Based on Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai’s novel, this path-breaking movie marked a turning point in the history of Malayalam cinema. Telling a tragic love story that occurs in a fishing community, it also shows how love, greed, jealousy and superstition are rooted in the popular psyche. Chembankunju (Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair) succeeds in buying a boat and a net after making a deal with Pareekutty (Madhu), a young Muslim trader. Chembankunju’s daughter Karuthamma (Sheela) and Pareekutty love each other. Karuthamma’s mother, Chakki (Adoor Bhavani), knows about it and reminds her daughter about the boundaries of strict social tradition. Karuthamma is compelled to sacrifice her love for Pareekutty and marry Palani (Sathyan), a visiting fisherman picked by Chembankunju. In Palani’s village, Karuthamma endeavours to be a good wife though rumours about her love for Pareekutty are afloat. By a stroke of fate, Karuthamma and Pareekutty meet one night and their old love is awakened. Palani, at sea alone and baiting a shark, is caught in a huge whirlpool that swallows him. Next morning, Karuthamma and Pareekutty are also found dead hand in hand, washed ashore. At a distance, there lies a dead shark.
In 1965, this was the first South Indian film to win the President’s Gold Medal for Best Film. It also won a Certificate of Merit at the Chicago Film Festival.
Directed by Ramu Kariat
Starring: Sathyan, Sheela, Madhu, Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair, Adoor Bhavani, S. P. Pillai, Adoor Pankajam.