25 years of Pavithram: why Vinduja cherishes this Mohanlal film

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Superstar Mohanlal was called 'Chettachan' by actress Vinduja Menon's character in the 1994 movie 'Pavithram' and it's the same for the actress in real life too.

“I have acted with Mohanlal only in two films: 'Pavithram' and 'Pingami'. I played his younger sister in both the films. People still identify me as Meenakshi of 'Pavithram' even though I have acted in several other films,” the actress revealed.

The film dealt with the relationship between siblings Unnikrishnan (Mohanlal) and Meenakshi (Vinduja Menon) who have an almost 30 year age difference between them.

On the silver jubilee of its release, Onmanorama asked Vinduja how significant the movie was for her and the lesser-known facts about the movie which also featured Shobana, Thilakan, Srividya, Sreenivasan, Nedumudi Venu and Innocent.

Vinduja, who is a dance teacher, has made a come back to the silver screen in 2016 after a hiatus.

The role

“I was the Kalathilakam (best performer at state school arts meet called Kalolsavam) when I was in class 10. My mother was a dancer and the news on my success at the Kalolsavam appeared in almost all major newspapers back then. And that was how TK Rajeev Kumar, the director of the movie, happened to notice me. He came home and did a photoshoot. After he was impressed with them, he asked if I was interested in acting and that's how he narrated the story to me,” recalled Vinduja.

She further revealed that being her first movie, she never had a strange feeling on the sets. “It was like a family ambience itself. When there was no shoot, everyone used to sit together, crack jokes and laugh on sets. After taking each shot, I used to look at Rajeev and I would relax only if he smiles.”

The slap scene

Vinduja also recalled the shooting of a scene which demanded Mohanlal to come out from a toddy shop and slap her pushing her to the ground. Talking about it, she said, “That scene was taken in a single shot and Mohanlal had rubbed a colour on his fingers. The shot required that he beat me in such a way that the prints of his fingers appeared on my cheeks. As soon as the director called for a cut, my mother who watched the entire scene started crying. Seeing her in such a state, Mohanlal went ahead and told her that he hadn't even touched me.”

The actress was just 15 year old when she had done the movie. Ask her how she feels about doing such a grey-shaded character, Vinduja said, “I did such a character when I barely knew about life and relationships. And then, I used to get letters saying why did I destroy Chettachan's life and at least I should have allowed him to have a life of his own and things like that. Years, later when I got married, I realised that I had essayed a challenging character on my debut. You will realise the importance of a partner in life only when you get married.”

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Release: February 4, 1994

Director: TK Rajeev Kumar

Music: Sharreth

Lyrics: O. N. V. Kurup

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