The story of an impotent wrestler whose wife is driven to an extra-marital affair.

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The story of an impotent wrestler whose wife is driven to an extra-marital affair.

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23 March 1983 (USA)  »

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Once There Was a Wrestler  »

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Padmarajan is a great writer but a lousy director and editor .....
20 December 2013 | by (India) – See all my reviews

You've got to appreciate Padmarajan's imagination and his knowledge of the rural Kerala milieu. But Adoor Gopalakrishnan was right when he said that Padmarajan was a better writer than a director. There are too many unimaginative camera angles and disjointed scenes which point towards bad editing (Padmarajan also edited this film).

A witless wrestler arrives in an idyllic Kerala village and the people of the village are bent on exploiting his physical strength and his potential as an entertainer.

One of the seminal moments in the film is a "lovemaking" scene on the wrestler's first night. The wrestler does a pose down for his wife and then lifts her and throws her on the bed. She is scared but when he does it numerous times she joins in the fun and they both smile sensually at each other. But when she beckons to the wrestler with her fingers, indicating that she wants him to take her, the giggling wrestler once again lifts her and throws her on the bed. This time, the exhausted wife simply turns around and goes to sleep. I have never seen anything like this before. Pretty interesting way to show a man's impotence.

Rashid is reasonably good as the impotent wrestler. Jayanti who plays his wife is a great femme fatale. You do get a nice look around the beautiful "nattinpuram" (Kerala countryside). But the film does meander after a certain point but picks up once again during the violent end. Padmarajan does show some imagination as a director especially the way he shoots the violent ending. But such imaginative bits are few and far between.

But even then, a very enjoyable watch for the wonderful characters and dialogs.

(8/10)


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