Vanaprastham: Mohanlal, Shaji N Karun Film

Vanaprastham (1999) is an Indian-French-German produced feature film directed by Shaji N. Karun. It stars Mohanlal, Suhasini Mani Ratnam, Mattannur Sankarankutty Marar, Kalamandalam Gopi and Venmani Haridas. The film's music is composed by Zakir Hussain. The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival (AFI Fest) in 1999. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.

Cast and Crew

Language: Hindi | Malayalam
Genre: Drama
Banner: Uro American Company & Pranavam Arts
Director: Shaji N Karun
Producer: Mohanlal, Guy Marignane, Pierre Assouline
Story: Shaji N Karun
Screenplay, Dialogue: Raghunath Palery
Cinematography: Renato Berta, Santosh Sivan
Editor: Joseph Guinvarch, Sreekar Prasad
Lyrics: Gireesh Puthenchery
Music: Zakir Hussain
Distribution: Pranamam Release
Release: 1999
Running time: 119 minutes
Certification: U
Cast: Mohanlal, Suhasini, Mattanoor Shankara Marar, Kalamandalam Gopi, Venmani Haridas, Kukku Parameshwaran, Venmani Vishnu, Kalamandalam Kesavan, Bindu Panikkar

If you are looking for superstar Mohanlal in this film, then you will be disappointed because in this you will find Mohanlal in a new avatar - an actor who can give a very restrained performance. Shaji, whose first film Piravi won him the national award and entry into the Cannes festival and later, Swaham which was invited for Cannes too, has for the third time, struck gold with an entry to Cannes and has been selected over 23 countries.

Mohanlal plays Kunjikuttan the Kathakali exponent, whose portrayal of Arjuna in the Arjuna - Subhadra episode from Mahabharatha won him accolades and the public throng to see him play Arjuna. Personally, he has a bad marriage and is tormented by the fact that his mother, a low caste woman refuses to tell who the father of Kunhikuttan is and suspects that it could be the Namboothri. While performing at a rich man's ancestral house, he comes across Subhadra the daughter of the rich man, who is married to a person of high society. She spends her time reading and writing fiction and has stopped distinguishing the dividing line between fiction and reality. She is swept off her feet by the intense performance of Kunikuttan and she thinks herself to be the Subhadra in the play. She falls in love with Arjuna and the relationship turns sexual. Kunjikuttan is happy to be involved with someone who understands and loves his work, but this happiness is short lived.

Subhadra refuses to even show the son born out of this relationship and she stays away from him because she was in love with Arjuna, the performer and not Kunjikuttan of reality. Now Kunhikuttan is devastated because he is a father deprived of his son. He stages his final show, where he plays Arjuna with his daughter as Subhadra and his fiancée comes to see him. She cannot digest anyone else being Subhadra to Arjuna and takes Kunjikuttan's daughter into her fold as her own. Kunjikuttan walks off, leaving behind a letter asking Subhadra to tell her son who his father is and spare him the lifelong torment. Suhasini plays Subhadra with great ease and conveys her feelings effectively without much words. Needless to say it's a triumph for Lal as an actor and the credit goes to Shaji for creating a script that brings out the inner self of a performer. Santhosh has created the right kind of mood throughout.


1999 Cannes Film Festival (France)
His film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the1999 Cannes Film Festival .

The film has been nominated for the following awards since its release:

1999 AFI Fest (USA)
Nominated - Grand Jury Prize - Shaji N. Karun

The film has won the following awards since its release:

2000 Istanbul International Film Festival (Turkey)
Won - Special Prize of the Jury - Shaji N. Karun

2000 Bombay International Film Festival (India)
Won - FIPRESCI Prize - Shaji N. Karun

2000 National Film Awards (India)

Won - Golden Lotus Award - Best Film - Vanaprastham - Mohanlal
Won - Silver Lotus Award - Best Actor - Mohanlal
Won - Silver Lotus Award - Best Editing - A. Sreekar Prasad, Joseph Guinvarch

2000 Kerala State Film Awards

Won - Best Actor - Mohanlal
Won - Best Director - Shaji N. Karun
Won - Best Editor - A. Sreekar Prasad, Joseph Guinvarch
Won - Best Sound Recordist - Lakshmy Narayana, Bruno Tareere
Won - Best Processing Lab - Prasad Colour Lab
Won - Best Make-up Artist - M.O. Devasya, Saleem

1999 Filmfare Awards
Won - Best Actor - Mohanlal

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