A case of sibling rivalry or a case of the disciple surpassing the master – ‘Bharatham’ is a brilliant character study set in the mileu of a family of Carnatic Vocal Musicians. Nedumidi Venu plays the role of Ramanathan a renowned singer who is slowly losing a battle against alcohol. He is ably supported in his concerts by his brother Ramanathan played by Mohanlal. He plays the veenai (a musical instrument) during the concerts. Ramanathan is married and has a loving wife played wonderfully by the ever-dependent Lakshmi. Gopi is in love with the character played by Urvashi; but he worries about his unmarried younger sister who is unable to speak(vocally dumb).
Everything seems to be going fine and the joys of joint family living are detailed. Then comes the shock – Ramanathan is hooted at by the audience when he is too drunk to sing. Gopi looks in desperation and starts singing to salvage the situation – his impromptu song receives a lot of praise and everyone applauds Gopi’s presence of mind and brilliant singing.
Then comes the jealousy – as subsequent concert organisers request Gopi to sing instead of his elder brother. Ramanathan battles with his inner demons and attends Gopi’s concert in the audience and is awed at his voice. Ramanathan plans to take a self-imposed pilgrimage/exile to atone for his drinking and singing in a concert (this is an unpardonable sin for Carnatic musicians). Unfortunately he dies in a road accident and is marked as an unidentified body.
The trauma satarts for Gopi and Urvashi as they try to unravel the missing Ramanathan’s case. Simultaneously Gopi’s younger sister’s wedding is arranged with a kind-hearted neighbour played by Lalu Alex. As the wedding arrangements gather pace – Gopi has a tough time answering questions about his brother’s disappearance. The anguish that he portrays when he realises that his brother is dead and his clandestine burning of the body tears streaming down his face is an excellent piece of acting.
Once the wedding takes place the truth is revealed and Gopi is reprimanded by the family-members, but eventually they realise that Gopi’s actions were in the best interests of the family.
With an outstanding musical score by Raveendran master, lyrics by Kaithaparam Damodaran Namboodiri and meldoious singing by MG Sreekumar,Dr. M. Balamurali Krishna, KS Chitra and Dr. KJ Yesudas the movie was a blockbuster at the box office earning Mohanlal a well deserving Best Actor Award. The movie was scripted by AK Lohitadas and directed by Sibi Malayil. The movie was produced by Mohanlal under the banner of Pranavam Arts.
Do not miss this musical gem!