Pavithram (Malayalam: പവിത്രം) is a 1994 Indian Malayalam drama film directed by T. K. Rajeev Kumar. The film stars Mohanlal, Shobana, Vinduja Menon, Thilakan, Srividya, Sreenivasan, Nedumudi Venu and Innocent. The music was composed by Sharreth and the cinematography was by Santhosh Sivan.
The film deals with the relationship between siblings Unnikrishnan (Mohanlal) and Meenakshi (Vinduja Menon) who have an almost 30 year age difference between them.
The film won Mohanlal the 1994 Filmfare Award for Best Actor.
The movie begins with an older man's dream; Unni (played by Mohanlal) is roused from his house and told to come in haste to see his father (someone Unni has longed believed to be dead). He is greeted by a crowd of people who begin to make fun of him and Unni wakes up. An astrologer interprets the dream as a harbinger of Easwara Pillai's (Unni's father) death and advices Unni do the last rites for his "dead" father. During the rituals, Unni comes to find it difficult to go through with the rituals as he then believe that his father is alive; he walks away declaring that his father is not dead.
The story flashes back to Unni's youth when he was living in his ancestral home with his parents. He is courting Meera, a beautiful woman with a penchant for books and stories. Unni and Meera appear all set to be married and Meera's father wants Unni to take an MBA in England and eventually take over the reins of the company's responsibilities. Unni makes it clear that he has no interest in pursuing such a career and his dreams are very simple.
Unni has a brother Ramakrishnan (Sreenivasan) who is a doctor living in the city with his wife. Devaki (Unni's mother) wants to have a grandchild and she is concerned as Ramakrishnan has been married a few years without children. In her desire to become a grandmother she visits many temples and holy functions to pray for a grandchild. But in a twist of fate an amorous relation takes a second bud between Devaki and her husband Easwarapilla and she becomes pregnant. The parents are ashamed at the first signs of the pregnancy and worry about how their grown children will react to this news. But they are surprised by the enthusiasm of Unni and the mature and supportive attitude of Ramakrishnan.
Devaki gives birth to a girl but dies during childbirth. Ramakrishnan's wife does not seem to be interested in children much less in one she considers to be a source of shame. In the absence of anyone to take care of the child Unni steps in to foster the child. Soon after in a heated moment, Unni scolds his father and Easwarapilla leaves town as he is devastated by the recent happenings. This leaves Unni with the double responsibility of being a brother as well as father to Meenakshi. Unni breaks off his relationship with Meera upon Meera's father's request as he feels the child will always be a source for problems in their relationship. Unni goes ahead with it as he feels Meenakshi needs him and there's no one else to take that role.
The story then comes back to the present as Meenakshi is a grown girl preparing for her 10 STD exams. Unni has regressed to a village life after he chose to play Meenakshi's brother-father. Over the years Unni has become possessive of Meenakshi as she has been the center of his existence. When it comes time for Meenakshi to go to the city and stay in a hostel to continue her studies, Unni goes through a trying period before finally coming to terms with the inevitable. In the city, Meenakshi is exposed to a new culture and fashions that she was not aware when growing up in the village and she becomes enamored in it.
Meenakshi becomes involved in the city lifestyle, even meeting with Ramakrishnan's wife. This causes friction between her and Unni leading to fights and hostile encounters when they meet. Meenakshi moves to the city and Unni follows her to apologize but sees her involved in an accident.
Meenakshi survives the accident and Ramakrishnan chastises her for ignoring Unni who gave up his dreams for her. Meenakshi repents and goes back to the village to meet with Unni where she realizes that he has become mentally imbalanced after the trauma of seeing her in the accident and she decides to spend the rest of her life taking care of him.
'Pavithram' will be some of the best dramas Malayalam ever produced. The plot, cast, music and everything related to this film was very promising. Though the film is mostly seen as the fate of a man who loved his sister beyond limits in a way that it actually destroyed his own life, it is also seen as the same man's inability to come out of a realm of blindfolded love and care, to the realm of reasoning and practicality. The pampering and infantizing behavior of Unnikrishnan, played by Mohanlal toward his sister had no limit that it actually resulted in taking her away from him. This was also because he had no one or nobody who could actually tell him convincingly that there has to be some timely change in his excessive concern for his sister. Unnikrishnan's brother, Ramakrishnan played by Sreenivasan, was a man of reason and practicality. Yet because of his fear, obligations and submissiveness toward his wife he could not successfully convey his ways of thinking to his brother (Unnikrishnan). The ill fate of Unnikrishnan (though in the movie there is a space for hope is provided), that could have come from such a state could also have come from his forced difficult play of brother-father ('Chettachan') duo to his sister.Mohanlal - UnnikrishnanShobana - MeeraVinduja Menon - MeenakshiK. P. A. C. Lalitha - PunchiriInnocent - ErusseryThilakan - Easwara PillaiSrividya - DevakiyammaSreenivasan - Dr. RamakrishnanNarendra Prasad - Sankaran PillaiNedumudi Venu - WarrierSanthakumariRenuka - Dr.Ramakrishnan's wifeRudra
The film has six songs composed by Sharreth, with lyrics by O. N. V. Kurup. The song Sreeragamo skyrocketed to fame upon release and is highly regarded as a masterpiece of the composer. It is composed on Carnatic raga Kharaharapriya. Sharath uses Dwijavanthi raga in the noted song Thaalamayanju, sung by Yesudas and Sujatha. The film is rated a 7.2 in IMDb and is still considered as one of the best movies done by Mohanlal.