NIZHALKUTHU (Shadow Kill) Adoor Gopalakrishnan

Adoor Gopalakrishnan
India. 2002.90 min
Cast : Oduvil Unnikrishnan, Sukumari

The plot is set in the 1940s in a village of Travancore, British India. Kaliyappan, the last hangman of Travancore dynasty is dragging his remaining life by consuming alcohol and worshipping the Mother Goddess. The reason for this self-destruction is the remorse born out of the feeling that the last man he hanged was an innocent.

While pulling on his life by boozing, worshiping the Goddess and treating ailing people with the ash obtained by burning the hanging rope, one day the King’s messenger once again arrives with the King’s order of appointing him for executing a convict termed as ‘a killer, proved beyond doubt’. He leaves to the jail with his Gandhian, freedom fighter son to assist him in his job.

As a tradition, the hangman has to spend the eve of the execution awake. When alcohol fails to keep Kaliyappan awake, the jailer starts telling a ‘spicy tale’ to keep him awake, the tale of a 13-year-old girl raped and killed by her own brother-in-law and an innocent musician boy convicted for this charge.

When Kaliyappan comes to know the condemned person he is about to hang is that very same musician boy, he breaks down.