Maalayogam is a Malayalam film released in 1990. Directed by Sibi Malayil, this film casts Jayaram, Mukesh, Parvathy, Chithra, Murali, Innocent, Oduvil Unnikrishnan, Thilakan Maniyan Pillai Raju and Suma Jayaram. The script was written by A. K. Lohithadas. This film was one of the biggest hits of the year.
Sibi Malayil’s family dramedy has a theme consistent with the Malayalam films of the 90s. Unemployment, disdain of blue collar jobs, class divisions and dowry issues. The characters are down to earth and struggle to make ends meet in their daily lives while never letting go of the innate goodness that defines them.
Rameshan(Jayaram) and Jose(Mukesh) and best friends coming from similar backgrounds. Both are educated well-groomed lads of more earthy parents. Rameshan’s father Paramu Nair(Oduvil Unnikrishnan) is a tea shop owner while Jose’s father Varkey(Thilakan) is a farmer. Both have sisters waiting to be married off, only being confined by the outrageous demands for dowry. Rameshan is also in love with Rema(Parvathi), daughter of a wealthy landlord Raman Vaidyar(Innocent), who is hell-bent on marrying off his daughter to a doctor.
While local brokers try to fix up the ladies with suitable men by hook or crook, Rameshan and Jose grow increasingly anxious for jobs. Seeing the success achieved by the local brokers, they decide to get into the marriage broker business after convincing their parents that this would be a winning shot. However their plan goes bust when the business flops driving them both to desperation again. Meanwhile, Rema gets married off to a doctor as Rameshan fails to find the courage to save her. Rameshan’s sister also elopes with the local coconut plucker Damodaran(Murali) after her father reluctantly arranges her marriage with Raman Vaidyar. Though initially enraged, Rameshan reconciles with his sister and Damodaran after realizing that his sister could not have found a better man.
Damodaran advises Rameshan to get rid of his stigmas and join his father’s tea shop. Both he and Jose join their fathers and are able to find better success than with any of their past ventures. Meanwhile, Varkey forms a plan to get Jose married off for a sum of dowry, with which he could marry off his daughter Rosaline(Chitra). They find suitable alliances and the marriage is fixed. However the happy occasion is clouded by the tragic news of Rema’s death. Rema was deeply unhappy with her husband who constantly harassed her and her father for money, despite her father having paid a huge sum of dowry and almost neck up in debt. Rameshan is devastated and ridden by guilt that he could not save her from this terrible fate. Finally the day of the betrothal dawns and both Jose and Rosaline take their vows together. But the happiness is short-lived as Varkey discovers belatedly that the girl’s family had not been able to gather the promised dowry. He is furious but even more fearful that this would severely affect Rosaline’s marriage. On hearing that they would not receive the dowry promptly, Rosaline’s betrothed and his family immediately break the betrothal. Varkey, mad with anger and grief commands Jose to break off with his betrothed too, which he gallantly refuses. Rameshan pleads desperately with the leaving parties as well as with the church priest and locals to stop and reconsider, as the cancellation of this marriage would devastate Rosaline. When no one offers support and hurl more abuses, Rameshan steps forward and asks Jose for Rosaline hand in marriage. Despite the difference in faith, Jose and his father are overjoyed at this. At the end Rameshan takes a grateful Rosaline’s hand in his, while Varkey and Jose look on with joy.
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