Padmarajan’s Clara – Part II

[ This post is the second of a two-part post that tries to explain how Clara (from the movie Thoovaanathumpikal by Padmarajan) stands out as one of the most powerful woman characters of Malayalam cinema. The first part is here. ]


[Continued from here]

Clara begins to give shock treatments to Jayakrishnan’s ego from the night they first make love. She tells him that she already knew that Jayakrishnan was not whom he pretended to be. Perhaps it did not matter to her whether ‘He’ is a Jayakrishnan or a Punnoose as she is all prepared to see more of such faces in her life to come. But she is amused by Jayakrishnan’s honesty in love when he proposes to her. She could easily say “yes” to him, but she doesn’t say that. Here she leaves it for us to guess. Is it because she thought that it could be just a result of their physical union? Or is it because she thought that she wouldn’t fit into Jayakrishnan’s world, considering his social and family status? Or is it because she was ambitious and did not want to end up with the role of a mistress at that time? It could be either one of these or all. We don’t know.

Clara leaves the place in silence, in the next morning when Jayakrishnan is not around. She doesn’t want to stay even after Jayakrishnan says that his proposal was not prompted by previous night’s boozing and he is serious about it. We see a shattered Jayakrishnan standing in the empty hotel room after he realizes that Clara has left. He just lost the first woman he ever loved, had sex with, whom he wanted to make his partner for life. At this moment, Clara becomes the most complex and over-powering character of the film than Jayakrishnan.

After some days, Jayakrishnan receives a telegram message from Clara. There is rain in the backdrop which reminds him of Clara. The message says that Clara is coming to town and would like to meet him. By this time Jayakrishnan had fallen in love with another woman – Radha – who is a modern and educated girl. Even though his love for Radha has grown stronger, nothing can stop Jayakrishnan from meeting Clara. So he meets her in the railway station in an early morning, they take a walk around the town and spends a night together. Clara is a little sentimental this time.

When they search for a place to stay, she says that she is fed up of walls – of the rooms in the different houses, trains etc. This time she doesn’t hide her feelings for Jayakrishnan as she says that she wished that Jayakrishnan would propose to her again. “What would you say if I asked?” he asks. “but you didn’t ask“. She says with a painful smile. She also notes that this time their conversation was mainly about Radha. But Jayakrishnan gets upset as he glances through her purse and seeing the visiting cards of her clients. A possessive Jayakrishnan asks more and more questions about her clients. On her way back, Jayakrishnan notes with surprise that there is no rain this time. Clara asks Jayakrishnan that Radha shouldn’t know about their meeting. This meeting shows that Clara loves Jayakrishnan but still do not want to mess up his life and she also cares for Radha, Jayakrishnan’s fiancee.

Their last meeting is just before fixing Jayakrishnan’s marriage with Radha. Radha asks Jayakrishnan to not meet Clara. But his helplessness shows when he says, “I can promise about anyone else, but when it comes to this girl, I don’t know what I will do“. Just one word from Clara would be enough for Jayakrishnan to accept her forever even after her prostitution days. He even would be ready to forget his love for Radha to accept Clara. But in the railway station we see that Clara has been married to a widower (who used to be her regular client) and carrying a child with her. She whispers to Jayakrishnan that she had to do something to save both of them from making their lives miserable. They both knew it was going to be their last meeting as Clara had told earlier that they would never meet again after Jayakrishnan’s marriage. At the end of the movie, we see a sad, but relieved Jayakrishnan.

Clara stands tall with her smile in front of the Malayali male who keeps the daylight morality. An ambitious young girl who ends up in prostitution, but still does not surrender herself in relationships. A seducer who doesn’t want to throw up the lives of those who get seduced to her. A lovergirl who cares for her lover so much so that she is even ready to give up her love. Above all, an independent woman who tells the world aloud that she doesn’t need it’s help to live and to stand on her own. I believe there is no such powerful woman character created in Malayalam cinema like Clara. And only a magician like Padmarajan could give life to such a character.