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1990 141’ col Malayalam d Ajayan pc Bhavachitra s M.T. Vasudevan Nair c Santosh Sivan m Johnson lp Thilakan, Prashant, Monisha, Nedumudi Venu, Manoj K. Jayan

Noted Malayalam author Nair skilfully elaborates a minor Puranic legend from Kerala into a complex tale of violent customs, parenthood in crisis and professional rivalries. Raman (Thilakan), the ‘perunthachan’ or chief carpenter/architect in Kerala’s feudal system, is the most accomplished craftsman of his time until his son Kannan Vishwakarman (Prashant) surpasses his father’s skill and fame. Kannan also dares to fall for the daughter (Manisha) of his father’s chief Namboodiri (Brahmin) patron and friend (Venu). Hurt and angered by his son’s success and consequent arrogance, Raman ‘accidentally’ drops a chisel and kills his son. The murder is presented as a question to viewers: was it the father’s honourable defence of traditional values that caused him to kill his son, or merely envy? Ajayan’s debut film shows him to be a fine director of actors.