Director: A. Vincent; Writer: Thoppil Bhasi; Producer: Hari Pothen; Cinematographer: Bhaskar Rao; Cast: Prem Nazir, Madhu, Thikkurisi Sukumaran Nair, Adoor Bhasi, Nellikkode Bhaskaran, Paravoor Bharathan, Thoppil Bhasi, Sheela, Sharada (Saraswati), Adoor Bhawani
Duration: 02:21:27; Aspect Ratio: 1.739:1; Hue: 22.923; Saturation: 0.089; Lightness: 0.289; Volume: 0.316; Cuts per Minute: 8.101
Vincent’s political melodrama, based on Bhasi’s play staged by the KPAC, tells of two friends, Vijaya (Sharada) and Vatsala (Sheela), who part ways when Vatsala’s father, a lawyer, causes Vijaya’s father, a businessman, to lose a case which leads to the man’s death. Vijaya is forced to marry the trade unionist Ramu (Nazir) who leads a strike but dies when the strike turns violent. The suffering Vijaya kills her three starving children and is arrested before she can commit suicide. She is sent to the gallows by her former friend Vatsala, now a noted lawyer. The film is the best known of the Vincent/Bhasi collaborations (cf. Ashwamedham, 1967). It was remade with great success by Madhusudhana Rao in Telugu (Manushulu Marali, 1969
) and in Hindi (Samaj Ko Badal Dalo, 1970
). All three films featured Sharada, and collectively they represent her best-known screen image.
The title "Thulabharam" [The Scales of Justice / Body-Offering] refers to a peculiar temple-ritual based on a vow made to the Almighty by a devotee: to make an offering at a temple of some material (ranging from jewellery and money to fruits, vegetables, fabric, camphor, milk, ghee or jaggery) equivalent to his/her body-weight, in order to get some worldly desire or obligation fulfilled through divine intercession. This ritual is conducted at select south Indian temples, most famously at Guruvayoor and Tirupati. The KPAC initially had considered naming this play more forthrightly as "Kalla-thraas" (False Weighing Scales) but settled for the culturally-resonant "Thulabharam" to set up this melodramatic critique of bourgeois justice: measured, and extracted, in body-weight.
The 1968 play, formally inaugurated by legal luminary V.R. Krishna Iyer, was massively successful and enabled KPAC to acquire a plot for its own headquarter. The film-adaptation released in the same year was a major hit too. Sarada won the first of her three national awards for this film, which also won the award for second-best film (trailing Ray's "Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne" that year). "Thulabharam" was re-made in Telugu as "Manushulu Marali" (1969) and in Hindi as "Samaj Ko Badal Dalo" (1970).http://www.malayalachalachithram.com/posters/270.jpg