Director Fazil is a modest man. He is often so calm that when few years back an interviewer asked sarcastically how horrible his son’s debut was , all he did was reply gently that the movie was a collective mistake and Fahad has a plan to come back. But in 1993 around the time when Manichitrathazhu was about to release, you saw a different excited Fazil.
Fazil was so confident about the product he had made and the performance his leading actress delivered that he went on raving about in the interviews that Shobana would for sure win the National award. You cannot blame him for that because you know that he was in front of the camera and he had directly watched her stunning act in Vidamatte scene and the last half an hour.
Fazil’s predictions turned out absolutely right and Shobana won her first National award for Manichitrathazhu. Its been 20 years since and we are yet to see one such another powerfully dominant performance by a leading lady that towered above the superstars, co-actors , technicians and almost all other aspects of a movie like Shobana did in Manichitrathazhu.
Since then ,perhaps with the only exceptions of Urvashi in her generation and Manju Warrier in the next (another actress whose comeback is equally awaited too), we haven’t also seen any other actress who has quite matched up to Shobana and her amazing acting prowess.
Shobana made her debut in 1984 in Balachandra Menon’s ‘April 18’ .As she is all set to return through next week’s Thira, Shobana is also almost completing 30 years of her acting career. As a small girl in Kanamarayathu when Shobana became angry, it was so cute that we laughed out loud along with Mammootty on screen. In Manichitrathazhu when she magically transformed to her alter personality and shouted ‘Vidamatte’,she stunned us all and held us spellbound !
In Thenmavin Kombathu when she played pranks on Mohanlal ,we enjoyed it thoroughly with her. In Mitr (which also won her the second National award) when she played the lonely mom and wife who was often left out and ignored by her husband and daughter, our hearts went out to her .Whether its the years she has been active or the years when she was away, Shobana always had a place among our most loved and adored actresses.
Its mainly after 2000, she became overly selective while choosing movies and started devoting almost her entire time and life to her primary passion ‘Dance’. Post 2000 , Shobana just made two very brief comebacks to Malayalam Cinema which were in 2004(Mambazhakalam) and 2009 (Sagar Alias Jacky). Both unfortunately did not give anything for her fans to remember and were roles which did not deserve an actress of her caliber.
But if the trailer and the manner in which Vineeth is promoting the movie as ‘Shobana in “Thira”‘ are any indication, Shobana seems to have a strong author backed role in this thriller. This is what makes her return this time furthermore exciting and why we look forward to see her with much more anticipation . If an amazingly talented actress like Shobana is given the right role , the right space and the right script, we all know what she is capable of.
Few months back when Vineeth went to meet Shobana with the script of Thira , he was scared. He knew that Shobana has not been active in movies for long and he also did not know a single other actress who could provide full justice to the character he wrote. Luckily for Vineeth and for us too , Shobana said yes ! Thira is now just 4 days away from its release. The movie had a terrific trailer. It has a director who is among the most promising young directors we have today and who is returning after the huge success of last year’s Thattathin Marayath. It has a dashing theme song and also seems to have stunning visuals.
But none of these is Thira’s USP. Its USP is Shobana and her big return to Malayalam Cinema after a gap of 4 years. It remains to be seen how often we will be able to see Shobana again on screen after Thira. But for now I am thrilled and I am super excited. I can’t wait anymore for Nov 14th to see one of my favorite actresses ever back in action.
Welcome Back Shobana 🙂