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Thanthram poster.png
Poster designed by Gayathri Ashokan
Directed by Joshiy
Written by Dennis Joseph
Story by P. F. Mathews
Produced byMathew George
Starring Mammootty
Jagannatha Varma
Cinematography Jayanan Vincent
Edited byK. Sankunny
Music by Shyam
Central Productions
Distributed byCentral Productions
Release date
  • 25 August 1988 (1988-08-25)

Thanthram (transl.Artifice) is a 1988 Indian Malayalam-language drama film, directed by Joshiy and produced by Mathew George. The film stars Mammootty, Urvashi, KPAC Lalitha and P. C. George. [1] The film was remade in Telugu as Chettu Kinda Pleader (1989).[ citation needed ]



The film start with James (Ratheesh), a wealthy businessman driving back home on Christmas Eve. He notices a pursuing van and speeds to escape, but is blocked by a set of vehicles which finally pushes the car to a lake. His wife Susanna (Urvashi) and a young son, Rony is shocked to hear the news. As Susanna was an orphan, the only assistance that Susanna gets is from family friends Antony (Azeez) and his wife, Mary (K.P.A.C. Lalitha)

During the funeral, James' estranged father Puthenpurackal Kurien Joseph (Jagannatha Varma) and brother David arrives. The family seems to make amends with Susanna, but is more interested in James's wealth. While Antony tries to help Susanna to introduce to the plantation business, Kurien and David wants a power of attorney to run the business for themselves. Following a confrontation, the family files a lawsuit against Susanna, claiming her marriage to James is invalid, hence Susanna and her child are not entitled to James' wealth. Soosanna also is threatened by goons chasing her car.

Receiving no help from anyone, a helpless Susanna by chance encounters George Korah Vettickal (Mammootty), an advocate. He is an old fashioned man dropped out halfway through priesthood studies from Catholic seminary. He is addicted to sniffing tobacco powder. He is an unsuccessful lawyer often running into trouble with dissatisfied clients. He is often guarded by trusted assistant, Appukkuttan Pillai (Kunchan). Susanna hires George to defend her case after James's friend and lawyer Adv. Rajasekharan (Janardanan) refuses to represent her citing his relationship with Kurien. George, as advised by Pillai decides to take financial advantage of Susanna asking for 2% of total assets for representing her in what appears to be a straightforward case.

However the circumstances become complicated when the church's wedding register is missing entry of James and Susanna's wedding in April 1981. Susanna along with George and Pillai visits Father Gabriel, who ordained the wedding. However elderly priests fails to help them as he is suffering from Dementia. On the way back, they are attacked by four goons who beats up George and Pillai. On visiting him at the hospital, George informs Susanna that he is refuse to undertake the case. But George is beaten by goons twice again and threatened against working on Susanna's case. Following this, a determined George decides to proceed with the case. He moves in on James's bungalow as his office is destroyed.

Kurien further established that Susanna was arrested in February 1981 for prostitution, was admitted to a rescue home and was also a psychiatric patient. Kurien manages to convince the parish vicar of this by producing a Police officer, rescue home warden and psychologist. This further disappoints George as Susanna concealed all this from him. Susanna reveals her past to George. A young Susanna, an orphan trained in accounting attends a job interview in James' company. James traps and rapes Susanna. She is mistakenly arrested for prostitution by the commissioner of Police and is sentenced to 18 days in rescue shelter. She ends up on the street mentally shocked. A repentant James finds her, gets her treated and marries her.

Convinced of the narrative, George resumes his work. They accidentally finds their wedding video tape where George identifies one of the goons who attacked him. He further discovers that the business manager Unnikrishnan is collaborating with somebody else. He also confronts the church clerk who erased the wedding records and recovers the records. He traps and beats up two of the goons who attacked him.

George, not only establishes the wedding in the court but also files a private suit claiming James was murdered. The police, after investigation arrests Kurien and David. He further reveals that Kurien Joseph is James' step father with witnesses from the past. James also believed Kurien murdered his father John Varghese, married his mother and captured all family assets. Manager, Unnikrishnan testifies that James rejected pleas of financial help by Kurien and David. Just before his death, James had an altercation with Kurien and David. James's ex-assistant Peter testifies witnessing Kurien and goons murdering James. The court finds Kurien guilty. The court will be postpone the sentencing to the next day.

Kurien on a last ditch attempt, attacks Susanna and Antony on the way back home. Antony is stabbed to death. George arrives just in time to save Susanna and Rony. Kurien is killed when his car plunges into a mountain ditch during the fight.



The film was released on 25 August 1988.

Box office

The film was commercial success. [2]


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  1. "Thanthram". Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  2. "Malayalam screenwriter-director Dennis Joseph passes away". The Indian Express. 10 May 2021.