|Directed by||K. G. George|
|Written by||K. G. George|
|Music by||M. B. Sreenivasan|
Irakal (Malayalam: ഇരകള്, English: The Victims) is a 1985 Malayalam psychological thriller film written and directed by K. G. George and produced by the then prominent actor Sukumaran. The film is an in-depth exploration of the psychology of violence. Ganesh Kumar plays the film's protagonist.
The film met with critical acclaim upon release, though not commercially successful. It received several accolades including the state awards of that year.
A ruthless, Syrian Christian rubber baron, Mathews aka Mathukutty, builds an empire, through business acumen and greasing palms of cops and labour union leaders. His business includes marijuana and hooch. His sons Koshy, who is the second-in-commands in his business and illegal activities, is equally ruthless and violent. His second son Sunny is an alcoholic, but a normal guy struggling to get out of his father's stranglehold; he rebels once a while, but is afraid and lazy to go his own way. Mathukutty's only daughter, Annie, is a nymphomaniac, who has no feelings for her husband Andrews or daughter. Her husband is fed up of her wayward lifestyle. Annie comes to live with her maternal family every month, in the pretence of some fight with her husband, so that she can sleep with Mathukutty's henchman and rubber employee, Unnunni. Mathukutty and Koshy are not aware of Annie's wayward lifestyle, and think their son-in-law is unduly suspicious by nature. They mince no words while chastising Annie's husband for being the guilty party in the marriage; Koshy even roughs him up, when Andrews refuses to come for a reconciliation meeting.
Mathukkutty's youngest son, Baby, is an engineering student. He shows early signs of neurosis or psychosis which manifests itself when ragging a junior (freshman). The junior is admitted to hospital in a serious condition. Since he shows no outward symptoms of the state of his mental illness, his family do not realise the danger he is to society and them. He strangles the junior student with an electric wire. Baby is suspended from the college and returns home. His family gets to know of the incident through a newspaper article and dismiss it as a ragging incident gone bad. Baby always keeps the electric wire in his bag as a memento of the incident.
Baby observes Annie's affair with Unnunni, who is later found dead. Baby has violent dreams, constantly plays with his father's rifle, and imagines murdering Annie, multiple times, using his electric wire and the gun. He likes Nirmala, a village girl from a poor family. Nirmala, a beautiful teenager, keeps him interested, and even makes love to him under the shade of coffee shrubs in broad daylight. However she is a practical girl. She enjoys seducing the rich kid and has no intention of marrying him as she is aware of the caste and class divide between them.
Her marriage is fixed with a local shop-owner, Balan. Baby silently watches her talking to Balan, and later kills Balan by strangling him with his preferred weapon, the electric wire. The murder goes unsolved as Baby removes money from the shop making it look like a robbery gone bad. Nirmala believes that Baby is behind Balan's death, and confronts him when they meet at the river. Baby tries to kill her as well, but Nirmala escapes. Nirmala's mother fixes her wedding to Raghavan, a rubber tapper and Baby's local friend. Baby tries to strangle Raghavan too, but fails in his attempt. Raghavan sees Baby's face when the mask he was wearing comes out and reports it to the police. The cops start searching for Baby, who goes into hiding. While his family tries to find him, he suddenly appears with a revolver. He shoots at Koshy who confronts him and shoots at his father too when he shouts at him to stop. Mathukutty escapes the shot, but Koshy is hit though not fatally. While the scuffle is going on, Baby is shot dead by Mathukkutty, using his rifle.
The one scene near Nirmala's house when the camera slowly zooms back from a close view of the house taking in more and more of the surroundings till it reveals the cold and menacing figure of Ganesh is the work of pure genius. The music, though loud at times, is suited to the mood of the film. But Malayalam film has got to a long way to go, if it has to provide a really good score for films such as these. In a situation where so many complex shots have to be joined up, editing can be a tough job. But it has been handed very professionally, with none of the amateurishness often seen in the 'parallel' cinema. The audiography too blends in with the general tone of the film. 'Irakal' can be analysed from the sociological, psychological and philosophical levels in addition to the surface level of pure cinema (Review published in Vaartha, 1986, the Press Club Trrivandrum's Diploma Newspaper, by late AP Prem Kumar).
- K. B. Ganesh Kumar as Baby Mathews
- Thilakan as Mathews / Mathukutty
- P. C. George as Koshy Mathews
- Sukumaran as Sunny Mathews
- Srividya as Annie
- Nedumudi Venu as Andrews, Annie's husband
- Radha as Nirmala
- Venu Nagavally as Balan
- Ashokan as Raghavan
- Innocent as Aniyan Pillai
- Bharath Gopi as the Bishop
- Azeez as Ramakrishnan, the police inspector
- Chandran Nair
- Mohan Jose as Unnunni
- Kannur Sreelatha as Sunny's wife
- Shammi Thilakan as Baby's classmate
The film won two Kerala State Film Awards: for Second Best Film and Best Story (K. G. George). Thilakan narrowly missed the National Film Award that year. Actress Srividya got the Kerala State Film Award for Second Best Actress .  In 2016, George was awarded the Muttathu Varkey Award for writing the screenplay of the film. It was for the first time in the history of the prestigious award that a screenplay was chosen to be awarded.
- "Irakal". www.malayalachalachithram.com. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
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- "Irakal". spicyonion.com. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 November 2009. Retrieved 19 February 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "MUTTATHU VARKEY AWARD". The Hindu. 29 May 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2017.