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aka Birth 1988 110’ col Malayalam d/co-sc Shaji N. Karun pc Filmfolk co-sc/st S. Jayachandran Nair co-sc Raghu c Sunny Joseph m Mohan Sitara, Aravindan lp Premji, Archana, Lakshmiamma, C.V. Sriraman, Mullenezhi, Chandran Nair

A visually engrossing yet austere directorial debut by Kerala’s leading cinematographer. The plot is taken from actuality and concerns a frail but dogged old man, Chakyar (Premji), who obsessively searches for his vanished son, Raghu, venturing even into bewildering Trivandrum to seek an audience with the Home Minister. The man’s daughter learns that her brother probably died in police custody after being tortured, but she cannot bear to tell her father who continues to hope and to search. However, the old man’s grip on reality is slipping fast and he begins dreaming that his son is with him. The story is based on the disappearance of Rajan, a Naxalite sympathiser, during the Emergency. Rajan’s father later sued the Congress-I Government. The film’s force comes from its skilful orchestration of time and space into fascinating rhythmical patterns interacting with land and cityscapes, drawing the viewer into the father’s obsessive search in everyday, indifferent surroundings. It is also highly mystical, and deflects a major real-life incident with direct political repercussions into a brand of orientalist fatalism.