Balan, the second talkie in Malayalam was based on the short story “Vidhiyum Mrs. Nayarum (Fate and Mrs Nair)” by A. Sundaram and was released in 1938. Directed by S. Nottani, the movie was the first commercially successful film. It explored the strained relationship between two motherless children (Balan and Sarsa) and their cruel step mother Meenakshi.
Balan was the third feature film. The first poster of Balan read thus Malayalathileadyathe social padamvegamvarunnu (The first social film in Malayalam to come out soon). Unlike Hindi and Tamil movies which delved on mythological themes, Malayalam industry centred around social issues. The abuse and exploitation that the children face at the hands of their stepmother, the death of their father Govindan Nair which escalates the drama makes the audience go through a labyrinth of emotions. The children go through a grueling time after their father’s death and the harsh treatment meted out towards them by their stepmother only heightens as the days pass by. K. K. Aroor acted as Balan while M.K Kamalam donned the role of Sarasu.
The screenplay and dialogues of the movie was by Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai while the camera was handled by German cinematographer Bado Gushwalker. The movie had Varghese as its editor while it was produced by T. R. Sundaram of Modern Theatres, Salem. K. K. Aroor and Ibrahim composed the music of the film. The film had a total of 23 songs.