Monday Malayalam: Puthiya Theerangal, Safer Together at Sea than Alone on Land

Happy Monday!  Let’s see if I can crank this post out before I fall asleep.  Luckily, it is about a nice little movie that I don’t have to think about too much to be able to write about it.

This is the movie that I’ve always been kind of curious about when I see it flip by me on streaming sites just because the poster is all sunny and on a beach and nice and stuff.  And it is in fact a movie that is all sunny and on a beach and nice and stuff.  Plus, cute little baby Nivin back when he was just a pleasant part of an ensemble, not a rising major star.  And kind of a nice message about fathers and daughters.  But mostly, sunshine and sandy beaches.

It’s also a movie about Namitha Pramod.  I have semi-randomly seen a lot of Namitha Pramod movies.  Semi-randomly because they were all recommended to me because Namitha was a good actress so that part was on purpose, but then they all happened to be easily available streaming or on DVD so that part was random, out of all the movies recommended to me I saw a whole bunch of hers.

This is her second film, her first as a lead heroine.  She was only 16, her previous movie she played a dying little girl, and in this one she played a strong powerful woman.  A year later, at 16.  And she is remarkable in this role.  It’s too bad that she seems to have fallen into being Dileep’s heroine (am I seeing that right?  Because, EW!!!!!!!) instead of having more heroine roles on her own.

What’s even more interesting is that this is not just a strong role for a woman, it is a strong woman she is playing.  Not a passive victim, not a woman who struggles and finds her strength, but a woman who is already strong right from the start.  And who is strong because she was never taught to be any other way, she had a father and a community around her who supported her and didn’t try to make her anything else.

And that’s how this is a father-daughter story, not about fathers who take care of daughters, but about fathers who make daughters strong and daughters who take care of their fathers.  It’s not sappy about fathers being wise and wonderful and perfect all the time, or daughters always being loving and sentimental, and that’s what makes it ultimately very loving and sentimental.  Because taking care of family, wanting family, even when they irritate you, is what makes it mean.










Siddharth (I think) is a fisherman and a single father.  When his daughter gets to be older, he worries about leaving her home alone, so he takes a radical decision and brings her with him and his crew on his fishing boat.  The crew objects, but he says that she will be safer on the sea with him than on the land alone.  And then he dies, leaving her orphaned.

Years later, we return to find that Namitha is now grown up and has her own fishing crew.  She is tough and independent and respected.  This is the gift her father gave her, instead of making her stay on land and locked up in a house, afraid, he brought her out into the world with him.  Essentially, this is the point of “take your daughter to work day”.  Which I think is just an American holiday?  Anyway, the idea was to take daughters in particular to work with you and let them see what office life was like, to see what they might like to do, to get them out of the house and start them dreaming and planning for the future.  And it worked, Namitha was orphaned, but she wasn’t alone, she already knew the fishing crew, she inherited her father’s boat and knew how to use it, she was okay.

And so rather than needing a father to rescue her, she is the one to rescue a father.  Nedumudi, who is rescued from drowning by her crew.  He tells a story of a family that threw him out, and Namitha takes pity on him.  Their relationship has ups and downs, he surprises her with an expensive birthday celebration, only to reveal that he stole the money for it from her.  He turns one of their expensive fish nets into a hammock.  And she reacts not with soft loving understanding like a usual heroine, but rather blunt frustrated patience.  And Nedumudi gives her not wise advice and mature wisdom like the usual fathers on films, but instead clumsy attempts to arrange her wedding and confusing miscommunication.

And life goes on around them.  Nivin is there, the schoolmaster who reads English for the villagers.  He is young and cute and clearly has a thing for Namitha.  He is the only one of the crew who thinks of her that way, which (I think) is normal.  These are guys she has known her whole life, some of them just see her as a friend, some of them admire her as their captain, and one of them has a crush on her.  And she maybe has a crush on him, but she has a lot of other stuff going on in her life.  Their relationship moves forward in starts and stops, Nivin is offered a role in a movie being filmed nearby and leaves for a while, she pretends not to miss him, he dreams of her while singing his movie song.

The only other small plot is the effort to solve the mystery of who Nedumudi is.  His story keeps changing, he goes from saying he is on the run from his murderous son to saying he is the wealthy powerful father of two movie producers.  Until he snaps, when he sees Nivin trying to pull Namitha into a cab to take her to a surprise.  He misinterprets Namitha’s laughing protests as fear and grabs a bat to drive Nivin away.  Namitha manages to calm him down and they take him to the priest/doctor (?) who identifies Nedumudi as criminally and dangerously insane.  He escaped from an asylum before Namitha found him.  But Namitha’s patience and acceptance have kept him safe until now, stopped him from violence and blunted his delusions.

I don’t like it when “love” is the magical cure for mental illness, but it makes sense in this case.  Nedumudi needed security and stability in his life, and that is what Namitha gave him, just as her father gave it to her.  Specifically, he needed the stability of a daughter.  That is what he lost in the first place, his daughter was killed and his mind snapped.  He started taking on the lives of other people he knew because his own past was too painful to face.  But Namitha gave him back a life of his own, he might not be able to face the past, but with her he could face the future.

And so it ends where it began.  Namitha makes the same decision and finds the same solution her father did.  She will take Nedumudi out on the boat with her, because he will be safer with her on the sea than he would be alone on the land.


Oh, and also, Nivin and Namitha get together.  But that’s less important.

26 thoughts on “Monday Malayalam: Puthiya Theerangal, Safer Together at Sea than Alone on Land

    • Well, if you start paying some subscription fees to Margret, I’m sure she will review the movies of your choice. Until then, we get to read what she watches by her choice. 🙂


        • This is what she wrote-‘the only way this blog gets new visitors is through a link you post in the comments of another site, or in another forum’- this doesn’t say share reviews. Share the blog link IF you like what she writes-review or not.


          • Ha Ha!
            Why would a Malayalee be interested in a fanpost about Shahrukh Khan?
            I would actually like to hear from Margaret about this!


          • I think what you mean is that I shouldn’t write boring posts on bad movies if I want you to share the reviews? That is a fair point, but if that is the goal, positive reinforcement works much better, Sharing and commenting on the posts you do like has an immediate massive reaction that I cannot miss. Not commenting or sharing, or criticizing the posts you don’t like, doesn’t really change anything.

            I reviewed Kilukkam just a few weeks ago, in the first 24 hours it got 244 views to this post’s 223. And 33 comments to 20 on this post. And yet it took me twice as long to watch (including the usual technology fumbles when I watch something on an unusual service as well as film length) and 3 times as long to write the review. So, where is the benefit? I can watch this movie easily and quickly and write a short high quality review and spend more time on other things like discussion posts and reviews of other films, and then do a Malayalam classic next week when I have more time. There is no drive to only review long difficult classic films if I am not getting any reward for doing so.

            This is also the price you pay for Malayalam being the one thing I never skip. Some weeks I am just too busy to write a good review of a good film, so the choice is to write nothing at all or squeeze in a short review of an average film. Every other kind of post, I would choose to do a rerun instead of a new review, but with Malayalam, I will somehow manage to watch and write something new, every week.

            In terms of why a Malayalee would be interested in a fanpost about SRK, I don’t know, but they are 🙂 I know all my regular commentators very very very well, and there is a large overlap between my Malayalee commentators and ones who comment on SRK posts. Not every Malayalee, but some. People can contain multiple interests.


          • HI Margaret, appreciate your response!

            “I think what you mean is that I shouldn’t write boring posts on bad movies if I want you to share the reviews?”
            >>> No this is not at all what I mean. Slam a movie that deserves to be slammed, but be fair! l Also, please choose movies that people have actually watched!

            See, there’s this YouTube channel called “Pieces of Work”.He’s started with Malayalam films hardly 2-3 months back. He happened to watch a Malayalam movie called “Chappa Kurishu” and he just ripped it apart it for plagiarism (and along with it, other plagiarized Indian films as well). That post got lot of views in Kerala(250K+), gaining him an interview with some local Malayalam radio channel. He’s also got a free ticket to some Mohanlal show in Australia next month!
            I watch his channel, and also read your blog, and personally feel that your knowledge of films is much much more – two film courses, right?

            So the point is, watch bad movies and by all means, slam them! But pick movies that people have seen and has an opinion about. “Puthiya Theerangal” is not a movie that many people have watched. If it’s showing on TV, people flip their channel! And those who’ve watched wouldn’t have much of an opinion about it!
            Which is why maybe you should give ears to the recommended movies – maybe bad, maybe good, but people would still want to talk about it! “Kilukkam” would’ve got the same views & comments if you’d slammed it also!
            By all means, watch the Kasabas and the Kings and people will talk about it. Give them what they need!

            ” Every other kind of post, I would choose to do a rerun instead of a new review, but with Malayalam, I will somehow manage to watch and write something new, every week”
            >>> And this is the reason why I’ll never leave your blog!
            Sometimes, I wake up at 4 AM in the morning on Tuesdays, and the first thing that comes to mind is, “Oh, the Monday Malayalam!”

            “I know all my regular commentators very very very well, and there is a large overlap between my Malayalee commentators and ones who comment on SRK posts.”
            >>> You ever wondered what’s the “gender” of your commentators? The majority? I would like your blog to apply to the 100%! You deserve it!!!


          • Thank you for your nice words! I do like writing posts on movies people have seen and will want to discuss, but sometimes it is so hard to predict I just give up and watch whatever is easy for me to manage that week (this movie leaped to the top of the list purely because it was short and on Netflix). Take Off, for instance, was recommended a ton and I was sure it would get a ton of views and lots of discussion, and it didn’t. Maybe because I missed it in theaters and was writing after people stopped caring, maybe because the people who would have been interested were sick that week, I don’t know.

            Anyway, since there are no guarantees, sometimes I have to be a bit scattershot and see what hits. And give myself some weeks off to write short reviews on short movies. The longer deeper movies, even if I write a bad review, still take much much longer to watch and write about.

            Keep recommending, but if you wonder why I don’t follow recommendations immediately or exclusively, it is because my view counts can tell me that nothing is a guaranteed hit, and sometimes my life schedule tells me I just can’t do a serious Malayalam review this week. Last week my grandfather was in the hospital, this week I had a church emergency, so writing a good review of a good Malayalam movie kind of dropped to the bottom of my priorities. Although I did still manage something, notice I skipped Tamil Tuesday this week.


  1. See, I hate dileep as much as the next man. Grew up on his movies,(bhavana was there too- most often as dileep’s pair) but feel an instinctive sadness on bhavana’s predicament. That being said, it is hypocritical on your part to only condemn dileep’s action, while at the same time dedicate 1000s of hours of your time in writing posts about patriarchal Bollywood stars, who are infamous for casting couch incidents . Vivek oberoi openly claimed in that infamous press meet about how Salman Khan boasted about his sexual exploits with Rani Mukherjee, Preeti zinta and Diya Mirza and all. ,Yet I am pretty sure that you have dedicated many of your posts to that murderer , poacher , girlfriend beater( broke Aish’s hand) sorry excuse for a human being, ignoring everything he has done. Hypocritical much?. Now coming to ddlj a film that has the worst possible mysogynistic message- only if your father gives your hand in marriage will that union be legitimate. We see amrish Puri not doing that but giving only a half hearted verbal assent. Kajol is shown as “running away” with shah rukh on the train , satisfying both the patriarchal mindset and the romantic flavour of the genre. A minor plot hole , as srk had promised farida jalal that he will only accept Kajol with full blessings of amrish Puri. Now if the movie had ended with srk staying back and marrying her in front of all the relatives, that would be the right manner of delivering the pact he had made with farida. What we see is a contrived ending with amrish not being humiliated in front of the larger society and srk getting his girl, with the only loser being Kajol who will have to make do with a marriage, most probably in the absence of her parents. You dedicate 1000s of posts to such mysogynistic movies. Another example is Kal ho na ho, where a dying shahrukh makes all the decisions for a priety zinta ,depriving her of her right to choose . A weird angle in this movie is the subtle father – daughter relationship of both the characters with priety being shown as a girl with Daddy issues, and shah rukh taking on the garb of her absentee father in many scenes(albeit in a very subtle manner). Now shah rukh’s solution to all her problems is to turn her from a person with real emotions into a typical Bollywood heroine archetype in the 2nd half by making her”receptable” to Bollywood style love by entirely changing her personality altogether. Making her wear “Girly dresses”, enhancing a fake femininty over a real personality she naturally possessed. The terminal control freak shahrukh dies in the end(made me very happy). You in your love of shah rukh ignore the blatant misogyny in his movies and make it a point to write paens and paens about the other things in them , but is quick to latch on to the slightest misogyny in mollywood movies , which fares far far better than pornwood industry up north in my country


  2. Hello Margaret!
    You seem to be specializing in latest Satyan Anthikad films and not watching his earlier films when he was actually making some good ones!
    Anyway, a lot of people (including me) recommended good/decent Malayalam movies in Hostar in your “Sahayathriku Snehapoorvam” post –
    Please take a look, so you won’t be lost in mediocre/bad ones.
    But anyway, your opinion can vary!
    I also heard that “Sudani From Nigeria” is releasing there this week – It’s got good reviews here.


  3. I read the post on Salman being convicted as a measure of vengeance for other offences. To quote a scene from “will and grace” AL Capone was convicted , not for murdering half of Chicago, not for Flooding Chicago with cheap hooch , but on a single count of tax evasion. The American justice was delivered on Capone , at the other end of a long shadow war waged by the FBI. What happened to Salman is not so tragic as the tragedy that happened to the poor homeless guy, or to the witness constable who was turned to an alcoholic ,mentally tortured by his superiors (most probably on ‘bhai’s advice) and died a slow painful death . If The law is not fair on the common man why should it be any different for a privileged brat


  4. I love Sathyan Anthikad movies (except for maybe Ennum Eppozhum). They’re like chicken soup for the soul! I thought this was a nice, warm movie.
    Loved the strength that Namitha had. Also, she was a really good actress in the beginning, now she seems to have regressed! This is the problem when you have such young actresses, they don’t have enough life experiences to draw from – and their performance is directly a function of how good/bad the directors are. So a good director like Sathyan Anthikad is able to draw out a good performance whereas in her Dileep movies, the directors are so bland that her performance is also just like that.


    • Now I have another director to chase down! I really wish Hotstar and the other services let you search by director.

      On Tue, Apr 17, 2018 at 1:02 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  5. I like this review. And am I the only one who appreciates mediocre movies? I know it sound silly but, I like them, and they made me enjoy good movies more.


    • I like them too! Sometimes it’s nice to give my brain a little rest. And, like you said, it helps you appreciate the other movies better in contrast. If I thought Indian film was just one classic after the other, I wouldn’t realize how special and remarkable the classics were.

      On Tue, Apr 17, 2018 at 1:47 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



    • You are welcome! It is a very pleasant film, on Netflix and only two hours long as well.

      On Tue, Apr 17, 2018 at 7:58 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  6. This one and ennum eppozhum are my least favourite sathyan anthikkadu films. I m not a great fan of him but he makes decent entertainers with good humour.Some old films are real classics. These 2 were his only films i felt was a waste of my money/time/data. And i would prefer any brainless comedy from dileep anyday over these kind of preachy pretentious tv serial like films..


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.