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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 #50 | 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

Show more on IMDbPro »

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

a beautiful (yet depressing) movie
4 March 2006 | by pcp_nitcSee all my reviews

A very good movie, that rarely occurs in Indian cinema. A striking aspect about the movie is its cinematography. All the colors associated with the dance form KATHAKALI were shown in their true form, giving that real, authentic look to the movie. Hats off to Santhosh Sivan and Renato Berta.

The story is about a Kathakali performer(this is a dance form, where performers enact a play or story from mythology), who is the illegitimate son of a higher caste brahmin. From birth, he is refused his right as a son to his father(although the father secretly prides his son who is a rising Kathakali performer). He has a discontented family life(with an unhappy wife), parallel to his rising Kathakali career. In the midst of all this he happens to meet Subhadra during one of his performances, who is enamored by the character that Kunhikuttan plays, Arjuna, and not Kunhikuttan. An affair ensues, and Subhadra gives birth to Kunhikuttan's son. But now that the magic of his performance is over and Subhadra gets to see the real, exhausted Kunhikuttan, and not the character that he played, Arjuna, she disavows him and refuses him to see his own son. Kunhikuttan was refused his right as a son, now he is refused his right as a father. What ensues is best watched, with all the agony the protagonist feels in him, depicted so powerfully, yet subtly by the performer who reverts from hero characters to negative ones...

One very important part that made this movie memorable was the stellar performances given by everyone in the movie. Mohanlal as Kunhikuttan has performed so well(and shown his CALIBRE), that i wonder, why hasn't he got the respect that is due to him? He is one of the best performers i have ever seen in cinema, although his talent has rarely been tapped. A terrible waste... Suhasini as Subhadra is also a treat to watch(as expected). All other actors in the movie have contributed in their own respect to make this movie WORK.

And last but not the least. The director has performed so well, that you don't feel his presence in the film at all. Shaji N. Karun has given us a very good movie.

P.S. I would have given it a 10 had it not been depressing.

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