Sangham (1988) Poster


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A film about the rivalry between religions in Kerala
PimpinAinttEasy23 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Dear Dennis Joseph,

you are a terrific writer. Maybe even better than Renji Panicker. You wrote two of the best movies featuring Christian gangsters - Sangham and Kottayam Kunjachan. I consider them to be greater than Renji's Lelam.

Thank you for writing such a politically incorrect film about the rivalry between a Hindu and Christian family set in a Kerala village. Your film lays it all out in the open. The nexus between rich Christian businessmen and the church and their political ambitions. On the other side, the powerful Panicker family with their pompous notions about their own heritage and history. They face off at clubs and over land and the rivalry culminates in a closely fought boat race which ends in violence.

Despite some of the slap sticky stuff (I am sure you had to include all that for commercial reasons), there is a lot to appreciate in the film. The action scenes were well done - especially the hands on fight in the paddy field. The dialogs were terrific, reflecting the attitudes and prejudices of that era. There is never a dull moment in the film's first half.

The film does get a little boring in the second half when the focus shifts to the Christian family's secrets. It gets really weepy towards the end with all those whiny helpless women spoiling the show.

Thilakan and Mamooty are terrific as the father-son duo. Mammooty usually excels in these macho Christian roles.

Sangham is a macho film where women are mostly in the background and masculine traits are glorified. It makes me wonder what Kerala was like a few decades ago. Must have been like the Wild West.

You ought to be working in more movies. Some of these new generation writers are utter rubbish. Hope one of the old school directors gives you another chance.

Best Regards, Pimpin.

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