Mathilukal (1990) Poster


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Adoor at his best
jinson_cme16 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Adoor Gopalakrishnan weaves magic as he spells out the story of a man in jail. The story follows him and all that happen to him as he meets a woman on the other side of the wall separating their jails (men and women). Neither has seen each other, nor do they know much about the other, but they end up gaining a connection although separated by the wall.

Mammooty plays to perfection the role of a man in jail. His expressions, his friends, his good nature, all perfectly. The symbolism of the tale is excellent. The wall symbolizes both unity and separation. It is only through the wall that two people met. yet, it is that same wall that keeps them apart. Characterization is key and the ending is open and for you to decide what will happen.

All i can say is :"Mastery of storytelling"
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Excellent, Elegant, and Beautiful....
Sam Rupani (rupanisp)26 January 2003
His Divine Grace Very Great and Honorable Mr. Adoor Gopalakrishnan has an art of its own.

I saw His Divine Grace for first time in Houston International Film Festival in year 2000.

We watched the movie at Houston Museum of Fine Arts with a audience of less than 50.

It is really a work of art...

I would request His Divine Grace to consider making something for rich people... like "Music Room" by His Divine Grace Late Satyajit Ray...

His Divine Grace is in press this week -- India Today.

I still believe His Divine Grace deserve more attention than he is getting in Bombay and New Delhi...

Good Luck.

Thanks and Regards.
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Love story of prisoner, who couldn't see whom he loved
patil_umesh6 February 2017
This film is unique because for its style. Even though it is a romantic love story, actress or female character does not appears in film till the end! Isn't this fantastic concept? This is one of the well admired artwork by Adoor Gopalkrishnan. The protagonist is a prisoner and falls in love with a woman locked on other side of a wall. Film is based on few years spent by Malayalam writer VM Basheer in prison. It is cinematic art on his Autobiography. He wrote stories, novels during his stay in prison.

Film opens doors of prison during pre-independent time, and reveal life of prisoners. How it was miserable. They were served food, locked into their room. People spent their years in life gossiping, smoking, walking to and fro. They even lost of count of days spent in prison. Suddenly after long time, they used to get release orders. Protagonist was brought in jail for his civil disobedience against British raj. He has been locked up for more than four years. He was well respected by all prison administrators. Stories by him well received and admired by all. He was supported to write by providing pen and paper regularly,. Few jailers also gave him cigarettes to smoke. Prison chef gave him tea, sugar, so he could prepare tea for himself

Films by Adoor sir have charm of music that expresses emotions of loneliness, hope. One story told by a prisoner is very touching. Film implicitly expresses destiny, hope.

Climax of film is very touching. Basheer won't be able to meet the woman with whom he is talking and fell in love with, because he is released.
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It is sad to learn that 'Mathilukal' has remained just too regional in its approach.
FilmCriticLalitRao16 December 2015
Cinema is an absolutely fantastic medium to reveal a new literature,a new author or a new vision.It is from this point of view one must consider Malayalam language film 'Mathilukal'-A feature film directed by Kerala's most famous director Adoor Gopalakrishnan which had some success in the west especially in some big as well as small film festivals.There is also a book of the same name written by one of Kerala's acclaimed writers V.M.Basheer.It is nice to learn that the film is not a direct copy of the book.This has helped in retaining its original charm as director Adoor Gopalakrishnan chose to integrate his own personal vision to the project.In many ways,he has succeeded in deserving the success but there are many instances where this film lacks seriousness and fails to convey anything substantial.By casting Mammootty to play the role of Basheer,Adoor achieved an artistic coup of sorts as the actor has massive fan following.However,the presentation of the film leaves a lot to be desired especially in the manner comedy has been infused through the film.This is a big disappointment as it robs the film of conveying its message in a poetic manner.
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A prison sojourn without drama
Norman Brenner16 May 2003
In 1942, Basheer, a noted writer in Kerala, South India, was imprisoned by the British Government for "treason", i.e. advocating the exit of the British. Sentenced to 2-1/2 years, he was released early by an amnesty. This movie depicts his months within the prison walls.

And how lacking in incident or interest those months were! Mostly he passes the time smoking, walking about the yard, growing roses, scribbling, and talking with the other prisoners. (The politicals wear white hats, the murderers red, and all others black.) Everyone has heard of him, and he is cheerful to everyone, occasionally offering spiritual advice (like admonishing a guard for stealing his petty property). He is given small presents by the guards and other prisoners--cigarettes, tea, dried fish, writing paper. He meets an old classmate, who was whipped and shackled for petty disobedience, but this is the worst brutality he encounters. His political conversations are equally shallow, consisting mostly of gossip about "Gandhiji", and singing anthems. It is never revealed what he is writing in prison, though his guards request autographed copies of it when it is published. (Other prison writings have included Marco Polo's Travels, Don Quixote, and Mein Kampf, but nothing of that caliber appears here.) When all political prisoners except Basheer are amnestied, he goes into a bit of a funk, but perks up by having bland conversations with an unseen female prisoner beyond the wall in the women's cells. Just before he can meet her by faking illness, he is suddenly released.

Now, drama is built on conflict; but all the conflict in this film is offstage. Basheer is played by Mammootty, an immensely popular Indian actor (almost 300 films!), who has the easy charm of George Clooney, as well as his physical presence. (The latter jars when he speaks of having frequently known hunger.) Other than his old schoolmate, no other character even has a backstory beyond the name of the crime they were sent in for. Perhaps the roses were symbolic, perhaps the wall that blocked his view of the women. But I found very little mental or emotional nourishment to feed on in this movie.
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