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Ponthan Mada

Award winning Malayalam movie “Ponthan Mada” starring Mammootty, Naseeruddin Shah among others.

It is based on the caste conflict in the 1940s between a low caste do gooder Ponthan Mada (Mammootty) and a high caste gentry Naseeruddin Shah who is basically a British subject but outlawed by them for being part of the IRA at that time. He is lonely and forlorn here in India and develops an unlikely friendship with Ponthan Mada.

The conversation between the two of them takes place strangely, Naseer from his house windows and Mada from atop a swaying palm tree. Mada marries a woman but another guy takes a liking to him and whisks her away and Mada has no courage to do anything about it.

Mada as a character is shown as subdued, frightened, voiceless sort of and the story is told in flashback when another family descends on the same house in which Naseer had stayed and they have one bad luck after another. The girl of the house is forced to marry another guy when all she wants to do is study further. The typical conflict arises between them – her aspirations vs the orthodoxy of the family and the poverty facing them. Mada is again unable to help her.

Overall Mammootty is absolutely brilliant in his role as Ponthan Mada, he is almost unrecognisable but Naseer character is totally ludicrous and out of place.

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