A very common saying about love is, “If you really love them, let them go. And if they really love you, they’d come back.” In my understanding, love is a lot more complex than that. Sometimes, it’s not as easy to let go, and it’s definitely not easier to let someone go, knowing very well that they will not be coming back.
The pain of loving and letting go is one that has been explored and portrayed brilliantly (sometimes even comically) in Malayalam cinema. It’s also one that has been looked at from the complexities of multiple relationships. Be it through the hopeful eyes of Kunjoonjamma from Nokkethadhoorathu Kannum Nattu or even the guilt of the unknown reality around Appu from Mayaanadhi.
The emotional perspectives are beautifully carried out, and I wanted to revisit the same. Mostly because I was annoyed at a few new-age directors who put 2 minutes of romance and then killed the love interest for the hero’s character development. It’s an understandable emotional high offered but made me want to revisit movies that showed the pain and moving on as a pacha aaya manushyan’de experiences.
So, in this particular article, I will revisit Malayalam movies that show the beauty of love and the pain of losing it.
The coming-of-age drama showed many phases of love and letting go. From the school “Flames’il ‘M’ kitti” kind of love to a matured version where they tread through life and love, to the final act of finding the love you want to go home to. Between all this, June also had her share of heartbreaks and days leading to the “letting-go”. Most of which led her to either drown in misery at Juhu Kadapuram or get locked up at the police station in Varkala.
The movie had all the crying and laughing to tell one thing – What is meant to be will reach you sooner or later.
Mohanlal played the role of Unni to perfection, but a character that spoke a lot without saying much was Meera’s (played by Shobana). The couple who was looking forward to living their remaining years with each other had to separate for reasons they were never the cause of. Unni decided to give his all to his new role as “chetachan” to his toddler sister, while Meera decided to silently step back from the relationship to respect her father’s decision.
Meera was the first, among many things, that Unni had to let go for the sake of Meenakshi. Mohanlal showed a character who lost everything, including himself, in the course of providing unconditional love. It’s also a harsher reality note that said letting go does not always mean something good will come to you.
One of the most mature acts of letting go that showed that there’s life beyond loss.
When his childhood sweetheart chose to get married to a more sort-out prospect, Amal (played by Asif Ali) met her for the last time to let her know that despite his sadness, he would not be living in the thoughts of their past. Calling her “verum oru orma”, he leaves without causing a scene. That single act of not unleashing hell in the kalyana veed was his way of saying, “I’m going to make peace with this loss one way or the other”.
Ayaalum Nyaanum Thammil
When Dr Samuel asked, “Sainu’ne miss cheynille?” we all felt that. Sainu and Ravi Tharakan’s incomplete love story was something that we all rooted for. But it was shrouded way too quickly by the conservative backdrop of Sainu’s family and the helplessness of Ravi. As they parted ways, Dr. Ravi (played by Prithviraj) found his solace in Redemption Hospital and treating the patients over there.
Premam was a movie that created quite a stir when it was announced. The posters and songs created all the hype around the curly-haired Anupama Parameshwaran, for whom the hero had hopelessly fallen. However, once the movie was released, everyone was smitten by Malar Miss. This is also one reason why we could all collectively feel the pain when Malar (Sai Pallavi) and George’s (Nivin Pauly) relationship came to a standstill after her accident. He walked away from Malar after knowing that she couldn’t recollect who he was or the bond they shared. It took him quite a while to move on from there, but he found the answer to it all in Celine.
Shiva’s (Fahadh Faasil) story in Bangalore Days was one hell of a letting go. The man had an entire room dedicated to his past love, who had passed away. It’s kind of hard moving past that stage. But thankfully, he had Divya (Nazriya), who gave him the much-needed closure to move forward in life.
So, even though he didn’t do much to let go, this movie showed that sometimes it’s the people who unexpectedly walk into our lives that might turn our lives around.
Have a read: Femme Fatale Portrayed In Malayalam Cinema
Anuraga Karikkin Vellam
One thing Rajisha Vijayan has offered in abundance is a multitude of characters in love with all the beautiful and ugly sides of it. One such memorable role she gave the audience is from her debut as Eli in Anuraga Karikkin Vellam.
Eli portrays the young love and the hurt that comes along once the rose-tinted glass shatters. Everything she used to do, along with Abhi, turned into an ‘irritating’ attribute of hers once the honeymoon phase faded away. He took the relationship for granted while she gave her all to it. Understandably, then, it took her a long time to move over the memories of the past romance and choose someone who genuinely held feelings for her.
The final act of letting go, which I truly respect Eli for, was the slap she heartily gave to Abhi as he kissed her impulsively on her wedding day.
Unlike the vengeance he held throughout the movie, Mahesh (Fahadh Faasil) knew that love is not something you can fight and make it stay. When Soumya nice aayit theychitt went with her new husband, Mahesh knew better than to fight for a lost cause. Instead, he chose to fight to wear back his Lunar chappals throughout the movie. The man had his priorities straight right from the beginning.
This didn’t mean that the break-up didn’t affect him, though. He did cry his heart out and was pushed into borderline depression, but he chose to smile at her and move on with his studio.
The loss of his family had tipped Sam (played by Prithviraj) into alcoholism. He gave up on his police career and lost track of his life after having seen his wife and daughter get shot in his line of duty. However, life comes back in full circle, and the same police duty pulls him back to life. In an attempt to save his brother from a serial killer, Sam shot down the man and solved a case. He also found a new purpose in his life by adopting the killer’s orphaned niece and donning the role of her guardian.
Mukundan Unni and Associates
Sometimes, moving on isn’t that difficult, and it’s all about practicality. Who better to give this lesson than Advocate Mukundan Unni, who saw a breakup also as a fortunate loss? He was alright losing Jyothi (Tanvi Ram), and rather quickly found a replacement in the form of Meenakshi (Aarsha Baiju). Weighing in the pros and cons, they got married by viewing each other as a future investment. Together with the hospital administration on one hand and a law firm on the other, they created a rather dark but profitable collaboration.
Ponmutta Idunna Thaarav
Speaking of the son, he definitely took some lessons from his father. Thattan Bhaskaran’s (Sreenivasan) silent revenge in Ponmutta Idunna Thaarav was all the closure that both he and the audience deserved. The theereyum sneham illatha Snehalatha (Urvashi) took a token of love in the form of 10 pavan’de maala from Bhaskaran and left with a Gulf-based husband. The betrayal made it a lot harder to let go, but Bhaskaran went on with his life regardless.
One would think he was the bigger person in the issue by choosing peace over violence. But the man was simply waiting for his moment and had it come to him years later. Like a pacha aaya manushyan, he had his own sweet revenge, after which he continued his life with teacher Parvathi.
There are many more such gems in Malayalam movies which show heartbreak and the way different characters dealt with it. Sometimes it’s healthy, sometimes it’s destructive – it’s all part of being human.
If you’re someone going through a heartbreak, this article is your sign to channel your inner Amal or Thattan Bhaskaran.
If you’re not going through a heartbreak, then you could be in the mind space to think of more such movies and comment. So go ahead, bye-bye.