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Vanaprastham (1999)

A depressed Kathakali artist falls in love with a member of an aristocratic family.


Shaji N. Karun


Pierre Assouline (story), Shaji N. Karun (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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Top Rated Malayalam Movies #49 | 5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast overview:
Mohanlal ... Kunhikuttan
Suhasini ... Subhadra
Mattanoor Shankara Marar Mattanoor Shankara Marar ... Raman
Kalamandalam Gopi Kalamandalam Gopi ... Kunju Nair
Venmani Haridas Venmani Haridas ... Namboodiri
Kukku Parameshwaram ... Savithri
Venmani Vishnu Venmani Vishnu ... Pisharadi
Kalamandalam Kesavan Kalamandalam Kesavan ... Thirumeni
Bindu Panikkar ... Bhageerathi


A depressed Kathakali artist falls in love with a member of an aristocratic family.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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France | India | Germany



Release Date:

13 October 1999 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Last Dance See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The title stems from Sanskrit and alludes to the place where all artists need to be, free of all emotional attachments and material possessions. See more »

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User Reviews

Mirror Fragments..
4 December 2003 | by bab-ZeroesSee all my reviews

Is a beautifully and articulately cinematographed formalist piece of drama that does the Indian tradition of melodramatic film proud. It is a film of mirrors ..where the strict defined roles hold up a mirror to undefined, imperfect humanity with no answers...and no questions.Where formal Indian dance(kathakali) holds up a mirror to classics so perfect that humans define themselves in the melodramatic masks of epics. and formalist concepts of art, such as truth, nobility and beauty defines themselves into the drama in such a way that what is left for humans that wear the masks is only weakness, bewilderment ...duty and weariness.

The film is structured as a set of pure cinema (and minimal and melodramatic) events intercut with Kathakali dance performances that reflect the basic emotional drama underlying the scene. The director makes sure that we understand that this is no mere narrative device. the characters in the film don and disturb the masks and makeup of characters in the play...and in myth easily as if they have a very blurred line between present time and fictional reality.

Wwe end up looking for the truth in reflected, broken mirror fragments, reflecting it off one another- one side colored with formal myth, the other with minimalist melodrama. The failing of the film is in its certainity that objective truth can be found in art (it is by no means certain...we are all,IMO, and to quote newton , just children playing in the sands of time amusing ourselves with the discovery of a colorful shell here and there...). The tension with this film is that it succeedes as the formalist art that it critiques , thus, holding a mirror unto itself.

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