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Directed by Sathyan Anthikkad
Screenplay by Venu Nagavally
Based onEthir Katru
by Subha
Produced bySuriya Chandralal
Starring Mammootty
CinematographyVipin Mohan
Edited byK. Rajagopal
Music by Johnson
Chanthu Films
Distributed byMudra Arts
Release date
  • 28 July 1989 (1989-07-28)
Running time
135 minutes

Artham (transl.The Meaning) is a 1989 Indian Malayalam-language crime film directed by Sathyan Anthikkad and written by Venu Nagavally. It stars Mammootty, Sreenivasan, Murali, Saranya, in lead roles along with Parvathy, Mamukkoya, Philomina, Mohan Raj, Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair, Sukumari, Jagannatha Varma, and Oduvil Unnikrishnan in other pivotal roles. Jayaram plays a cameo role. The music was composed by Johnson.


The film is an adaptation of the Tamil detective novel Ethir Katru by Subha. The story revolves around a loner and award-winning novelist Ben Narendran (Mammootty) who seeks revenge against the forces who murdered his dear friend Janardanan (Jayaram). Joining in Narendran's aid are journalist Manasa (Saranya) and Advocate P. S. Nenmara (Sreenivasan). It was also later adapted in Tamil cinema as Ethir Kaatru (1990).


The movie starts with a loner named Ben Narendran writing a suicide note. He mentions that he is committing suicide as he has nothing to do with his life. He chooses to jump in front of the train to perform the act. He waits for the train but ends up saving another young man named Janardanan who has the same intention. Janardanan has committed a murder out of desperation and is scared of revenge. Narendran consoles him and offers to take the blame of the murder so that Janardanan can live freely.

Narendran gets sentenced to lifetime imprisonment. While in jail, he writes a book [Sharanalayam] under the pen name "Ben" which becomes immensely popular. He is also given an award by the state, but his true identity is never revealed. Journalist Manasa discovers that the author is behind bars and tries to get a parole for him. Though Narendran is not initially interested, he eventually applies for parole and is granted 28 days of parole so that he can receive the award in person.

Once out of jail, Narendran gets word that Janardanan has died mysteriously. He sets out on a mission to find the culprits and destroy those who caused his death.



Lyrics by Kaithapram.

Box office

The film was one of the biggest hits of 1989. [1] [2]

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  1. "Mammootty-Sathyan Anthikkad: A Hugely Underrated Pair!". Filmibeat . 21 June 2016.
  2. "Hittukalude Katha - Artham - Mammootty Sathyan Anthikad". 15 June 2016. Archived from the original on 15 December 2021.