Friday, December 02, 2005

Akale(At a Distance) -2004-Malayalam

Akale, based on Tennessee Williams play "Glass Menagerie" is the story of an Anglo Indian family in Kerala.

The family consists of Margaret(Sheela),Neil(Prithviraj) and Rose(Geetu Mohandas).Margaret the mother has been taking care of her children’s since her husband forsake her. Neil the eldest son works as a clerk in a warehouse and aspires to be a writer, rose the daughter is a very timid and sensitive person who does not do any anything. Rose who has a slightly deformed leg suffers from inferiority complex. The movie is about the dreams and aspirations of these characters.

The whole movie stands on the story and its beautiful characters. All the characters in this movie live in there own dream world and are afraid to face reality. The fragile & sensitive rose spends her time with fragile glass toys, Neil lives in the dream world of movies and writing stories. Margaret the mother lives in a dream world where her daughter is not different from any other and that her daughter will soon find a suitable boy.

Rose makes a wish, another magical moment

The movie is mainly about the timid and fragile rose, who harbors an inferiority complex because of her deformed legs. She spends her time speaking to glass toys and taking care of them. In her small world all those creatures are unique and have there own lives.

We all have our broken dreams and unfilled wishes which lie deep down in the abyss of our heart.Time might have healed the scars that came out of those broken dreams but still some where in the remote corners of the heart that dream still lingers on.what will happen when that dream manifests itself one day and catches you by surprise?.That will be a magical moment, a moment of pure joy and happiness from the bottom of the heart.

There is one such moment in the play.One day when rose was not expecting, her dream world peeps into her real world. she meets her childhood crush(Freddy) and what follows is a magical scene.In that single moment of care, love and attention, rose blooms, she looses her inferiority complex, forgets an entire life's sadness and dances to the music that flows into the room. she is so happy about the meeting that she does not even mind freddy breaking the horn of her glass unicorn. she takes it as a symbol of normalcy returning in her life.

This is a small movie which runs for an hour and a half.The movie is a ditto recreation of the Tennessee William's play.The stereotypical way of an old hero with beard & glass doing a flash back and an elevated western background score all looked old style.Also the movie being so true to its original is little out of place comparing to the indian environment. If you leave all these things and look at the movie comparing it with contemporary indian movies. This is a very sensitive, minimalistic and different movie.

Cast and credits:
Tom George .... Fredy Evans
Geethu Mohandas .... Rose
Prithwiraj .... Neil
Sheela .... Margaret

Tom George who is also the producer of this movie.

Geethu Mohandas


The cinematography part of the movie is well done, You wont see any thing bright are very pleasing, the whole movie has a color tone which is kind of old and nostalgic. The tone changed to a sepia one when ever rose thinks about her pasts.

Shyamaprasad the director

The movie has a nice BGM, sometimes little out of synch with the movie, but very pleasing music. There is no song in the movie. But a music video inspired by the movie was later released. And it has some wonderful songs. Especially the title song Akale, an awesome melody.
Listen to the songs here at

The 2004 National award for best supporting Actress went to Sheela, "for the grace with which she depicts the tragedy of a community fading away". It also bagged the Best Feature Film in Malayalam award.


At the state level the movie won six awards for best film, best director (Shyama Prasad), best actress (Geetu Mohandas), best supporting actress (Sheela), best cinematographer (S. Kumar) and art direction (Raja Unnithan).

Shyamaprasad is planning to adapt O.V. Vijayan's classic "Khazakinnte Itihasam," into a movie.

shyam prasad home page
Glass Menagerie play

I don't think it is out of place compared to the Indian enviornment, because the story was set in the 70's or 80's Anglo-Indian community in north Kerala. They followed the westerners in every way. Language, music, culture, lifestyle etc. And Glass Menagerie is a foriegn story. So I think it is Shyam's brilliance to choose the anglo-indian backdrop to tell such a story in the Indian background.

Another classic adaptation I liked in Malayalam is Jayaraj's "Kaliyaattam" of Shakespeare's Othello which brought a national award for best actor to Suresh Gopi.
Is that so.Maybe.Yes i have seen kaliyattam. its a nice movie.
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