21 April 2014 | sreenathansaber
A Doctrine on Violence
Irakal (The Victims) is a 1985(IMDB misrepresents it as 1986) film directed by K G George and has been produced by veteran actor Sukumaran.
George's films like Kolangal, Yavanika, Mela, Adaminte Variyellu, Panchavadippaalam and Ulkkadal are considered some of the best Malayalam films ever. Irakal too is equally significant. As the title suggests, the film bears an indirect reference to the turbulent political scenario following the assassination of Prime minister Indira Gandhi and the subsequent inhuman Sikh massacres. The film investigates into this victimization of violence in the society.
Ganesh Kumar plays the protagonist 'Baby', an engineering student and the son of a wealthy high-range landlord in Kottayam. After being expelled from college for cruelly ragging a junior student, Baby returns to his family home and reluctantly spends his days wandering in the estate and smoking opium. He despises and fears his patriarchal father (Thilakan)and fails to establish relations with his two brothers and highly religious mother. P.C.George and Sukumaran plays his two elder brothers Koshy and Sunny. While the first one is an unscrupulous usurper much like his father, Sukumaran longs to detach himself from his patriarchal father and start a new business in the city-much to the disapproval of his father.
Bharath Gopi, Venu Nagavalli and Nedumudi Venu appear in small but powerful roles. While Gopi plays a pious priest, Nagavalli appears as the suitor of Nirmala(Radha), a poor tenant girl on whom Baby has a possessive infatuation. Nedumudi is the husband of Annie(Sreevidya), Baby's daughter. Innocent, Chandran Nair and Shammi Thilakan too appear in the cast.
Ashokan, a talented actor introduced by P. Padmarajan in his 'Peruvazhiyambalam' plays a strong character ,Raghavan through whom baby's character gets unraveled. It is to this character that Baby tries to open his mind at times, at least partially, and gives a narrow glimpse of his dark, brooding mind to the audience.When he says to Raghavan that,"Everybody lies to everybody else" in his house or "I don't like things offered, I relish in usurping from others", we get the portrait of a restless young man who is a victim of his own life.
M.B.Sreenivasan's background music and Venu's camera are the highlights of the movie. Backed by a strong script by the director himself, Irakal continues to be one among the best work of George even three decades after its inception. Thilakan narrowly missed the National Award of the year for his performance in the film. But it won two state awards for second best film and best story.It was a financial disaster at the theaters and Sukumaran went on to produce 'Padayani' a commercially successful film to meet up the losses.
From a different perspective, the film also can be seen as a monologue on fascism and violence perpetrated by Nation-state on the individuals. The period during which the film is set and the numerous opium driven/surrealist scenes in the film hides some very explicit arguments on the after effects of Tyranny/Fascism. I think that a more Political/historical reading would provide much more insights into the movie.
A cult-Malayalam art house movie!! 8 stars