Irakal (transl. Victims) is a 1985 Indian Malayalam-language psychological thriller film written and directed by K. G. George and produced by Sukumaran. The film stars K. B. Ganesh Kumar, Thilakan, Sukumaran, Ashokan, and Radha. The film won two Kerala State Film Awards—Second Best Film and Best Story. Irakal is considered as the first dark movie in Malayalam and is regarded as a classic movie by George.
|Directed by||K. G. George|
|Written by||K. G. George|
|Music by||M. B. Sreenivasan|
|Edited by||M. N. Appu|
|Distributed by||Gandhimathi Release|
A ruthless, Syrian Christian rubber baron, Mathews aka Mathukutty, builds an empire, through business acumen and greasing palms of cops and labour union leaders. His business includes marijuana and hooch. His sons Koshy, who is the second-in-commands in his business and illegal activities, is equally ruthless and violent. His second son Sunny is an alcoholic, but a normal guy struggling to get out of his father's stranglehold; he rebels once a while, but incompetent and lazy to go his own way. Mathukutty's only daughter, Annie, is a nymphomaniac, who has no feelings for her husband Andrews or daughter. Her husband is fed up of her wayward lifestyle. Annie comes to live with her maternal family every month, in the pretence of some fight with her husband, so that she can sleep with Mathukutty's henchman and rubber employee, Unnunni. Mathukutty and Koshy are not aware of Annie's wayward lifestyle, and think their son-in-law is unduly suspicious by nature. They mince no words while chastising Annie's husband for being the guilty party in the marriage; Koshy even roughs him up, when Andrews refuses to come for a reconciliation meeting.
Mathukkutty's youngest son, Baby, is an engineering student. At college, he fantasises about murder and gushing blood. He shows early signs of antisocial behaviors which manifests itself when ragging a junior (freshman). He strangles a junior student with an electric wire. Baby is suspended from the college and returns home. The junior student is admitted to hospital in a serious condition. His family gets to know of the incident through a newspaper article and dismiss it as a ragging incident gone bad. Baby always keeps the electric wire in his bag as a memento of the incident. Baby is a marijuana addict and he shows no alarming outward symptoms of his mental illness. His uncle Bishop senses something wrong with his nephew and cannot get through him.
Baby observes Annie's affair with Unnunni, who is later found dead (possibly murdered by Baby). Baby has violent dreams, constantly plays with his father's rifle, and imagines murdering Annie, multiple times, using his electric wire and the gun. He likes Nirmala, a village girl from a poor family. Nirmala, a young teenager, keeps him interested, and even makes love to him under the shade of coffee shrubs in broad daylight. However she is a practical girl. She enjoys seducing the rich kid and has no intention of marrying him as she is aware of the caste and class divide between them.
Her marriage is fixed with a local shop-owner, Balan. Baby silently watches her talking to Balan, and later kills Balan by strangling him with his preferred weapon, the electric wire. The murder goes unsolved as Baby removes money from the shop making it look like a robbery gone bad. Nirmala believes that Baby is behind Balan's death, and confronts him when they meet at the river. Baby tries to kill her as well, but Nirmala escapes without knowing his intention. Nirmala's mother fixes her wedding to Raghavan, a rubber tapper and Baby's friend. Baby tries to strangle Raghavan too, but fails in his attempt. Raghavan sees Baby's face when the mask he was wearing comes out and reports it to the police. The cops start searching for Baby, who goes into hiding. While his family tries to find him, he suddenly appears with a revolver. He shoots at Koshy who confronts him and shoots at his father too when he shouts at him to stop. Mathukutty escapes the shot, but Koshy is hit though not fatally. While the scuffle is going on, Baby is shot dead by Mathukkutty, using his rifle. His family in pursuit of making money did not realise the animal and danger he is becoming through avoidance to the society and to them.
- K. B. Ganesh Kumar as Baby Mathews
- Thilakan as Mathews / Mathukutty
- P. C. George (actor) as Koshy Mathews
- Sukumaran as Sunny Mathews
- Srividya as Annie
- Nedumudi Venu as Andrews, Annie's husband
- Radha as Nirmala
- Venu Nagavally as Balan
- Ashokan as Raghavan
- Innocent as Aniyan Pillai
- Bharath Gopi as the Bishop
- Azeez as Ramakrishnan, the police inspector
- Chandran Nair
- Mohan Jose as Unnunni
- Kannur Sreelatha as Sunny's wife
- Shammi Thilakan as Baby's classmate
- Sabu Oommen as Gopan
The film is an in-depth exploration of the psychology of violence. The film's theme in undertones depicted political conditions of the country during that time including The Emergency. Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay Gandhi is symbolically presented by Thilakan and Ganesh respectively in the film, though George didn't say it directly. Film critic K. B. Venu noted similarity between the film's story and the Koodathayi Cyanide Murders case. Some consider Irakal as the first dark movie in Malayalam and is regarded as one of the best works of George. Certain critics cite the 2021 film Joji could have taken inspiration from this film with regards to theme.
The film won four Kerala State Film Awards for Second Best Film, Second Best Actress for Sreevidya and Second Best Actor for Thilakan.Best Story for K. G. George. In 2016, George was awarded the Muttathu Varkey Award for writing the screenplay of the film. It was for the first time in the history of the prestigious award that a screenplay was chosen to be awarded.
- "Irakal". www.malayalachalachithram.com. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "Irakal". malayalasangeetham.info. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "From 'Sadayam' to 'Kaiyoppu': 10 Malayalam films that flopped but have a cult status". The News Minute. 12 September 2017. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
- Kamalanayanan, Sreejith (17 September 2016). "Honour for an influential filmmaker". Friday Mania. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
- Menon, Neelima (10 April 2021). "'Joji' and 'Irakal': Alike in theme, different in tone". thenewsminute. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 November 2009. Retrieved 19 February 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "MUTTATHU VARKEY AWARD". The Hindu. 29 May 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2017.