wiki:Cheriyachente Kroora Krithyangal

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Cheriyachente Kroora Krithyangal

aka The Wicked Deeds of Cheriyachan, aka The Evil Deeds of Cherian 1979 107’ b&w Malayalam d/s John Abraham pc Janasakthi Films m Johnson c Madhu Ambat lp Adoor Bhasi, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Poornima Jayaram, Abraham Joseph, Venu, Payyannoor Aravindan

Released briefly in 1981, Abraham’s 3rd feature is set in the Kuttanad rice-fields of Kerala, the director’s home province. Cheriyachan (Bhasi) is a typical landlord who feels threatened by industrialisation and by left activists. When he witnesses the police massacring poor peasants, he takes upon himself the guilt of his class, as well as the guilt of the voyeur. He is last seen up a coconut tree trying to keep away from the police. It is Abraham’s achievement that this figure, steeped in the local mix of feudal and Christian traditions, becomes understandable as a frightened victim of history whereas most films would cast him as a one-dimensional villain or a grotesquely comic character. The film is Abraham’s most controlled, opening with a series of sweeping shots on the famed backwaters of the region as it establishes both the strongly realist and quasi-mythic flavour necessary to allow for the transference of economic oppression into the condition of Cheriyachan’s guilt. It also leads the film into a far more contentious aspect of Kerala’s political cinema and literature, addressing the common phenomenon of presenting the responsibility of intervention in highly romanticised and even directly sexualised terms, or in other ways implicating individual responsibility towards history in the voyeuristic, infantile guilt of the passive observer.