Unrequited Love In Malayalam Cinema

Kumaran Asan, the legendary Malayalam poet, once wrote – ‘thiruch kittatha sneham manassinte vingalaanu’ (the heart throbs in sorrow for unreciprocated love). To love and be loved is the very essence of life. Without falling desperately in love at least once, one cannot live one’s life to the fullest.

This is how the plot evolves in most of our romantic movies – Hero meets heroine, after battling all the hardships thrown at them, they either get married or commit suicide. Amidst all the love, tears and drama, there are some characters who did not get enough limelight. They are the ones who gave up on their love so that the lead characters could live happily ever after.  From Pareekutty in Chemeen to Appuettan in Ennum Ninte Moideen, a few characters remain with us as a reminiscence of our own unrequited love.

Sujatha from Punjabi House

Punjabi House, a movie that portrays the complications in the life of debt-ridden Unni, can make even the most serious person in the world roar with laughter. There was even a rumour that Punjabi House gave Christopher Nolan the idea of Inception. The side character in the movie Ramanan, impeccably portrayed by Harisree Ashokan, is an irreplaceable troll character even today. However, the most overlooked character in this movie is that of Sujatha’s. Sujatha (Jomol) stood by Unni (Dileep) even when his parents and relatives told him to run away or commit suicide so they wouldn’t have to be bothered about his financial troubles. When she came to know of Unni’s death, she took the extreme step of living as his widow, though they were not married.

Towards the climax of the movie, even Unni was confused about who he should choose – the girl who has been waiting for him all this time or the mute bride who was waiting to be his wife. Finally, it was Sujatha who gave up on her love and blessed Unni and Pooja (Mohini) with all the happiness. Even though Punjabi House is a go-to comfort movie for every Malayali, it should be regarded as a movie that talks of Sujatha’s sacrifice.

Prakash from Niram

When Sharukh khan with all his swag said ‘ love is friendship’ in Kuch Kuch Hota hai , down south in Kerala Kunchacko Boban felt that friendship shouldn’t be mixed with love and decided to hide his feelings for Shalini. Niram is one of the best campus movies made in Mollywood.

The chemistry of the lead characters, freshness of the script and beautiful songs made Niram one of the most loved movies in Mollywood. Everybody heaved a sigh of relief when Aby (Kunchacko) and Sona (Shalini) decided to be together in the climax of the movie. However, we were bothered about Prakash (Boban Alummodan), Sona’s fiancé. How would he react when he would come to know that the girl he was engaged to did not want to be with him?

Prakash, son of an NRI, a talented singer and an introvert mustered up enough courage to propose his love to Sona. Prakash’s best friend in the movie was his super-cool grandmother (KPAC Lalitha) with whom he shares all his little secrets and that shows how different he was from other college students who found best friends among their peers. Prakash was like any other lover and wanted some alone time with his bae, but this did not go down well with Sona and Aby. Towards the end of the movie, Aby’s and Sona’s parents open up about how they wanted them to be together and decides to talk to Prakash, who according to them is sensible enough to understand the situation. However, can he so easily give up on his love?

Appuettan from Ennum Ninte Moideen

This real life love story of Moideen and Kanchanamala made everyone cry like the incessant rain in the movie.  This eternal love story stands testimony to the fact that even death cannot part true lovers. Kanchanamala still lives celebrating her love for Moideen, who passed away nearly 30 years ago. However, more than the lead characters, it was Tovino’s Appuettan who stole many hearts in this movie. A man who loved Kanchanamala as much (or even more) than Moideen is the real hero for some of us. Without any promise of a future, Appu waited for 22 long years for the Kanchanamala’s consent to marry him. Nevertheless, even after that, when she did not budge, Appu asked her to forgive him for being over-ambitious (Ente adhimohathinu maap). Today Iruvanjipuzha River symbolically stands for Kanchanamala’s true love; for us though, it is a reminiscence of Appuettan’s tears.

Narendran from Innale

Watching Innale is such an emotional roller coaster because we aren’t sure which character to root for – Narendran ( Suresh Gopi), who hopes to reunite with his wife (Gauri/Maya) who he thought was dead or Sarath (Jayaram), who is about to marry the amnesia patient (Gauri/Maya) who he has fallen in love with. Through Narendran’s flashback scenes, we get to know how deeply in love he was with his wife Gauri (Shobana). Towards the climax of the movie when he understood that Gauri no longer recognises him and is in love with Sarath, he decides to give up on his love for her and walks away. He had all the laws in this country by his side to get his wife back, but he decides otherwise. If this is not real love, then we don’t know what is!

That’s our list. If there are other iconic characters you think deserve more praise, let us know in the comment section below.

Sharlin Jose
A foodie, a skin care junkie and a voracious reader. I'm a romantic at heart; a combo of rain and a Mohanlal movie from the 90s being my definition of happiness. And as far as I'm concerned, Heaven on Earth is any place with clean air and water.


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