Vanaprastham (1999)

 ●  Malayalam ● 1 hr 59 mins

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Riveting and revealing, this exquisitely crafted period drama revolves around a male Kathakali dancer Kunhikuttan (Mohanlal), an admirable and respected performer but a member of a lower caste. He struggles to come to terms with the rejection and estrangement of his father, a member of an upper caste who denies his son. Poor, unhappy, and stuck in an arranged marriage that provides no relief, he gets by for the sake of his daughter. One night, whilst performing as Arjuna from the epic Mahabarata on stage, his dance is witnessed by Subhadra (Suhasini), a well educated member of an upper caste family. Defying the norms of India's rigid caste system, they have a son, but it soon becomes clear that Subhadra loves the character Arjuna from his stage performances, and not Kunhikuttan the dancer. More in love with the valiant, noble hero of the Mahabarata, than the dancer Kunhikuttan, she rejects him and refuses to let him see his son. Denied access to his son, and rejected by his father, Kunhikuttan returns to the stage, leaving behind his hero roles to play demonic characters, reaching within the dark corners of his mind, becoming increasingly resentful and full of anger, until one last dance which brings the feature to a stunning end.

Cast: Mohanlal, Suhasini Maniratnam

Crew: Shaji N Karun (Director), Santosh Sivan (Director of Photography), Zakir Hussain (Music Director)

Rating: U (India)

Genres: Drama, Musical

Release Dates: 25 Dec 1999 (India)

Malayalam Name: വാനപ്രസ്ഥം

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Did you know? The music for this movie was composed by tabla maestro Zakir Hussain. Read More
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as Kunhikuttan
as Subhadra
as Bhageerathi
as Kunju Nair
as Savithri
as Pisharadi




Production Company
Executive Producer


Screenplay Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography


Music Director


Film Type:
Spoken Languages:
Colour Info:
Sound Mix:
Dolby Digital
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
Movie Connection(s):
Dubbed into: Vaanaprastham (Hindi)
This film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival (AFI Fest) in 1999.

This movie was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.

His performance in this movie is considered to be one of the best performances of Mohanlal's illustrious career.

IBN Live ranked this film #9 in its list of greatest Indian films of all time.

The music for this movie was composed by tabla maestro Zakir Hussain.

This international movie involved a collaboration between Indian-French-German artists and technicians.