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Shadow Kill

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About the Inititative

Comprehensive list of all titles in the Global Lens collection.

Global Lens 2006
Global Lens 2005
Global Lens 2004/2003

- Angel On The Right
- Khorma
- Mango Yellow
- Margarette's Feast
- Nothing More
- Rachida
- Shadow Kill
- Ticket To Jerusalem
- Women's Prison
- Wretched Lives

 
 

Shadow Kill a film by Adoor Gopalakrishnan

India, 2002 (92 minutes)

Synopsis

The story is set in pre-independence India of the 1940s. In the southern princely state of Travancore (a constituent of present day Kerala), as elsewhere in the country, death by hanging is a prevailing penal practice.

Shadow Kill is the story of a hangman, Kaliyappan. The executioner is unhappy due to the guilt attached to his means of earning income. He realizes that the executions that he often carries out are a result of politics and not justice. To cleanse himself of the guilt, the King issues a pardon in the form of a clemency order, which deliberately arrives a few minutes after the hanging. However, Kaliyappan has no way to absolve himself from the guilt. He takes to drinking and consoles himself by the thought that Goddess Kali makes him carry out her wishes.

With each hanging, the villagers believe the Hangman comes to possess divine powers of healing derived from the Goddess Kali herself, and that the ash made from the hangman's rope is a miracle-medicine. As times change, the hangings grow increasingly few and far between.

One day Kaliyappan receives orders to prepare for another hanging, which is due to take place in a couple of days. Kaliyappan's preparations include rigorous prayers and penance; yet as the day draws closer, he becomes more and more perturbed. Just before the execution, Kaliyappan sits down with his friends for a traditional drink. To pass time, one of them starts telling a story about a young girl who was raped and murdered. As the story proceeds Kaliyappan begins to imagine the young victim to be his own daughter. The overpowering thoughts completely shatter his mental framework and he is unable to perform the execution. The task is then handed over to his son who, despite being an idealist Gandhian follower, has no choice but to execute the orders.

About the Director

One of the leading lights of the New Indian Cinema, Adoor Gopalakrishnan was born in 1941. He started acting on the amateur stage at the age of eight, and, as a student, wrote and directed over twenty plays. After graduating in Political Science and Economics, he joined the Film Institute in Pune in 1962. Equipped with formal training in Script Writing and Direction, he went on to write and direct nine feature films and more than two dozen shorts and documentaries. His first film, Swayamvaram won the national awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Photography, and Best Actress, setting a record of sorts. His film, Kathapurushan also won him the national award for the Best Feature Film in all Indian languages. He has won the national award for Best Director four times, and Best Scriptwriter three times. His films have been shown in Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Rotterdam, and Toronto, and festivals around the world. Adoor's third feature, Elippathayam won him the coveted British Film Institute Award for the most original and imaginative film of 1982. The International Film Critics Prize (FIPRESCI) has gone to him five times successively for Mukhamukham, Anantaram, Mathilukal, Vidheyan and Kathapurushan.

In consideration of his contribution to the Indian cinema, the Indian nation honored him with the title of Padmashri in 1983. His collection of essays, "The World of Cinema" was given the national award for the Best Book on Cinema in 1984. Recently the French Cinematheque in Paris honored him with a full retrospective of his work. Retrospectives, homages and tributes have been held at La Rochelle, Pesaro, Helsinki, New York, Denver, Munich, Nantes, Fribourg, Alexandria, Figuera da Foz, Brussels, Madrid and other major international cities.

 

Principal Cast

Oduvil Unnikrishnan
Sukumari
Reeja
Thara Kalyan
Sunil
Murali
Sivakumar
Jagathy Sreekumar
Nedumudi Venu
Vijayaraghavan
Aliyar
Indrans
Cuckoo Parameswaran
Punnapra Appachan
Ravi Vallathol
Poojappura Radhakrishnan
M. K. Gopalakrishnan
Rachana
Ajayan
Vijayan V. Nair
Jijeev
Sivaji
Sasthamthala Sahadevan
P. C. Soman
Raghoothaman
Dr. P. M. Mathew Velloor
Bandhuprasad
Attukal Thampi
Sajita
Vilasini, Kalady Omana, Leelamani

Crew
Story, Script & Direction:
Production:
Co-production:








Cinematography:
Sound Recording:
Sound Editing:
Ambience & Mixing:
Editing:
Music:
Decor:
Make-up:
Costumes:
Stills:
Production Controller:
Co-ordination:
Set Properties:
Publicity:
Chief Assistant:
Outdoor Unit:
Crane Unit:
Studios:


Laboratory:
Sound Processing Studio:

 

Kaaliyappan, the Hangman
Marakatam, his wife
Mallika, the younger dauaghter
Madhavi the elder daughter
Muthu, the son
Vasu, Madhavi's husband
Mallika's friend
the royal messenger
the story-teller jail-warder
jail warder
jail warder
the barber
the patient
the arrack-shop owner
the landlord
the landlord's aide
the school teacher
Mallika's classmate
one of the loafers
one of the loafers
the errand boy
the Jail superintendent
the jailor
the rest-house attendant
the doctor
the legal expert
the cyclist
customer at the arrack shop
mother of the sick child
ladies at the temple pond


Adoor Gopalakrishnan
Adoor Gopalakrishnan Productions
Artcam International, Paris, with the support of The Fonds Sud Ministere Francaise de la Culture Centre National de la Cinematographie Ministere des Affaires Etrangers, The Hubert Bals Fund of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and The Montecinemaverita Foundation The Swiss Agency For Development and Cooperation The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
Ravi Varma, Sunny Joseph
Harikumar
Harikumar, Dominique Vieillard, Krishnakumar
Dominique Vieillard
Ajith
Ilayaraja
Rateesh Babu
P. N. Mani
Satheesh, S.B.
Razakh Kottakkal
Kettidathil Vijayan
K.N.Shaji
P. Rajasekharan
C.C.Thomas
Sajeev Pillai
Mindscreen, Chennai
Pratap
Archipel, Paris, Chitranjali, Media Today, Prasad Chennai, Kalabhavan Thiruvanathapuram
Prasad Chennai
de L Equipe, Brussels

 
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