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Financed by Indian national TV, Aravindan's film is a weird and sometimes wonderful meditation on the realities that may or may not underpin traditional Kathakali theatre. It centres on the climax of the play Keechaka Vadham - where the disguised protagonist Bhima kills the antagonist Keechaka - and posits a bumbling police investigation into the 'crime': was it the character who died or the actor? Or was it something represented by the character? And who actually carried out the killing? Despite helpful captions dividing the film into chapters, most western viewers will be too baffled by the forms of Kathakali itself to unravel these Brechtian complexities. Fortunately, the 'illusion' side of the conundrum is well served by the costumes and choreography of the original play, and so there's plenty to fill the eye.

By: TR

Release details

Cast and crew

Director: G Aravindan
Screenwriter: Kavalam Narayana Panicker
Cast: Urmilla Unni
Sadhanam Krishnan Kutty
Pulluvan Narayanan
Kalamandalam Keshavan