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1982 181’ col/scope Malayalam d I.V. Sasi pc Geo Movie Prod. p N.G. John s T. Damodaran lyr Yusuf Ali Kacheri c S.S. Chandramohan, C.E. Babu m Shyam lp Mammootty, Balan K. Nair, T.G. Ravi, Ratheesh, Anjali, Surekha, Vanitha, Krishnachandran

Sasi’s opus about Kerala politics. Karunakaran (Ravi), the corrupt Congress politician, and Venu (Ratheesh), a member of the Legislative Assembly, run a major nexus of crime with the assistance of the police and state bureaucracy. Karunakaran’s son, a student gangster, tries to rape the girlfriend of his colleague Shashi in the college, leading to her suicide. In order to defeat their Left opponents, the corrupt politicians engineer the mass distribution of adulterated liquor, causing large-scale deaths. Eventually Salim (Mammootty), a Dubai- returned youth impoverished by prevalent conditions, leads a revolution, along with Krishna Pillai (Balan K. Nair), the good trade unionist/politician and a reference to the Kerala CPI leader P. Krishna Pillai. The people are successful, however, only because Karunakaran’s wife Sridevi offers evidence of her husband’s murderous activities. From the titles, which are intercut with a CPI(M) march, to the final confrontation as Venu is forced by the people to withdraw his bid for the chief minister’s post, the film unabashedly locates the villains as representing the corrupt Congress governments that have ruled the state. The good, on the other hand, become politicised in support of the Left for a variety of reasons that include religious, caste and economic oppression. Much of the plot makes direct reference to contemporary events, including the notorious ‘blade’ finance companies and the liquor deaths, that have been (with the corruption) key issues in Kerala politics. The film packs in a massive number of characters in a variety of situations including politicial meetings, backdoor bargaining, press conferences and the inevitable drinking sessions, which it usually wraps up with a few fast-paced talking heads shots, with the demagoguery underlined by a relentless music track.