Chengazhineerpoovu & the fable of Neelathamara

Sometimes fiction in Cinema becomes a cause of reality. Here is a reverse situation – For M.T. Vasudevan Nair, one of his real life incidents created the concept of film `Neelathaamara’! Traditional belief that drives the theme of this film is an extraordinary flower. It blooms in a temple pond on offering a coin at the sacred step of this temple’s sanctum sanctorum. Seeing the place that nests this belief is an experience of a life time! Malamalkavu near Kuttippuram is special for the same. Ayyappa temple in this place is well known for Chengazhineerpoovu. People come here from far and near to receive God’s will on their lives through the blossoming of this legendary flower… Natives vouch till today the belief has not failed its devotees.

NT_1

M.T’s ancestral home is near Malamalkavu. Long back while he was on a personal visit to the place a revered scholar Vaidyamadhom Nampoothiri came to see him. He told the trip was to pray for a chengazhineerpoovu needed for `Deva prasnam’ (a unique activity forecasting well being of presiding deity in a temple). M.T still remembers his amusement regarding the scholar’s faith. To plan an important pooja based on the availability of such a flower he thought, needed such solidity in belief!

NT_2

When he planned the story of Kunjimalu, a naïve village maiden, M.T transformed the tradition of Chengazhineerpoovu into Neelathaamara that bloomed effortlessly into a refreshing creation! Though we are not shooting at the original temple and its pond in Malamalkavu nearby lanes and rural roads are our locations. The by-lanes are tiny nerves of village life… with coin like spots of sunlight falling on the non-tarred ground, shoe flower and other shrubs blossoming spontaneously at the sidewalks… In recent times these rural lanes have been picturised in full glow during Bhoothakkannadi of Lohithadas, and I happened to be its associate director. Meesa Madhavan and Pattalam had roads with the indigenous feel of Valluvanad. Organic presence of these walkways in Neelathaamara is celebrated with the warmth of footsteps of men and women who have simple but strong beliefs.

NT_3

Stills : Hari Thirumala

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23 responses

  1. I have never read the story of Neelathamara and this is really a news to me. Thanks for this. Sometime back I was looking for M.T’s screenplays on the net and saw a book which had Neelathamara also. But that book was out of print.

    So I am definitely waiting for this movie to release 🙂

  2. Dear Lal Jose,

    This blog is rocking. I am happy to read more about your work. Hope this would be another hit like Meesa Madhavan. We all are waiting for the Lal Hose Magic in Neelathamara too…

    God bless you.

    Nixon-Delhi

  3. Hellow sir..

    I feel so comfortable and proud to say that you are there to hold the baton
    after Padmarajan,Bharathan and Lohi..
    specially after my meeting with you in Ernakulam ..very proud to associate with you.
    and I am following your blog from the day it launched.

    once again best wishes for ‘Neelathamara’

    Regardds
    Swaraj

  4. Dear sir
    We had a wonderful experience being there at the sets
    The locations were just amazing the beauty of nature is beautifully brought out in the movie It is wonderful to see how you can bring out the characters and expression in each one.
    Being there helped me to look in a diffrent way the movies that we watch.
    now i think of all the pains so many people had to go through to produce
    a movie which we lay people just watch fr three hrs and comment
    I wish you and the team the very best fr neelathamara and waiting in anticipation

  5. I THINK THIS MUST HAPPEN FOR THE MOVIE CULTURE IN KERALA…………
    SURESH KUMAR AS PRODUCER , MT ,LALJOSE, VIDYA ,VERMA , ULAGANATH ,KUKKU AND SOME NEW FACES .
    INTERESTING…………………..
    AN ATTEMPT TO BUILD THE BRIDGE BETEWEEN MALAYALM CINEMA AND LITERATURE AGAIN.

    HOPE FOR A REMARKABLE CINEMA EXPERIENCE

  6. Sir,

    I consider you as one of the few who can decide the future of malayalam film industry as you have shown the strokes of a great director in your previous works. I am really looking forward to your interpretation of the legend’s neelathamara. Just do the films that you believe in and try not to do the mistakes that you have done in rasikan, pattalam and stuff like that. This is only a suggestion from a great fan of good films. I will be one who will watch the film first day first show. Nice blog and keep up the good work.

    with prayers,
    Rahul

  7. i was planning to do a short graphic compilation on this story.
    congrats to lal jose and his team .
    i aim to bring back stories through illustrations.
    stories once told..stories never told even!!

    big kudos for the music and sensuous frames too.
    looking forward to depict an MT story in full packed illustrations..like a comic book.

    rgds,
    manoj.

  8. Dear Sir,

    Nice blog.

    The story of Chengazhineerpoovu is quite new to me.
    eagerly waiting for the moment , Neelathamara blooms at theatres.

    The song ‘anuragavilochananayi..” is wonderfully appealing.
    Also glad to see Kotta temple premises (the great wall and pond, where the movie Sargam is also taken), as its my native place too.

    in between, cant stop saying how amazing was your ‘Puram kazhchakal’ in kerala caffe.

    expecting more and more genuine creations from you,

    warm regards
    Anupama, Cochin.

  9. Lal Sir,
    Thanks for picking up such gems to remake and revive Malayalam film industry. My upbringing has been outside Kerala and I am currently working after completion of my studies in USA. However I have been a religious follower of good Malayalam movies and I see good substance in your film making. Its an honor for us to have people like you. What I love most in your films is its ability to entertain as well as maintain that typical natumpuratha feel. We all hope to see more from you in the coming years.
    Keep up the good work.

    Regards
    Abhi

  10. What a beautiful song “Anuraga”
    Lyrics-100 marks out of 100
    Music-100 marks out of 100
    Picturisation-100 marks out of 100
    Casting-100 marks out of 100
    Ur Direction-100 marks out of 100

    All the best

  11. Pingback: Neelathamara – Thank God we have Lal Jose!! | Vibetalkies - Talking Cinema

  12. Hello Lal Sir,

    Your blog is very interesting.came across it accidentaly but seems worth it. I have seen most of your movies .I live in the US so i dont get the privilege of watching malayalam movies in the theatre. will try my best to see Neelathamara..Good luck with your film 🙂

  13. Sir,

    I saw the movie Neelathamara. Felt like I have seen a good Malayalam movie after a long time.Thanks to MT sir, You and your crew.

  14. i evaluated the movie neelathamara while i saw the stills.The still photographer has gud sesce.then laljose sir ,oh he is valuable 4 the malayalam film industry.Expecting more from u ,the villlage films ,like neelathamara…….

    Best wishes.

  15. So unfortunate that the misidentity of this flower remains alive even now. This flower is NOT chengazhineerpoovu. IT IS THE BLUE WATER LILY (ALSO CALLED BLUE LTUS IN ANCIENT TIMES- Neelolpalam ), botanically Nymphaea caerulea (now called Nymphaea nouchali var. caerulea). This was the fabled ancient Egyptian lotus.
    Chengazhineerpoovu is botanically Kempferia rotunda. It is not a water plant. It also known by the name Bhoochampa.
    I can give you more details un case anybody is interested.
    Actually MT is justified in calling this flower neelathamara, as it was known in ancient times.

    Dr PN Ravindran
    ravinair.pn@gmail.com 09895770478

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