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Kaliyattam (The Play of God) (Nair, 1997)

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Kaliyattam (The Play of God)

Kaliyattam is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’ seen through the local traditional theatrical dance form of Theyyam, in which the actor takes on a divine dimension – as soon as he wears his mask and his headgear.

This is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello, revolving around Kannan Perumalayan (Suresh Gopi)), a Theyyam artist who corresponds to Othello, and Thamara (Manju Warrier), the beautiful daughter of the village head. While Unni Thampuran hates Kannan because he had a crush on Thamara, and Paniyan, (Lal) who plays a Koomali, covets the role of Theechamundi which Perumalayan holds. Paniyan plants the seeds of doubt about Thamara’s fidelity in Kannan’s mind, making him suspect that Thamara and his assistant Kanthan (Biju Menon) are having an affair. Kannan spots a silk robe which he had presented to Thamara in Kanthan’s hands.

Kannan, out of grief and anger, takes Thamara’s life by suffocating her with a pillow. On the same night, Paniyan plans to get Kanthan killed by Unni Thampuran, but the plan goes awry and Thamburan is killed. Amidst these events, Kannan is told of his mistake by Paniyan’s wife Cheerma, before Paniyan murders her. Kannan overpowers Paniyan, crushing his legs with a stone, and allows him to live the rest of his life crippled. Kannan Perumalayan gives the Theechamundi role to Kanthan and commits suicide in the Theyyam ritual fire.



Suresh Gopi as Kannan Perumalayan (Othello)
Lal as Paniyan (Iago)
Manju Warrier as Thamara (Desdemona)
Biju Menon as Kanthan (Cassio)
Bindu Panicker as Cheerma (Emilia)
Narendra Prasad as Thamburan (Brabantio)
E. A. Rajendran as Unni Thampuran (Roderigo)


For more information, visit IMDb and Wikipedia.



Kaliyattam (The Play of God)

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