A CLIMATE FOR CRIME
Oru Pennum Randaanum

Festivals:

Rotterdam, Washington DC, Houston, New Jersey, Fribourg, Madrid, Rome, Split, Dubai, Tampa, Mumbai, Goa, Brasilia, Sao Polo, Rio de Janeiro etc.


Period and background

The 1940s. The Princely State of Travancore, South India. The Second World War being fought in Europe had cast its shadow on colonial British India. Daily necessities like food, clothing, kerosene, petrol were scarce. Unemployment grew while hoarding of grains became routine. Set against such times, the four stories in this film relate to crimes committed by the deprived, as well as the comparatively privileged landed gentry.

Social note:

In Kerala's traditional matrilineal joint family system prevalent among the land-owning class, women inherited the family house, and men after marriage came to live with their wives.

Short Synopsis

A film about crime in different contexts and situations

  • A poor schoolboy fervently yearns to reform his father who is a thief
  • Two policemen collude to frame a rickshaw-puller in a burglary of which he is innocent
  • A student suffers trauma over having to abort the pregnancy of his girl friend, a domestic 
  • Two men, one elderly and the other middle aged, fight over a bewitching woman who doesn’t reveal her preferences

Director's statement

The four chapters of the film tell stories independent of each other. What connects them is the recurring theme of crime. Starting from simple, parable like tales about ordinary people, the narrative slowly takes on questions of love, loyalty and morality leading to complex issues of life. It culminates in the story of the contemporary legend of Panki, the irresistible village beauty who lives naturally. Unlike in my earlier films, here I have used dialogue predominantly to comment, endorse or simply report on the course of the plot to lend the story a narrative form akin to that of the epics where reportage plays a major role in making the experience larger- than- life.

Part One
The Thief

In school, Kunjunni is nicknamed 'Son of a Thief'. One night, his father Neelantan arrives home after another of his stints in jail. Kunjunni excitedly breaks the news of his father's return to his friend Kurien, who scornfully asserts that Neelantan will in no time return to prison. A fight ensues. Later, Neelantan meets Kurien's father, Mathai, and urges him not to pass on the prejudices of parents to children. Mathai takes offence. With his son’s help, he prepares a mass petition to the police chief to keep Neelantan in preventive custody to safeguard village property. Neelantan is locked up. Kunjunni makes his mother promise that on his father’s release, she will persuade him to reform and take a decent job. Two years pass. One day Kunjunni brings the news that Kurien's house has been burgled. Seeing the full meal laid out in his home and the new clothes bought for him, the boy realizes his father is back to stealing. He is heartbroken.

Part Two
The Police

An upright Inspector is posted to the local police station.  He finds numerous complaints of corruption pending against the Head Constable and his aide.  The Inspector has special instructions to probe the 'unsolved' case of a theft in a rich merchant's shop.  It is suspected that Head Constable Pillai has traced the culprit and shared the loot with him. He and his cunning colleague Mathu are given one week's time to solve the case or face the consequences. Mathu suggests they re-arrest the culprit.  Pillai wavers because they have taken their share. The two discuss the dilemma in a local bar.  Mathu jumps in excitement when he spots a customer (a rickshaw-puller) in soiled clothes open an envelope full of currency notes. Before the victim realizes what is happening, the two take away his cash and accuse him of the burglary.  If he appeals, they say, he will exhaust his savings by having to engage a lawyer and produce witnesses.  If he admits to the crime, he will be jailed for ten days at the most. What choice does the poor man have?


Part Three
Two Men and a Woman 

Krishnankutty, a university student, is fascinated by a servant girl in the lodge where he is staying.  The casual affair turns serious when she shows symptoms of pregnancy. He is entirely dependent on the head of his joint family whose daughter he is under obligation to marry.  A distraught Krishnankutty feels he must either terminate the pregnancy or take his own life.  He seeks help from his friend and confidante, a lawyer.  In a remote backwater, they locate a notorious quack who conducts abortions.  The meeting with the drunken quack stirs feelings of both pity and loathing in the young man. Eventually it turns out that the girl is not pregnant.  Krishnankutty now finds the courage to make the most difficult decision of his life.

Part Four
One Woman, Two Men

The men of the village, like fireflies, are attracted to Panki, a woman of great beauty and grace. Rama Kurup, a man past middle age, is one of the smitten, and forsakes everything to marry her.  He guards her jealously.  One night, his fears are confirmed when he finds her with a paramour.  In the scuffle that follows, Kurup stabs his younger adversary.  He goes into hiding while the younger man recovers in hospital.  A case is registered against Kurup for attempted murder and a warrant issued for his arrest.  An intense police search follows.  After a while, a battered and humiliated Kurup returns home on bail.  He is overwhelmed as Panki seems to be her old self, tending him with love and care.  As the case is fought in the court of law, supporters of the two sides clash on the streets.  Panki, urged by both men to depose in each one’s favor, is non-committal. The verdict absolves both of the initial crime, but they are sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment for inciting murder and mayhem among their followers. In prison, the two men end the enmity that has blighted their lives.  On release, they decide to confront Panki together.  

Production Details

Production details
Language : Malayalam
Duration : 115 Minutes
Length : 10309 ft (3142. 19 metres)

Gauge : 35 mm

Aspect ratio 1:1.85

Sound : Optical Mono

Year of Production: August 2008

Credits
Production Company
Adoor Gopalakrishnan Productions

Produced by
Adoor Gopalakrishnan

Co-produced by
Benzy Martin

Produced with the support of
Doordarshan India

Based on short-stories by
Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai

Script, Dialogue and Direction
Adoor Gopalakrishnan

Cinematography
M.J. Radhakrishnan

Sound Recording
Krishnanunni
N. Harikumar

Editing
Ajith

Decor
Rajasekharan

Music
Isaac Thomas

Costumes
Satheesh SB

Make-up
P. N. Mani

Chief Assistant:
Meera Sahib

Liaison
Cuckoo Parameswaran

Production Help
Dr. P. Venugopalan

Legal Consultant
Adv.Karette B.Haridas

Still Photography
Chandran Monalisa

Production Controller
Kettidathil Vijayan

Production Coordination
Sreekumar

Outdoor Unit
Chitranjali Studio

Camera Unit
Prasad Productions

Laboratory:
Prasad Color Lab



Cast & Characters

I. Kallante Makan
    The Thief 

M.R.Gopakumar  (Neelantan, the thief)
Seema G. Nair      (Neelantan’s wife)
Master Amal Jose ( Neelantan’s son)
Indrans (Mathai, the neighbour)
KPAC Leela (Maria, Mathai’s wife)
Master Brolin Thomas (Mathai’s son)
Mukkottu Gopalakrishnan ( Head master)
Arya Alphonse (School teacher)
Gopan (Police Constable),
Padmanabha Panikkar (Police Constable)

 

II. Niyamavum Neethiyum
    The Police

1. Nedumudi Venu (Maathu – Police constable)
2. Jagannathan (Kuttan Pillai – the head constable)
3.Vijayaraghavan (Police Inspector)
4, Krishnakumar (The rikshaw- puller)
5,James Mukalel (Bar-tender)
6. P.Sreekumar (The Magistrate)
7, Prof. Aliyar (Bench-clerk)
8. Priyanka (Witness)
9. Anup (Witness)
10. Padmanabha Panikkar (Witness)
11. Ambootty (Lock-up mate)
12. Vakkom Mohan (Pleader)

III. Oru Koottukaran
   Two Men and A Woman

1. Sudheesh (Krishnankutty – the student)
2. Jagadeesh (Advocate – his senior friend)
3. P.C. Soman (The Quack)
4. Anup (Boat-man)
5. Nandan (Advocate’s relative)

                  
IV. Pankiyamma
    One Woman, Two Men

1. Praveena  ( Pankiyamma)
2. Ravi Vallthol (Her husband)
3. Manoj.K.Jayan (Her paramour)
4. Sukumari (The narrator)
5. Babu Namboodiri (Her husband)
6. G.K.Pillai (Old Prison inmate)
7. Subair (Police Constable)
8. Sasthanthala Sahadeven (Jailer)
9. Krishna Prasad (Father of Pankiyamma's baby)


More Stills: