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1993 187’ col/scope Malayalam d I.V. Sasi pc Anugraha Cine Arts p V.B.K. Menon s Renjith lyr Girish Puthencheri c V. Jayaram m M.G. Radhakrishnan lp Mohanlal, Revathi, Innocent, Nedumudi Venu, Chitra, Napoleon

A film about a ‘good’ villain exemplifying and celebrating contemporary Hindu chauvinist brutalism. Mangalassery Neelakandan (Mohanlal) is a drunk, a womaniser and the wealthy boss of a band of thugs available for disrupting public events. However, he is presented as essentially decent, donating money to a local temple and patronising classical music. His ‘weaknesses’ are not his fault but the unfortunate consequences of ‘modern times’ and the regrettable decaying of feudalism. Halfway through the film, he is paralysed following some unusually violent scenes, but nursed to recovery by a Bharat Natyam dancer, Bhanu (Revathi), whose career he had ruined earlier. Her action demonstrates the redemptive powers of tradition and the hero can now do the right thing in the film’s climax: in an orgy of violence at a temple festival, the restored hero is able to reassert his righteous manhood by battering his rivals into submission.