Based on a story by Nedumudi Venu, the 1983 film had a stellar cast in Bharath Gopi, Srividya, Revathy and Mohanlal.

Kattathe Kilikkoodu Bharathans film is a commentary on the yin and yang of marriageIMDB
Flix Mollywood Sunday, November 17, 2019 - 17:12

This T Damodaran script, based on a story by Nedumudi Venu and directed by Bharathan, is one of the finest commentaries on the yin and yang of marriage, offering some nuanced studies on the complexities of the human mind, the capriciousness of relationships and the traditional role play in marriages where the onus of stitching it all together falls unfairly on the woman.

The beginning

Krishna Pillai alias Shakespeare Krishna Pillai’s home stands on a slant, with a large garden in front, enclosed by an iron gate. An elongated veranda leads to the front door, with a large drawing-cum-dining area, an old-fashioned kitchen and two bedrooms with attached bathrooms. There is an attic which also doubles up as a dump yard, play area, and then there are the veena lessons. It’s a cosy, middle-class home infused with warmth and love in its brownish interiors, truly welcoming. Kattathe Kilikkoodu revolves around this solid brick building and an antiquated jalopy. Both inanimate objects bolster the narrative, imparting gloom and happiness as the characters trudge along.

Sharada (Srividya) is the safest representation of a woman on screen – the ideal mother and wife who finds bliss in her husband and four children. She has been stuck in a routine for years to accommodate her family’s comfort – functioning like an alarm clock, from getting up in the morning to being reset again at night. She is the mom, wife, cook, banker, grocery shopper, electrician and teacher; but she also has to find a convenient hobby to keep herself engaged – strumming the veena and classical singing.

Krishna Pillai has a more intricate, hedonistic personality. He thrives in that comfortable nest built by her – kids who love listening to his ghost stories, a wife who dotes on him and a work atmosphere that allows him to indulge in his passion – English literature. There are hints that in the matter of academics, Sharada doesn’t quite match up to him. It’s there in that scene where he goes into fits of ecstasy after reading a paper clipping about his book and she brushes it aside wondering what the fuss is about. Despite this serious exterior, he doesn’t shy away from displaying affection to her or their children.

In total contrast to this matured relationship is the one between Unni and Asha – new love, immature and volatile. Asha (Revathy) is the typical teenager – impulsive and prone to extreme emotions. Unni (Mohanlal) is the more mature of the two, yet one gets the feeling that he treats her with irreverence.

It’s interesting how Bharathan captures the romance of the two generations so skilfully. Unni taking her to a secluded spot for privacy is a page from every teenager’s love story. The conversations are organic – their ego battles, her possessiveness and puritanical stand, how that riles Unni into boasting about his own macho fantasies. These feverish outbursts are craftily linked to the narrative later. Unni’s self-anointed Casanova tag very soon turns out to be his undoing.

All the same, there are also moments that bring forth a lot of unexpected tenderness. When Unni confides to finding his mom in her, Sharada’s moist beseeching eyes bring a lump to out throat.

The wind

The cracks in the relationship (as the title implies, ‘a bird’s nest in the wind’) begin calmly. Like a lull before the storm. Asha’s blinding love for Unni and his callous attitude towards her. True, she hits, scratches and storms away from him when she thinks he isn’t reciprocating her love, but the film tells us about the fragility of relationships, how one shouldn’t take relationships for granted and why dialogue between partners is important.

One of the sorriest sights in the film is Krishna Pillai (a superlative Bharath Gopi) gradually and helplessly falling for the charms of Asha. It starts innocently with a ride on his jalopy. As innocently she talks about falling in love with him. It doesn’t take much time for the otherwise serious, mild and self-assured professor to lose his mind over her. Longer spells of reverie also lead to lesser communication with Sharada. Was it the sheer power she instilled in him that excited him or that old tonic of youth that did him in? Or was it a brief period of insanity that drove him out of his home?

Sharada’s initial confusion and silence moves in tandem with her character. She is meek, lets everyone from maid to husband take her for a ride, and finds joy in the little things in life. She is the kind of wife who shares every single event in her mundane life – in fact she chronicles the Unni-Asha love story to her husband on most nights. Irony!

When she watches her marriage slowly crumbling before her, she doesn’t react but instead tries hard to size up the situation before her, unable to believe that this was her heaven till only a few weeks back. She sits through her husband’s indifference and Asha’s rudeness – when she is unable to bear it, she lets her children bear the brunt of her anger and sadness. When Sharada questions him, Krishna Pillai’s reaction is the classic tone of denial that every cheating spouse employs – he in turn accuses her of spoiling the girl’s future by spreading tales about her.

The nest retrieved

Sharada’s period of grief and shock is shown with a lot of conviction. Probably that’s just how a woman who has been blissfully married for 11 years and found happiness in her identity as a mother and wife reacts. There are no impulsive walkouts. She is helpless and angry and looks like she would do anything to get that life back.

At the same time, Unni never gave up on Asha too. So, the young, foolish, impulsive love affair turned out to be more potent than the decade-long marriage of the older couple’s. In the last scene when Asha confesses to doing this as part of her revenge plan, the older man looks thunderstruck. Heartbroken.

When Unni takes the utterly drunk professor home, it seems like he is making up for the mess he unknowingly made in Sharada’s life. They put him under the shower and Sharada smiles through her tears. The next morning, the man of the house meekly stands in front of her with a cup of tea. They hug, and the children rejoice. All is forgiven and forgotten.

Now, think of the role reversal here.

This article was originally published on The News Minute has syndicated the content. You can read the original article here.

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