Anantaram (English: Monologue, meaning Thereafter) is a 1987 Malayalam feature film production written and directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan. Ashokan, Mammootty and Shobhana star in the lead. The film is structured like a monologue. It develops through a commentary by the protagonist about himself in the first person. The attempt of the protagonist is to narrate how he became what he is now. The film was an experimental film for its time as it did not have a linear narrative.
The film won three National Film Awards. It was included in IBN Live's list of 100 greatest Indian films of all time.
The film develops through a commentary by Ajayan (Ashokan) about himself in the first person. Later he tells another story about his life with the same background. Finally both these stories fuse together.
Ajayan is born an orphan. He is brought up by a doctor. A brilliant child, Ajayan grows up as an introvert and confused youth. The beautiful Suma (Shobhana) arrives at their house after marrying Balu (Mammootty), his foster-brother. Ajayan at the very first sight of his sister-in-law is sexually attracted to her. This creates internal conflict within him and ultimately he leaves the house.
In the second story Ajayan narrates his confused youth and about the beautiful girl, Nalini who enters his life. Ajayan's mind shifts often between reality and an imaginary romantic world. Finally both these stories converge to a point where both Nalini and Suma become a single entity.
Mammootty as Balu
Ashokan as Ajayan
Shobhana as Sumangali and Nalini
Sudheesh as teenage Ajayan
Bahadoor as Driver Mathai
Azeez (actor) as the gambler
Kukku as the nurse
Krishnankutty Nair as the ailing patient at the dispensary
Kaviyoor Ponnamma as Yogini Amma
Adoor Pankajam as Lakshmi Amma
In Anantaram, the theme of perception is dealt with through the protagonist, a youth who, like Adoor, is both an introvert and an extrovert at the same time. In an interview, Adoor said, "Anantaram is basically about perceptions. About a young, impressionable boy who is an introvert and an extrovert at the same time. You will say he's like me. My treatment was not very familiar, though I was searching for the familiar experience of growing up, struggling with life and relationships. What is in the frame and what is juxtaposed to it just outside the frame... or let us put it this way, it has to do with attuning to the reality just beyond perception. Actually this is part of daily experience though we don't analyse it."
The film is considered Adoor's magnum opus by a few critics, however the overall reaction was mixed.
The film has been nominated for and won the following awards since its release:
1987 FIPRESCI Prize (Karlovy Vary)
1987 National Film Awards (India)
Won - Best Director - Adoor Gopalakrishnan
Won - Best Screenplay - Adoor Gopalakrishnan
Won - Best Audiography - P. Devadas, T. Krishnanunni, N. Harikumar