Amma Ariyan (1986)

 ●  Malayalam ● 1 hr 55 mins

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Abraham’s last and most complex film is told in the form of an open letter from a son, Purushan (Mathew), to his mother (Kunhulakshmi) while interweaving fact and fiction with fragments of memory. Purushan sets out for Delhi with his friend Paru (Venkitesh), who is researching a thesis on Durga, the mother goddess, a figure traditionally though ambiguously representing the cohesive forces of nature. Along the way they find a hanged man (Harinarayan) who seems hauntingly familiar, a suicide. Reconstructing the identity of the corpse takes Purushan, and a growing body of young men who all have a stake in the youth’s history, from the northern highlands of Kerala to Southern Cochin and ends with a re-evaluation of a generation’s radical past. Along the way, Abraham filmed an actual quarry workers’ strike, echoing Kerala’s troubled 70s, and manages to endow both the journey and the central character with broader historical resonances in a manner reminiscent of the director’s master, Ritwik Ghatak’s Jukti Takko Aar Gappo (1974): a style full of irony and with a free-wheelingly innovative approach to sound and to narrative structures. The first production of the Odessa group, it was made entirely through raising funds from public contributions, supported by the Kerala State Film Development Corporation. Abraham’s death, shortly after the film was made, elevated it to cult status while also merging together the fate of the director with that of the main protagonist, both strongly inflected with Christian themes of innocence and martyrdom.

Cast: Nilambur Balan

Crew: John Abraham (Director)

Genres: Drama

Release Dates: 01 Jan 1986 (India)

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Did you know? This is one of the first ever crowd funded Malayalam films. Read More
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This is one of the first ever crowd funded Malayalam films.

The British Film Institute features this film in their list of Ten Best Indian movies ever made.