Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam

Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam (English: The first secret of happiness) is a 2021 Malayalam film directed by Don Palathara starring Rima Kallingal and Jithin Punthenchery.[1] The film was premiered at the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) in Thiruvananthapuram on 21 February 2021. This is a first of its kind experimental movie in Malayalam film industry as the entire movie is of an 85 minute single shot.[2][3] The film follows a car ride taken by a young journalist (played by Rima) and an aspiring actor (played by Jitin). The film was released in Neestream and six other OTT Platforms in July 2021.[4]

Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam
Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam.jpg
Directed byDon Palathara
Written byDon Palathara
Produced byShijo K George
StarringRima Kallingal
Jitin Puthenchery
CinematographySaji Babu
Music byBasil CJ
Bee Cave Movies
Distributed byNeestream et al.
Release date
  • 10 February 2021 (2021-February-10) (IFFK)
  • 21 July 2021 (2021-July-21)
Running time
85 minutes


The movie revolves around a woman named Maria (Rima Kallingal) and her boyfriend Jitin (Jitin Puthenchery). Maria is an entertainment reporter. Jitin is a small-time actor, with no steady income and their parents do not have any knowledge of their relationship. The movie takes place on their way to a clinic as Maria believes she may be pregnant after being in a promiscuous relationship with Jitin. She thinks that he is irresponsible and the baby would add burden to their relationship. She is also not yet ready to have a baby and is planning for higher studies.



The music is composed, produced and arranged by Basil CJ with lyrics penned by Sherin Catherine. The song is mixed and mastered at Audiogene by Shiju Ediyatheril.[5]

1."Pakalukal"Sherin CatherineSithara Krishnakumar3:34

Release and receptionEdit

Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam is one of its first kind movie in Malayalam. The camera stays in one position throughout the film and has zero cuts.[5] The film's setting is against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.[6] The film was shot during the pandemic in September 2020. Director Palathara who is known for auteur cinema used the settings and times to experiment with film making.[7] Joyful Mystery released on schedule after a month-long rehearsal. Based on a script by Don Palathara the main performers Rima Kallingal and Jithin Puthenchery act in a single 85 minute narrative take captured by a dashboard camera. There was no single-take device. The director could only communicate to them from outside via headphones. The director chose one of the five takes that were captured and noted it became a tribute to the powers of collaborative film making and performance. While the performers acted they added their own dialogues to the basis of the script.[8][9] The film explores the repercussions of intimate relationships that might occur without judgement or foresight.[6] The power play of men and women is the central theme of the film framed around the secret status of live-in couple's future life revolving around motherhood. The conversation that occurs inside a car ride offers the viewers different opinions on the personalities of the two partners.[8][10]

It did not have a theatrical release and was premiered on 10 February 2021 at the International Film Festival of Kerala.[6][11] It generally received positive reviews from critics as well as the audience.[12] The film is one of the selections for the main competition at the 2021 Moscow International Film Festival. It became the only Indian film to be nominated for the Golden St. George Award for that year.[13]

Ashutosh Mohan of Film Companion wrote, "Don Palathara uses the devices of a single continuous take and a fixed camera to make a car a microcosm of the couple's world: it moves forward while keeping their bodies motionlessly trapped in it."[14] Baradwaj Rangan of Film Companion South wrote "This time, we have a "plot", and characters who talk a lot. But the aesthetic is as rigorous as in the director's earlier work. The camera, for instance, is "locked in" throughout."[15]


  1. ^ Praveen, S. R. (15 February 2021). "'Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam' movie review: An experiment in 'captive' conversation". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  2. ^ "'Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam' Review: This relationship drama is a wonderful ride". The News Minute. 15 February 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  3. ^ "Ahaana Krishna is all praise for Don Palathara's 'Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam' - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  4. ^ "Sandoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam to have an OTT release through seven different platforms".
  5. ^ a b "Rima Kallingal's 'Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam' to hit theatres in US on July 9". The News Minute. 9 July 2021. Retrieved 22 July 2021.
  6. ^ a b c "Joyful Mystery / Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam". 25th International Film Festival of Kerala. Retrieved 22 July 2021.
  7. ^ "An auteur demonstrates why cinema should look beyond speed and slickness". Times of India Blog. 21 February 2021. Retrieved 22 July 2021.
  8. ^ a b Ramnath, Nandini. "In Don Palathara's cinema, 'questions rather than statements'". Retrieved 22 July 2021.
  9. ^ "Don Palathara's next is Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 22 July 2021.
  10. ^ "റിമയും ജിതിനും ഒന്നിച്ച 'സന്തോഷത്തിന്‍റെ ഒന്നാം രഹസ്യം' ഒടിടി യിൽ" [Rimi and Jithin and together 'happiness is one of the secret' it's]. (in Malayalam). Retrieved 22 July 2021.
  11. ^ "IFFK from February 10, to be held in venues across 4 districts". The Week. Retrieved 22 July 2021.
  12. ^ "One of a kind: Don Palathara on process of making his 85-minute feature 'Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam'". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  13. ^ "Joyful Mystery :: Film catalogue :: Moscow International Film Festival". (in Russian). Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  14. ^ Mohan, Ashutosh (28 July 2021). "Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam, On Neestream, Is A Well-Written And Superbly Stylized Argument Between A Couple". Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  15. ^ "IFF Kerala 2021: Don Palathara's Fascinating Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam, With Rima Kallingal And Jitin Puthenchery, Is Both Familiar And New". 13 February 2021.