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Shadow Kill (2002) More at IMDbPro »Nizhalkkuthu (original title)


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Release Date:
5 November 2003 (France) See more »
7 wins & 4 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
An excellent film about attitude towards work See more (3 total) »


  (in credits order)
Oduvil Unnikrishnan ... Kaliyappan the executioner
Sukumari ... Marakatam, his wife
Reeja ... Mallika, the younger daughter
Thara Kalyan ... Madhavy, the older daughter
Murali ... Vasu, Madhavy's Husband
Sivakumar ... Mallika's Lover
Narein ... Muthu, Kaliyappan's son (as Sunil)
Nedumudi Venu ... Jailer
Vijayaraghavan ... Jailer
Jagathi Sreekumar ... Maharajah's Officer
Indrans ... Barber
Kukku Parameshwaram ... Woman seeking treatment in Kaliyappan
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Directed by
Adoor Gopalakrishnan 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Adoor Gopalakrishnan 

Produced by
Joël Farges .... co-producer
Adoor Gopalakrishnan .... producer
Elise Jalladeau .... producer
Original Music by
Cinematography by
Sunny Joseph 
S. Ravi Varman  (as Ravi Varma)
Film Editing by
Production Design by
Ratheesh Babu 
Adoor Gopalakrishnan 
Costume Design by
Satheesh S.B. 
Makeup Department
P.N. Mani .... makeup artist
Sound Department
Jonathan Liebling .... foley artist
Fabrice Naud .... sound editor
Dominique Vieillard .... sound editor
Dominique Vieillard .... sound re-recording mixer
Dominique Vieillard .... sound

Production CompaniesDistributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Nizhalkkuthu" - India (original title)
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90 min
Switzerland:12 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:12 (canton of Vaud)


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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
An excellent film about attitude towards work, 18 June 2009
Author: vnblues from United States

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The film is beautifully taken and provides glimpses of life in the old days during the Maharaja's rule in Travancore. But more than that, it shows how a man struggles because he takes everything extremely personally.

It is evident from the language used that the hangman and his family are originally from the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. From a sociological perspective I thought it interesting that the Maharaja had to hire someone from a neighbouring state for this dreadful job. Everyone involved, right from the Maharaja to the hangman, are aware that at some level it is a sin and they try to absolve themselves of this sin in their own ways - the Maharaja by granting pardons and the hangman by performing numerous rituals.

The crux of the story however is the attitude towards duty. The hangman cannot separate the professional from the personal. He is always troubled by his past executions. On the night before the execution when an official is narrating a story, in his mind he pictures his own family. So personally does he take it, that he cannot go ahead with the execution knowing that he is going to kill an innocent boy. Contrary to this, the son - the non-violent Gandhian - calmly goes ahead with the execution.

Great film.

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