Pranayam (transl. Love) is a 2011 Indian Malayalam-language romantic drama film written and directed by Blessy.[1] The film stars Mohanlal, Jaya Prada, and Anupam Kher. The plot revolves around the love bound between the characters of Mathews (Mohanlal), Grace (Jaya Prada) and Achutha Menon (Kher). The music for the film was composed by M. Jayachandran. The film opened to positive reviews from critics and was also a commercial success at the box office. It was reported that the movie is based on the 2000 Australian movie Innocence and few scenes inspired from the 2010 Chinese movie Apart Together.[2]

Pranayam poster.jpg
Life is more beautiful than a dream
Directed byBlessy
Written byBlessy
Produced byP. K. Sajeev
Anne Sajeev
Jaya Prada
Anupam Kher
CinematographySatheesh Kurup
Edited byRaja Muhammed
Music byM. Jayachandran
Fragrant Nature Film Creations
Distributed byMaxlab Entertainments (Tamilnadu)
Mohit Productions & Studio99 Films
(outside Kerala)
Release date
  • 31 August 2011 (2011-08-31)
Running time
139 minutes


The film begins with Achutha Menon, a man in his late sixties arriving in the city to stay with his daughter-in-law and granddaughter after suffering a heart attack. He was a football player who had got selected in the State team but could never play for the team. He moulded his life and career to accommodate the romance in his life.

One day Menon sees his former wife Grace in the elevator and collapses. Grace, who is staying in the same building with her husband, daughter and son-in-law, arranges for him to be taken to the hospital and even pays the deposit for the emergency treatment. Slowly their relationship is revealed as she is very anxious about his condition.

Grace's husband Mathews is a retired philosophy professor who has his own philosophy of life. He is now bedridden and requires his wife's help to accomplish the most basic day-to-day tasks. Their physical intimacy is an indication that they may have led a fulfilling life as a couple before the tragedy struck.

The children start acting up as the old couple revive their acquaintance. In the later half of the film, even Mathews joins the former couple with Achuthan helping Grace in manoeuvring her husband's wheelchair in rough terrains. The three take a trip to a beach resort together.

At the resort, Mathews has a stroke and is rushed to the hospital. At the same hospital, Grace has a heart attack and dies, while Mathews survives. The last scene is one where Mathew places flowers at her gravestone and Achutha Menon helps him and finally wheels him away off somewhere where one hopes the two friends have comfort and companionship for the rest of their years.



Blessy claims that has gone through almost 25 years of hibernation for Pranayam. He says, "For so many years I have been carrying the subject in me as a writer, journeying with it as visuals and words. I have now transferred that to the characters. It's like letting go of something that was your own until now. And that is painful."[4] Blessy had discussed the storyline with writer-director Lohithadas, during the making of his Joker, in which he was the associate director. Lohithadas had told Blessy about how he had envisaged Mathews. After Bhramaram, Blessy had starting writing a story based on a few youngsters but didn't feel excited about it after a while as many similar stories were flooding theatres. Suddenly the story of Pranayam came back into his mind. About the scripting, Blessy says, "The interesting thing about this script is that even before I started writing it, what I had in my mind was its last frame. So I started developing the journey back from the last frame and completed it."[5]

P. K. Sajeev and Anne Sajeev are the producers under the banner of Fragrant Nature Film Creations. Aneesh Jacob is the executive producer. The first schedule of shooting started on 16 February 2011 at Cheranallur in Kerala.[6] Mohanlal joined the set from 23 February.[7] The second schedule started on June first week in Kochi. Pranayam was shot from locations including Ernakulam, Fort Kochi, Valinokkam, Kullu Manali and Rewari.[8] Satheesh Kurup wielded camera for the film. "There is an invisible spark that flashes just seeing the look or a smile of a person and when the beauty within him is revealed to you. You don't need to see a bio-data or wade through his past work. You just connect with him," explains Blessy on his decision to hand over the camera to a novice like Satheesh Kurup.[4]

The film released on a credit as Mohanlal's 300th. It is the third time Blessy and Mohanlal signing a bond together after Thanmathra and Bhramaram. The film will have credit of reuniting Mohanlal and Jayaprada as a couple after Devadoothan. Mohanlal and Anupam Kher are on the screens again after Praja and Indrajaalam.[8] Asked about his experience and challenges that he faced while working in an unfamiliar language, Anupam Kher said "Acting in a different language film is like being thrown into a swimming pool without knowing how to swim. Blessy being a good trainer, acting in Pranayam didn't pose a challenge."[4]

Pranayam's official website was launched by Anupam Kher on 29 August 2011 at a Meet the Press programme organised by the Trivandrum Press Club.[4]

Some scenes of the song "Paatil Ee Paatil" was shot in the beach area of Kish Islands, Iran.


Soundtrack album by
LabelManorama Music
ProducerPK Sajeev and Anne Sajeev
M. Jayachandran chronology
'Swapna Sanchari'

All lyrics are written by O. N. V. Kurup; all music is composed by M. Jayachandran.

1."Paattil Ee Paattil"Shreya Ghoshal 
2."Mazhathulli Palunkukal"Vijay Yesudas, Shreya Ghoshal 
3."I'm Your Man"Mohanlal[9] 
5."Paattil Ee Paattil"P. Jayachandran 

The music launch of the film was held on 9 August in Kochi. The function was attended by the film's cast and also by the music director, M. Jayachandran.[10] Manorama Music has released a Music Special Website which welcomes reviews from the audience.


The film released coinciding with the festival of Onam on 31 August 2011.

A critic from said, "Pranayam is in an entirely different league, far above most films that we come across in Malayalam, but still it falls short of being a brilliant one. It has some fine moments, but you will need some patience to find those, in between!".[11]

Paresh C. Palicha of who published an overall negative review concluded it writing: "Pranayam, that claimed to be an unusual love story, has to depend on its protagonists to work as it lacks depth and is much below expectations from a director of Blessy's calibre."[12]

Anupam Kher called Pranayam as one of the seven best films of his career. He says: "Pranayam is one of the seven best films of my career. It has been a great learning experience for me."[4][13] The film was widely appreciated for great performance made by Mohanlal, Anupam Kher, and Jaya Prada.

The film picked up after a slow start and end went on to be a surprise hit of 2011 where the film went on to complete 50 days in Trivandrum, Ernakulam & Trichur.

Accusations of plagiarismEdit

The film's plot is similar to Paul Cox's Australian film Innocence (2000). However Blessy hasn't accepted that his movie is based on a foreign film. A controversy aroused when actor Salim Kumar raised plagiarism charges against Blessy and criticised the Kerala State Film Awards jury for awarding him with the Best Director title. Noted film critic Vijayakrishnan says, "Pranayam is not only inspired by Innocence but most of the shots are also similar. The jury selected was not competent enough and the panel should be able to spot the difference between an original and a copy." Jury chairman Bhagyaraj clarifies: "I watched the Hollywood movie after Salim’s criticism because I was in a dilemma whether my judgement was wrong. But now I am confident that it was correct. After watching it, I was happy that we gave the award to Blessy whose movie was clearly not based on that movie. In fact, love triangle has been happening ever since love came into this universe. There are many movies which have this triangular formula. In fact, if Blessy had taken it from that movie, it would have given him a bad name. But now I can say that he has not taken it from that movie. In fact the characterisation of Mohanlal has been done so well."[14]

However, Paul Cox says that he was happy that his movie had been inspirational for Pranayam. "I am a person who believes in human virtues. If someone has adapted my film for another language, I am happy about it. Anyway, the matter would have reached courts if it were in America...Learned that a film of the same story was released in Malayalam and had won several awards. I am happy if such a thing has happened," Paul Cox said during his visit to Kerala as part of the 17th International Film Festival of Kerala.[15]

It has also been accused that a very similar script was originally written by music director Mohan Sitara based on his own life and he wanted to direct the film on his own. Mohan Sitara says: "I can only say I’m unlucky. But, I’ve no complaints against Blessy." Blessy replies: "I know Mohan had a similar experience in real life. But, I’d never seen his script. "[16]


Kerala State Film Awards
Film Critics Awards[17]
Asianet Film Awards[18]
South Indian International Movie Awards
Kerala Film Producers Association - Surya TV Film Awards[19]
Viewers Choice Awards[20]
Vanitha Film Awards
Mathrubhumi Film Awards[21]
Nana Film Awards
  • Best Actress - Jaya Prada
  • Best Makeup Artist - Ranjith Ambady
  • Special Jury Mention - Mohanlal
Ramu Kariat Awards
Reporter Film Awards
Amrita Film Awards
Kochi Times Film Awards[24]
Mirchi Music Awards South


  1. ^ "First Look: Anupam Kher and Jayaprada in Pranayam".
  2. ^ "Row over Kerala State Films Award - Times of India".
  3. ^ Shruti Karthikeyan (23 August 2011). "Lessons from reel life". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Interview Of The Week: Blessy's 'Pranayam'". Yentha. 29 August 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  5. ^ "A romantic interlude"
  6. ^ "Pranayanam start from tomorrow".
  7. ^ "Mohanlal joins in 'Pranayam'".
  8. ^ a b Sreejith (31 August 2011). "Pranayam: the bitter-sweet wine for all seasons". City Journal. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  9. ^ "തെന്നിന്ത്യയില്‍ മോഹന്‍ലാലിനും ഇംഗ്ലീഷറിയാം, വേണമെങ്കില്‍ പാട്ടും പാടും!".
  10. ^ Meghna George (10 August 2011). "Blessy's Pranayam gets ready for release". Rediff. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  11. ^ "Movie Review: Pranayam"
  12. ^ "Review: Pranayam lacks depth"
  13. ^ "It's festive time for Malayalam films". Rediff. 29 August 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  14. ^ Shruti Karthikeyan, Monisha Mohandas (27 July 2012). "Plagiarism, a pandora's box". Deccan Chronicle. Kochi, India. Retrieved 30 October 2012.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  15. ^ K.Manoj, Rishi (29 November 2012). ""Happy if Pranayam was inspired by my film: Paul Cox"". Malayala Manorama. Archived from the original on 28 January 2013.
  16. ^ "Musician Mohan Sitara's life inspired 'Pranayam'? No, says Blessy"
  17. ^ ""Mohanlal, Blessy bag Critics award"". Mathrubhumi. 29 May 2012. Archived from the original on 29 May 2012.
  18. ^ ""നക്ഷത്രങ്ങള്‍ മണ്ണിലിറങ്ങി; ഉത്സവമായി ഏഷ്യാനെറ്റ് അവാര്‍ഡ് നിശ"". Mathrubhumi. 8 January 2012. Archived from the original on 9 January 2012.
  19. ^ "Surya Film Awards 2011". 24 March 2012.
  20. ^ "Viewers Choice Award - Malayalam 2011". Archived from the original on 24 December 2011.
  21. ^ "Mathrubhumi Film Awards 2011". Archived from the original on 16 February 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  22. ^ "Ramu Kariat Awards".
  23. ^ "Reporter Film Awards 2011". 8 April 2012.
  24. ^ "The Kochi Times Film Awards 2011". The Times of India. 23 June 2012. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2012.

External linksEdit