wiki:Avanazhi

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Avanazhi

1986 156’ col/scope Malayalam d I.V. Sasi pc Saj Prod. s T. Damodaran c V. Jayaram m Shyam lp Mammootty, Geetha, Nalini, Seema, Captain Raju, Paravoor Bharathan, Thikkurisi Sukumaran Nair, Janardhanan, Jagannath Varma, Sukumaran, Sattar

Sasi’s demented melodrama repeating his theme of corruption in Kerala politics (cf. Eenadu, 1982; Vartha, 1986), and seminal text determining Mammootty’s screen persona. He plays the police inspector Balaram, who is personally honest but not opposed in principle to corruption. Framed for the murder of the student Unni, who died in police custody, Balaram loses his girlfriend Usha (Nalini) and faces the enduring hostility of Unni’s sister Radha (Seema). The film’s key villain is the businessman and politician Vincent, whose partner, the corrupt lawyer Jayachandran, happens to be Usha’s new husband. Completing the key ensemble is the prostitute Seeta (Geetha), who was forced by the bad guys into prostitution and now lives with Balaram. In a relentless series of brutal encounters, personal vendettas merge with political rivalries. In the end, the true killer of the student turns out to be the politically influential murderer Sathyaraj (Captain Raju). Balaram hunts him down, and in the process becomes responsible for the killing of the pregnant Seeta. The most notable aspect of the film is its view of corruption as something that has seeped into every aspect of Kerala society, to a point where even the film is unable to restrict its subject-matter. The hero is presented throughout as essentially unpleasant, who warns Usha not to take up a job as university lecturer, and later refuses to acknowledge having fathered Seeta’s child. The film’s plot in both instances vindicates the hero’s stand (e.g. when Usha is attacked by a student) without making any effort to render it in any way morally palatable. Sasi’s usual alternative is an enormous excess of plot, as the complicated roles of different characters merge and interconnect to the point of vertigo. Like his other films, here too there are no neat endings, as the hero’s arrest (repeating an enhanced version of Don Siegel’s Dirty Harry, 1971) leaves the futures of most of the characters largely unresolved.

Film