| 6/10 |
| P. Valsala, K. G. George, S. L. Puram Sadanandan|
23 August 1974 (1974-08-23)
Nellu by P. Valsala
Neela Ponmane, Kaadu Kuliranu, Chemba Chemba, Kadali Chenkadali
Kerala State Film Award for Best Lyrics
Prem Nazir, Jayabharathi, Innocent (Man At the Tea Shop)
Salil Chowdhury composed the music for Nellu and Chemmeen
Nellu (1974 film) Wikipedia
Nellu is a 1974 Malayalam film directed by Ramu Kariat based on the award-winning novel of the same name by P. Valsala. The film is about the tribal people of the Wayanad hills in the deep Kerala forests. It stars Prem Nazir and Jayabharathi in the lead roles. The film is noted for its aesthetic quality and is regarded as a landmark in the history of Malayalam cinema.
The film marks the debut of cinematographer Balu Mahendra although not his first release. He won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Photography (Colour). Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Appu won the award for Kerala State Film Award for Best Editing.
The film portrays the life of "Adiyar" community, a tribe whose ways of life belongs to centuries ago. They live in the Wayanad hills in the deep Kerala forests. The film envelopes the passions, superstitions, religious practices, customs, and the servility and exploitation the tribal people endure. The film is narrated through the observations of an outsider.Prem Nazir as Raghavan Nair
Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair as Perumal
Sankaradi as Damoradara Varrier
Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair as Chundeli
Mohan Sharma as Mallan
Adoor Bhasi as Thapaal Nanu
Bahadoor as Saidu
K. P. Ummer as "Vedikkaran" Ouseph
Kedamangalam Ali as Baddamaran
Shihab as Ezhuthappottan
S. P. Pillai as Vaattuvelu (guest appearance)
Prem Nawas as Unnikrishnan
J. A. R. Anand as Chathan
Jayabharathi as Mara
Kaviyoor Ponnamma as Savithri Varassyar
Kanakadurga as Kurumatti
Adoor Bhavani as Pembi
Rani Chandra as Javani
K. V. Shanthi
Sumithra as Safiya
P. Valsala wrote the novel after a rejuvenating experience in Wayanad. It was published in 1972 by Sahithya Pravarthaka Cooperative Society. It went on to become a bestseller and won the Kumkumam Award for Best Novel in 1973. Kariat approached Valsala for permission to adapt the novel, and when she agreed, he asked K. G. George, S. L. Puram Sadanandan and Valsala to write separate scripts based on the novel and in the end, took certain portions from all the three and made the film.
Noted South Indian actress Sharada was originally chosen for the role of Mara. She turned down the offer when Kariat insisted that she dress like the tribal women of Wayanad. Later, Kariat fixed Jayabharathi, another leading actress of the time, for that role. Nellu marked the debut of actor Mohan Sharma who went on to act in about 100 films in Malayalam.
The film's production occurred at various villages near Thirunelli in Wayanad. It was produced by N. P. Ali under the banner of Jammu Films International.
The film features five songs composed by Salil Chowdhary and written by Vayalar. The song " Kadali Chenkadali" was sung by Lata Mangeshkar and is her only song in Malayalam to date.
- "Chemba Chemba" - Manna Dey, Jayachandran, Chorus
- "Kadali Chenkadali" - Lata Mangeshkar
- "Neela Ponmane" - Yesudas, P. Madhuri
- "Kaadu Kuliranu" - P. Susheela
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