Nair, having worked with Gopalakrishnan,
returns to the mother-son relationship
adumbrated in his first feature Aparahnam
(1990), with this bitterly ironic tale of a
woman’s religious mania, a variation on the
theme of Radha and Krishna. The poor villager
Radha (Urvashi) becomes unbalanced with
grief when her husband and son die. Going to
live with her mother (Menon), the two women
derive some income from pilgrims visiting the
local temple, an institution representing a
complex knot of contradictory currents:
indolence and moral corruption in the shape of
its guardians (Venu, Mullanezhi) as well as
traditional ideologies while remaining an
important conduit for contact with outsiders.
When the teacher Nandini (Parameshwaran)
arrives to visit the temple with her young son
Kannan (Mohan), the distraught Radha latches
on to the son imagining him to be Krishna.
When Kannan falls ill and dies, Radha’s
delusional mania, the only source available to
her in an impossibly constricted and oppressed
situation, overwhelms her.