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1991 181’ col Malayalam d Priyadarshan pc Grihalakshmi Prod. s T. Damodaran lyr Kaithapram c S. Kumar m Johnson lp Mohanlal, Jayaram, Revathi, Thikkurisi Sukumaran Nair, Chitra, Soman, Innocent

A Hindu chauvinist film set in contemporary Kerala. Shivaprasad (Mohanlal), disowned by his Brahmin Namboodiri father, becomes a pawn of power-hungry Communists. Having committed several violent crimes at their behest, he is jailed but ‘rewarded’ when the Communists come to power and appoint him chairman of a rich temple trust. The hero’s ‘redemption’ is prepared by presenting his efforts at embezzlement - part of his job’s privileges - as an attempt to finance the recovery of his feudal rights and to restore his now-politically sanitised joint family. However, opposing him are the honest leader of the temple workers, the good administrator Lakshmi (Revathi) who is also his estranged former lover, and Vasu (Jayaram), a reformed ex-accomplice. When the Communists have Vasu murdered, Shivaprasad sees the light and turns into a saffron-clad sanyasi, soon gaining fame as a peace-preaching godman. In this role, he is invited to mediate in a religious dispute over a mosque (a direct reference to the violent attack on the mosque at Ayodhya). His honesty now makes him an enemy of all the political factions in the dispute, who collectively plot to kill him, but he is rescued by his now-repentant former girlfriend, Lakshmi. Shivaprasad then massacres the corrupt politicians and the film ends with him addressing Hindu devotees, asking them to ‘judge’ whether slaughtering one’s opponents is wrong. The film also recalls the heroic and, in Kerala, controversial figure of the former Naxalite Ajitha, who, according to legend would kill landlords and policemen leaving her bloodied palm print on the wall as a signature.