
|Produced by||T. K. Pareekutty|
|Music by||K. Raghavan|
|Edited by||T. R. Sreenivasalu|
|Distributed by||Chandrathara Pictures|
|Budget||₹1 lakh (equivalent to ₹81 lakh or US$110,000 in 2019)|
Neelakuyil was a landmark film in Malayalam cinema history that paved a new path for Malayalam cinema by breaking away from the earlier tradition of adapting plots from Hindi films for making Malayalam films, of which the story or the characters could never be identified with the culture of Kerala. Based on a story by famous Malayalam writer Uroob, Neelakuyil had dialogues with local accent, and the script’s hard-hitting dialogues flay social evils such as untouchability, feudalism, and injustice towards women. It features an acclaimed cinematography by A. Vincent and a successful musical score by K. Raghavan. It won the All India Certificate of Merit for Best Feature Film, and the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam, thus becoming the first nationally recognized Malayalam film. The lead performances and the narrative style was also noted.
Most of its shooting was done outdoors and it captured images of the rural, agrarian Kerala, its vast paddy fields, the life of the peasants and the feudal society.
The plot revolves around rustic life in a small village. Neeli (Miss Kumari), a Dalit peasant girl, falls in love with Sreedharan Nair (Sathyan), a school teacher. Neeli becomes pregnant. Sreedharan Nair refuses to marry Neeli as he fears being ostracized by a conservative society. Neeli becomes an outcaste and dies in child birth. Sankaran Nair (P.Bhaskaran), the village postman, adopts the child ignoring the protests of society. Sreedharan Nair marries Nalini (Prema), a member of an aristocratic family. Neeli’s son Mohan (Master Vipin) is brought up by the postman. The film ends with Sreedharan Nair and Nalini accepting the boy as their own child.
- Sathyan as Sreedharan Nair
- Miss Kumari as Neeli
- Prema Menon as Nalini
- Master Vipin (Vipin Mohan, who is now a popular cinematographer) as Mohan
- P. Bhaskaran as Shankaran Nair, the postmaster
- Ramankutty Menon as the feudal lord
- Manavalan Joseph
- Kochattil Balakrishna Menon
- JAR Anand
- Kodungalloor Amminiyamma
- Paravoor Bharathan (cameo role)
There are nine songs, scored by K. Raghavan and penned by P. Bhaskaran, in a soundtrack regarded as a milestone in Malayalam film music history. Before Neelakuyil, Malayalam film music was copied from Hindi and Tamil film songs. It was K. Raghavan, making his debut in the film, who introduced Malayali folk music into films. The musical genres utilised included Mappilappattu (Islamic music), Koyithupattu (a form of harvest singing), traditional prayers, romantic melodies, all of which emanated from the folk traditions of Kerala. The songs were choreographed by Guru Gopalakrishnan Kodungallur.
The popular songs from the film are "Ellarum Chollanu Ellarum Chollanu" Janamma David, "Kayalarikaathu Vala Erinjappol" (K. Raghavan), "Unarunaroo Unnikanna" (Shantha P. Nair), "Sarasa Sama Daana Bheda" (based on a Tyagaraja composition in Kapi Narayani), "Kadalasu Vanchi Eri" (Kozhikode Pushpa), "Maanennum Vilikkilla" (Mehboob), "Kuyiline Thedi" (Janamma David) and "Engane Nee Marakkum Kuyile" (Kozhikode Abdul Kader).
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