Irakal still haunts; selected all-time best screenplay

Master auteur:Film-maker K.G. George.— Photo: H. Vibhu  

Irakal , scripted and directed by auteur K.G. George in the aftermath of the Emergency, bombed at the box office. Only, lovers of art house cinema found the psychological thriller built around a family imploding under the weight of the violence it spawned riveting.

Choice of critics

A good 30 years after its release, the film is now being feted as having the best-ever original screenplay in Malayalam cinema.

Ten critics of note were asked by the Muttathu Varkey Foundation to nominate what they thought were the best 10 original screenplays in Malayalam cinema and Irakal topped the list sent by almost all of them.

Taut screenplay

“Never in the history of Malayalam Cinema has there been another screenplay that is so taut in its structure and so stark in appeal. It offers a gripping visual tale of an entire culture that could not have been told any better. The script is brilliant in carving out a grim reality, while capturing the sparse poetry, poignancy and complexity of human life,” wrote Meena T. Pillai, director of Kerala University’s Centre for Cultural Studies and one of the judges that selected the screenplay for this year’s Muttathu Varkey Award.


The final jury also comprised critics C.S. Venkiteswaran and V.C. Harris.

“The dark days of the Emergency were right behind us; the violent image of Sanjay Gandhi and the family inspired the film,” recalled Mr. George from the recesses of his failing memory.

Actor-turned-politician Ganesh Kumar made his impressive film debut with Irakal , which also had some fine performances by Thilakan and Sreevidya.

While it won Mr. George the State Award for the second best feature film and for the best story, it was never really rated among his best outings until recently.

The award, carrying a wooden statuette, citation and a cash prize of Rs.50,000 will be presented to Mr. George at an event at the Children’s Park Theatre in Ernakulam on May 28.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 10:21:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/irakal-still-haunts-selected-alltime-best-screenplay/article8634884.ece

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