P N Menon, after completing his studies at Trichur School of Art, worked in various levels in Madras film industry, like painter of sets, visual artist and poster designer, before taking up direction. His first major film Olavum Theeravum (1969) helped to a great extent the cinema of Malayalam to liberate from the clutches of stage drama. This film could be considered as the first sign of the radical changes to come in Malayalam cinema. Some of his other major films are Kuttiyedathi (1971), Mappusakshi (1971) and Malamukalile Daivam (1983).
Olavum Theeravum - 1969
Produced by P A Backer, who later turned director, Olavum Theeravum is often considered as the first sign of the arrival of the new wave moment in Kerala. Olavum Theeravum broke Malayalam cinema traditions, the cinema confined to artificial looking sets and stage drama type presentation, by extensively using outdoor locations. M T Vasudevan Nair's script and dialogues evoking local accents too was something unusual to Malayalam cinema.
Bapputti, a Muslim trader, is in love with Nabisa tries hard to earn money in order to have a comfortable married life. However, when a rich stranger Kunjali arrives, Nabisa's money grabbing mother forces her to marry him. The film ends with Nabisa committing suicide, when Bapputti is rejected by her family.
Olavum Theeravum won the State award for best film.
Direction: P N Menon
Malamukalile Daivam - 1983
The film is set in a tribal village at the foot of the Banasura Mountains in Kerala. Religious superstition and ignorance maintain stasis in the village. A relatively intelligent boy escapes its oppressive confines and later returns, determined to bring enlightenment to the village.
Direction: P N Menon
Nerkku Nere - 2004
Thampi, the ageing sire of a feudal family and his wife Malathi, had seen better days before the Land Reforms and the sweeping changes that followed in the social setup which transformed their lives. They now lead a spartan life, often raising resources by selling sundry assets or mortgaging land. Even then, they find it tough, to live up to their image of affluence, and generosity. One day under the influence of liquor, Thampi molests a village girl. Her husband and brother avenge this by killing Thampi. This turns Malathi's life topsy-turvy leading to several complications in her relationship with the outside world. Finally, she takes a strong decision, which frees everyone from the trauma of a strained reputation.
Direction & Screenplay: P N Menon