(Redirected from P. Padmarajan)

P. Padmarajan (23 May 1945 – 23 January 1991) was an Indian film maker, screenwriter and author who was known for his landmark work in Malayalam literature and Malayalam cinema. Padmarajan was the founder of a new school of film making in Malayalam cinema, along with Bharathan and K. G. George, in the 1980s, which created groundbreaking films that were widely received while also being critically acclaimed. He is known for the mastery in screenwriting in Malayalam Cinema.

P. Padmarajan
P. Padmarajan
P. Padmarajan

(1945-05-23)23 May 1945
Died23 January 1991(1991-01-23) (aged 45)
Other namesPappettan
Alma mater
Years active1975 – 1991
  • T. Anantha Padmanabha Pillai
  • N. Devaki Amma

Padmarajan was noted for his fine and detailed screenwriting and expressive direction style. Most of his movies are considered to be way ahead of its time.[1] Padmarajan made some of the landmark motion pictures in Malayalam cinema, including critically acclaimed works like Peruvazhiyambalam(1979), Oridathoru Phayalvaan (1981), Kallan Pavithran(1981), Koodevide(1983), Thinkalaazhcha Nalla Divasam(1985), Kariyilakkattu Pole(1986), Arappatta Kettiya Gramathil(1986), Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal(1986), Thoovanathumbikal(1987), Moonnam Pakkam(1988), Innale(1989), Season(1989) and Njan Gandharvan(1991). He wrote several short stories which were unique in content and presentation. His novels handled the darkest emotions and are considered as Classics. Most plots were nascent for that age literature. All works were so cinematic and can be easily visualized to celluloid version[clarification needed].

Early lifeEdit

Padmarajan was born on 23 May 1945 in Muthukulam near Haripad in Alappuzha, which was then under the princely state of Travancore. He was the sixth son of Thundathil Anantha Padmanabha Pillai and Njavarakkal Devaki Amma. After early schooling at Muthukulam, he studied at Mahatma Gandhi College, Thiruvananthapuram and University College, Thiruvananthapuram, graduating with a B.Sc. in chemistry (1963). Subsequently, he learned Sanskrit from the scholar Cheppad Achyutha Warrier at Muthukulam. He then joined All India Radio, Trichur (1965), starting as a programme announcer, and later settled at Poojappura, Trivandrum(1968); he would remain at All India Radio until 1986 when his involvement in films prompted him to retire voluntarily.

Career as screenwriter and directorEdit

Padmarajan's stories deal with deceit, murder, romance, mystery, passion, jealousy, libertinism, anarchism, individualism, social structure, human psychology and life of peripheral elements of society. Some of them are considered as among the best in Malayalam literature, his first novel published in 1971 titled Nakshathrangale Kaaval (The Stars Alone Guard Me) won the Kerala Sahithya Academy award (1972).

He entered the world of Malayalam films by writing the screenplay for Bharathan's directorial debut and Balu Mahendra's cinematography Prayanam(1975) to take first steps to be one of the most talented scriptwriters to have ever graced Malayalam cinema.

He later began to direct films based on his screenplays, beginning with Peruvazhiyambalam (The Halfway House) (1979), which are greatly popular among the common people as well as intellectuals and film critics, while maintaining richness in artistic and thematic originality and excellence with commercial appeal. His films explore the features of the landscape naturally and easily. Padmarajan was a great experimenter who explored all walks of life in his works. His screenplays had such hitherto-unheard of features and subjects – such as casting rain as a character in Thoovanathumbikal (Dragonflies in the drizzle), homosexual love in Desatanakkili Karayarilla (Migratory Birds Don't Cry), unusual climax (by traditional standards) in Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal (Vineyards for us to dwell) and Oridathoru Phayalvaan (There Lived a Wrestler). Forbidden love and characters that strive to rise above the limitations of middle-class Malayali society of the seventies and eighties is a recurring theme in many of his works. Many of his films bear the mark of his romanticism.

He is celebrated for his unparalleled attention to detail in his screenplays. Some of his scripts are arguably the smoothest narratives ever penned in the Malayalam language. They are also ample proof for his keen observation, acute perception, and astute portrayal of human relationships and emotions. Many of his films have stunning and haunting climaxes, most of them not commonly portrayed in Malayalam movies. His characters are portrayed with great sensitivity and intensity on the screen and many of the scenes are generously sprinkled with humour. The dialogues of characters are quite natural, in the language of the common man, and yet have a subtle lyrical quality. The landscape is also the major part of the Padmarajan's craft in film making. His thesis were well crafted in his films. He broke the distances between cinema and literature.

Indeed, a just cause may be made that his directorial merit flowed easily from his exquisitely crafted screenplays: he never directed a film based on a script written by someone else (unlike other Malayalam film directors of comparable stature, say, Bharathan and K. G. George), and rarely adapted his script from a story not his own. Consequently, he had an unusually intimate knowledge of the characters in his films in combination with his mastery of the script.

Association with BharathanEdit

Together with Bharathan and K. G. George, he successfully laid the foundation for a school of Malayalam cinema that strove to tread a middle ground by striking a fine balance between intellectual and commercial appeal, without sacrificing the strong points of either approach; this was accomplished by portraying brilliant stories with "next door" men and women as characters, steering clear of artificial characters, stereotypes and pedantic inclinations allegedly typical of critically acclaimed films. The term "Parallel film" is usually used to describe his style of film making. Along with Bharathan, he displayed mastery in handling sexuality on the screen, hitherto less known in Malayalam cinema.

Association with actorsEdit

He was quite adept in spotting talent, and introduced many fresh faces who would later make their mark in Indian cinema, including Ashokan (Peruvazhiyambalam), Rasheed (Oridathoru Phayalvaan), Rahman (Koodevide), Jayaram (Aparan), Ramachandran (Novemberinte Nashtam), Ajayan (Moonnam Pakkam). Also artists like Nitish Bharadwaj (Njan Gandharvan), Suhasini (Koodevide); Shari (Namukku Parkkan Munthirithoppukal) were introduced to Malayalam screen by him.

He coaxed sparkling and inspired performances from many actors, such as Bharath Gopi, Mammootty, Mohanlal, Shobana, Sumalatha, Karamana Janardanan Nair, Rahman, Jagathy Sreekumar, Suresh Gopi, Thilakan, Nedumudi Venu and Ashokan; indeed, Thilakan's rendition in Moonnam Pakkam is one of the best performances of the thespian's career. His association with Mohanlal was well noted especially because their films broke the conventional concepts prevailing during that time. He also aided in establishing, to a fair degree, the fame of other directors such as Bharathan, I. V. Sasi, and Mohan, through his association with them; his collaboration with Bharathan as a scriptwriter is considered to have produced remarkable works in Malayalam cinema. His assistants who went on to direct films independently include Thoppil Ajayan (Perumthachan), Suresh Unnithan's (Jaathakam, Raadhaamaadhavam), and Blessy's (Kaazhcha, Thanmaathra, the latter adapted from Padmarajan's short story Orma.

Personal lifeEdit

Padmarajan's wife Radhalakshmi is from Chittur in Palakkad. Radhalakshmi was his colleague at AIR before their marriage in 1970. Radhalakshmi has written her reminiscences about him in her book Padmarajan Entaey Gandharvan (Padmarajan, my celestial lover). Their son, P. Ananthapadmanabhan, is a writer. Padmarajan considered Moonnam Pakkam as his most favourite work.

Padmarajan died suddenly at Hotel Paramount Towers in Calicut in the early hours of 24 January 1991, while he was visiting a cinema playing his last film Njan Gandharvan. The cause of death was a massive cardiac arrest.[citation needed]



Short storiesEdit

  • Aparan ( Aparan)
  • Avalude Katha
  • Kariyilakkattu Pole (Kariyilakkattu Pole)
  • Kaivariyude Thekkeyattam
  • Kazhinja Vasantha Kalathil
  • Lola
  • Mattullavarude Venal
  • Onnu Randu Moonnu
  • Prahelika
  • Pukakkannada
  • Syphilisinte Nadakkavu
  • Athirthi
  • Jeevithacharya
  • Choondal
  • Amritheth
  • Swayam
  • Mazha
  • Mrithy
  • Oru Sthree Oru Purushan
  • Kunju
  • Shoorphanaka
  • Kaikeyi
  • Nisha Shalabham
  • Banyan Avenue
  • Orma
  • Jeevithacharya
  • Oru Sameepakaala Durantham
  • Ningalude Thaavalangal Ningalkk
  • Raanimaarude Kudumbam
  • Ore Chandranmaar''


Year Film Director Writer Directed by Lead Role
1975 Prayanam Yes Bharathan Nandita Bose, Karan, Lakshmi, Kottarakkara Sridharan Nair
1977 Itha Ivide Vare Yes I. V. Sasi Bahadoor, Adoor Bhasi, Jayabharati, Jayan
1978 Nakshathrangale Kaaval Yes K.S. Sethumadhavan Bahadur, Adoor Bhasi, Nandita Bose, Jayabharati
1978 Rappadikalude Gatha Yes K.G. George M.G. Soman, Vidhubala, Jose, Krishnachandran
1978 Rathinirvedam Yes Bharathan Krishnachandran, Jayabharati, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, K.P.A.C. Lalitha
1978 Sathrathil Oru Rathri Yes N. Sankaran Nair Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Prathapachandran, Sukumaran, M.G. Soman
1978 Vadakakku Oru Hridayam Yes I. V. Sasi Bahadur, Adoor Bhasi, Adoor Bhawani, Janardanan
1979 Peruvazhiyambalam Yes Asokan, Jose Prakash, K. P. A. C. Lalitha, Geetha, Bharath Gopi
1979 Kochu Kochu Thettukal Yes Mohan Kalasala Babu, Paravoor Bharathan, Hema Chaudhari, Innocent
1980 Thakara Yes Bharathan Prathap Pothen, Surekha, Nedumudi Venu, K.G. Menon
1981 Shalini Ente Koottukari Yes Mohan Shobha, Jalaja, Sukumaran, Venu Nagavalli
1981 Oridathoru Phayalvaan Yes Nedumudi Venu, Jayamala, Jayanthi, Asokan
1981 Kallan Pavithran Yes Nedumudi Venu, Bharat Gopy, Adoor Bhasi, Subhashini, Beena Banerjee
1982 Lorry Yes Bharathan Achankunju, Bahadur, Meena, Balan K. Nair
1982 Novemberinte Nashtam Yes Madhavi, Prathap Pothen, Surekha, Bharat Gopy
1983 Idavela Yes Mohan Idavela Babu, Asokan, Nalini, Innocent
1983 Koodevide Yes Suhasini Maniratnam, Mammootty, Rahman, Jose Prakash
1983 Kaikeyi Yes I. V. Sasi Poornima Jayaram, Vanitha Krishnachandran, Prathap Pothen, Radhika Sarathkumar
1984 Eenam Yes Bharathan Adoor Bhasi, Bharat Gopy, Kanakalatha, Unni Mary
1984 Parannu Parannu Parannu Yes Rahman, Rohini, Nedumudi Venu, Sukumari, Jagathy Sreekumar
1985 Kanamarayathu Yes I. V. Sasi Mammootty, Shobana, Rahman, Seema
1985 Thinkalazhcha Nalla Divasam Yes Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Mammootty, Srividya, Karamana Janardanan Nair,
1985 Ozhivukalam Yes Bharathan Prem Nazeer, Srividhya, Rohini,K.T.C. Abdullah, Jalaja, Bhaskara Kurup, Karamana Janardanan Nair
1986 Karimbinpoovinakkare (Written By) Yes I. V. Sasi Mammootty, Mohanlal, Seema, Urvashi
1986 Anokha Rishta Yes I. V. Sasi Rajesh Khanna, Smita Patil, Sabeeha, Shafi Inamdar
1986 Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal Yes Mohanlal, Shari, Thilakan, Vineeth, Kaviyoor Ponnamma
1986 Kariyilakkattu Pole Yes Mohanlal, Mammootty, Rahman, Karthika, Jalaja, Sripriya
1986 Arappatta Kettiya Gramathil Yes Mammootty, Jagathy Sreekumar, Asokan, Nedumudi Venu, Sukumari
1986 Desatanakkili Karayarilla Yes Mohanlal, Urvashi, Karthika, Jalaja, Shari Sukumari
1987 Nombarathi Poovu Yes Madhavi, Murali, Mammootty, Shari, Jagathy Sreekumar
1988 Thoovanathumbikal Yes Mohanlal, Sumalatha, Parvathy Jayaram, Asokan, Jagathy Sreekumar
1988 Aparan Yes Jayaram, Shobana, Mukesh, Madhu, Parvathi, Jalaja, Jagathy Sreekumar,
1989 Moonnam Pakkam Yes Jayaram, Asokan, Thilakan, Rahman, Jagathy Sreekumar
1990 Season Yes Mohanlal, Gavin Packard, Asokan, Jagathy Sreekumar, Shari
1990 Innale Yes Shobana, Jayaram, Srividya, Suresh Gopi, Jagathy Sreekumar
1990 Ee Thanutha Veluppan Kalathu Yes Joshiy Mammootty, Suresh Gopi, Murali, Mukesh, Lakshmi, Jagathy Sreekumar
1991 Njan Gandharvan Yes Nitish Bharadwaj, Suparna Anand, M.G. Soman, Ganesh Kumar


Kerala Sahithya Academy Awards
  • 1972: Novel – Nakshathrangale Kaval
National Film Awards
Filmfare Awards South
Kerala State Film Awards[2]
Kerala Film Critics' Awards
Film Fans' Awards
Other awards

Padmarajan AwardEdit

Padmarajan Puraskaram or Padmarajan Award is an annual film/literary award instituted by the Padmarajan Memorial Trust.[3] It carries a plaque and a cash award of 10,000.[3] The award is given in two categories:

  • Padmarajan Award for Best Short Story
  • Padmarajan Award for Best Film

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Vineyards of passion and bloody beaches: 5 eternal Padmarajan films for movie buffs". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  2. ^ "Kerala State Film Awards". Public Relations Department, Government of Kerala. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  3. ^ a b Padmarajan Puraskaram for writer Paul Zachariah. The Hindu. April 4, 2010. Retrieved July 15, 2015.

External linksEdit