Manichitrathazhu: Mohanlal, Fazil Film

Manichitrathazhu is a 1993 Malayalam Indian film directed by Fazil and written by Madhu Muttam. The story is influenced by a tragedy that happened in the Alummoottil palace of a famous central Travancore ezhava family in the 19th century. The movie with its psycho-thriller plotline, was an unusual theme in Malayalam cinema but proceeded to become a big hit. Several other prominent directors such as Siddique-Lal, Priyadarshan and Sibi Malayil served as second-unit directors on the movie. Shobhana was awarded the National Film Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of the central character Ganga.

After its runaway success in Kerala, it was remade after nearly 10 years in various languages, including Kannada (Apthamitra), Tamil (Chandramukhi), Telugu (Chandramukhi), Bengali (Rajmohol), and Hindi (Bhool Bhulaiyaa). All of them went on to become big commercial successes.

Cast and Crew

Language: Malayalam
Genre: Comedy | Horror | Mystery | Thriller
Banner: Swargachitra
Director: Fazil
Second-unit directors: Sibi Malayil, Priyadarshan, Siddique-Lal
Producer: Appachan
Story, Screenplay, Dialogue: Madhu Muttam
Cinematography: Venu
Art director: Mani Suchitra
Editor: T.R Sekhar
Lyrics: Bichu Thirumala
Music: M.G Radhakrishnan
Background score: Johnson
Release Year: 1993
Certification: U
Runtime: 169 min
Cast: Mohanlal, Shobana, Suresh Gopi, Vinaya Prasad, Nedumudi Venu, Innocent, K.P.A.C. Lalitha, Sudheesh,  Thilakan, Ganesh Kumar, Rudra, Pappu, Shridhar

The plot involves a young couple, Ganga (Shobhana) and Nakulan (Suresh Gopi) arriving at the ancestral 'Tharavadu' mansion of the latter. Ignoring the protests of their superstitious uncle Thampi (Nedumudi Venu), they move in to the mansion, when unusual and supernatural events begin to happen. Suspicion falls on Sreedevi (Vinaya Prasad), Nakulan's cousin, who is known to be suffering from depression after her marriage.

Dr. Sunny Joseph (Mohanlal), a frolicsome psychiatrist and Nakulan's close friend is called in to investigate. Soon it becomes evident that Ganga, affected by Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), is behind the mystery, haunted by a troubled past.

The mansion that Nakulan and Ganga were living in was occupied in ancient times by a cruel Thampi chieftain, who had imprisoned a famous Bharatnatyam dancer, Nagavalli. There she pines away for her lover Ramanathan. Ganga who grew up listening to folklore and ghost stories from her grandmother identifies with the character Nagavalli. This empathy gradually leads to psychosis. When Ganga turns into Nagavalli the characters of the household turn into the characters of a bygone era in her eyes.

Sunny correctly identifies the source of the violent happenings at the mansion, and convinces Nagavalli to renounce Ganga's body once she is allowed to execute the cruel chieftain. He dresses up Nakulan as the ancient king, and at the crucial moment, replaces Nakulan with a dummy. Nagavalli in Ganga is fooled into believing that she has taken her revenge, and Ganga recovers from her affliction.

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