Director Bhadran explains why Mohanlal’s Aadu Thoma is still relevant and among the best larger-than-life characters in Malayalam cinema
Last Updated: 01.45 PM, Feb 08, 2023
Mohanlal’s Spadikam is arguably among the top 10 films that the actor has been part of. The iconic character of Aadu Thoma still commands a massive following among his fans, and it was also one of the chief reasons the movie is gearing up for a re-release on February 9, 28 years after it initially hit theatres.
Director Bhadran, in an exclusive interview with OTTplay, says he had been working for the best part of the past three years to ensure that the 4K version of the film, which now has over eight minutes of additional footage, offers the best theatrical experience, even for those who have watched the movie before.
Also read: Mammootty on concept of pan-Indian movies: ‘I want Malayalam cinema to always retain its identity’
Ask him what prompted him to re-release the blockbuster and Bhadran says, “The prime reason is that the young ones in Kerala and world over want to watch the film on the big screen. Also, the idea behind the movie is still relevant. Those who have watched the movie multiple times also want to watch it on a wide screen. We have also added Dolby Atmos sound to the new version.”
The director adds that it was a call from a group of people that finally urged him to work on the new version. “I once got this call, saying that they had the role of the second half of Spadikam and if I could give them permission, they would manage and project the first half too. It was from an old theatre. That was when it struck me about the kind of interest that was there among the audience to watch this film. So, we decided we had to re-release this film.”
Bhadran also says Mohanlal’s character Aadu Thoma has spurred more larger-than-life characters in Malayalam cinema. “In the history of Malayalam cinema, there was never a cult character like Aadu Thoma,” he says. Point out the case of Mammootty’s Kottayam Kunjachan and the filmmaker says, “Kottayam Kunjachan doesn’t come close to this man. Aadu Thoma has a macho presence, to boost his power, he drinks goat milk and then fights. Kottayam Kunjachan doesn’t do any of that. He just wears a Ray-Ban and a shirt. The moment Aadu Thoma gets angry, he takes off his dhoti.”
The director says that the film is replete with cult images and the story is a retrospection of all these. “The audience wonders why Aadu Thoma is like this. That’s where the flashback scenes show his transformation. Even every object in the film has a story – be it the chocolate, the golden bangle or even the Ray-Ban sunglasses,” says Bhadran. “The lorry too has three characterisations. It first came as Marydasan in his mother’s name and then his father changed it to Chekuthan. Finally, the same person changes it from Chekuthan to Spadikam.”
Bhadran also explains that it’s a film that straddled both a rooted, relatable story as well as ‘mass’ entertainment. “The funniest part is that a newspaper will be carrying a half-page ad about the film that is sponsored by a school. The reason is that Spadikam’s content, of letting children follow their dreams, is still relevant,” he concludes.
Mohanlal's Spadikam 4K will clash with Mammootty's Christopher when it releases on February 9.