It was only a few days ago, I got a chance to watch the Adoor Gopalakrishnan masterpiece 'Elippathayam' ( Rat Trap ) that heralded the coming of new age cinema in the early 1980s. Owing to my weak intellect, I could concieve the movie to only a certain extent though, it left me in a different state of mind.
The film was released in 1981, ten years before I was born. Every work of creativity is heavily influenced by the socio economic conditions prevailing then. Nothing different in the case of this film too. It's an account of a family with a feudal ancestry that struggles to accommodate the changes happening in the existing system. The film revolves around Unni and his three sisters. The elder sister fights for her family share, the second sister serves her brother like a slave whereas the youngest one elopes with her lover. The characters Unni and Rajamma, the second sister, have been immortalised by Karamana Janardanan Nair and Sharada. Unni, the uncaring brother who doesnt let Rajamma get out of her life of spinsterhood for his interests, symbolises the feuds filled with narcissm and narrow mindedness. With the lose of his sister, he crumbles and withdraws as if into a rat hole. Rajamma, on the other side, serves her brother selflessly till she falls for ever.
The film presents a few of the best scenes in the world cinema has ever seen, which cant be detailed in words with the reputation it deserves. The rat trap, which acts as the major metaphor, the symbol of plight of women in the society. The long breaks between the dialogues assume different meanings as the story grows up. The other element that draws attention is the outstanding cinematography by Mankada Ravi Varma.
On the whole, the film stands a class apart and was a different experience for me.. Thanks to Adoor..