'Bramayugam' and 'My Dear Kuttichathan': Depicting the struggle of gods and demigods for freedom from humans

Mammootty in Bramayugam. Photo: IMDb

When Chathan, residing in the form of Kodumon Potti (Mammootty), informs Thevan (Arjun Ashokan) that "This is Bramayugam, a perversion of Kaliyuga," it felt like the Chathan was speaking not to a medieval age but to the present. With these lines, Chathan subtly suggests to the Panan that within the intricate labyrinth (represented here by the mana or mansion) crafted by megalomaniacs, even deities and demigods find themselves held captive within structures and scriptures ostensibly erected for worship and spiritual wellbeing, but in truth constantly manipulated for the benefit of the powerful.

Though there is no dearth of folklore about human treachery and how they deceived and enslaved Chathan, a naive demigod, Malayalam cinema brought it to the silver screen in 1984 through Jijo Punnoose's 'My Dear Kuttichathan'. Although Jijo's Kuttichathan was originally packaged as a children's film, when dissected alongside Rahul Sadasivan's 2024 film 'Bramayugam', it fits well under the political lens.

Rahul's 'Bramayugam' and Jijo's 'My Dear Kuttichathan' depict the manipulation tactics of power-hungry people who ensnare gods and demigods like Chathan, Karinkali, Yakshi, etc., exploiting their vulnerabilities to instil fear and exert control over fellow beings. Sounds familiar?

Sidharth Bharathan in Bramayugam. Photo: IMDb

In 'Bramayugam', Chathan finds himself trapped within the body and mana (mansion) of Kodumon Potti. In 'My Dear Kuttichathan', Kuttichathan is entrapped by the black magician portrayed by legendary Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair. In 'Bramayugam', while initially, it appears as if Chathan holds sway over the situation, as Rahul expands the story, it becomes clear that Potti's illegitimate son (Sidharth Bharathan) is the one who truly holds the reins in 'Bramayugam'. Potti's son, who is depicted as the cook at the mana, keeps Chathan confined within the mansion by manipulating him with alcohol, meat, and women. He is waiting for the opportune moment to seize the source of Chathan's power—a ring. In Kuttichathan, Kottarakkara wants the demigod to find him a long-lost treasure.

Sidharth Bharathan's character displays all the traits of a megalomaniac as the story evolves. He feeds Thevan misinformation about the mana, Kodumon Potti, and Chathan. Once he offers Thevan as a distraction to Chathan, Sidharth empowers the Panan, who symbolizes the oppressed, with vital information on how to defeat the demigod while withholding the secret of the ring, just like those in power use an invisible enemy or conflict to keep the oppressed motivated for a false goal. He uses the falling of the tree on the mansion as the final catalyst to inspire Thevan for the last standoff.

During the culminating struggle, the young Potti uses Thevan as a shield to defeat Chathan and capture the source of absolute power. However, he underestimates the resolve of the common man. Thevan, with all his innocence, tries to impart wisdom to the young Potti about the vice of power, but when all his attempts fail, he unleashes a resistance that the power-hungry Potti had not anticipated. The revolution of the oppressed destroys the mansion, the power centre, and in the process frees Chathan from the master. In 'My Dear Kuttichathan', it's the innocent children who bring down the black magician and free the demigod. In both films, the villains meet a violent end. When Jijo Punnoose used fire to display a larger force, Rahul Sadasivan used the Portuguese soldiers as the symbol of a mightier force that would devour Potti and the like.

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