Mathilukal Mathilukal (Malayalam: മതിലുകൾ, meaning Walls) is a Malayalam novel written by Vaikom Muhammad Basheer in It is one of the most. Mathilukal. Plot: Can you love someone whom you That is the core theme of Basheer’s novel. The protagonist who was in prison at the time. Basheer was in jail in , Mathilukal was written sometime in Many believe that this was a short story but Basheer considered it a.

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Kerala State Award for Best Story.

Mathilukal by Basheer -A Book review

Mathilukal is a free adaptation of the novelette of the same name, written by the celebrated Malayalam writer, Vaikom Muhammad Basheer.

When the film opens, we see Basheer in a police lock-up, quite at home in the company of a few petty criminals.

He has been languishing there for more than a year now without a trial. The Police Inspector who is notorious for his cruelty, however, develops a liking for Basheer and his writings. It is on his advice that Basheer resorts to a hunger strike, is arrested, and gets finally taken to the court for trial.

The judge finds Basheer guilty on many charges, real mathilikal well as fabricated, and msthilukal him to two and a half years of rigorous imprisonment.

He is taken to the Central Jail by two friendly policemen who present him with two bundles of beedis, a box of matches and a blade — all forbidden in jail. The head warder first confiscates, then eventually returns these to him, marking the beginning of a long-lasting friendship. Basheer is frustrated, desperate and alone. His friends leave — life becomes eventless.

He wanders through the vacant corridors and the garden aimlessly. He talks to the trees and flowers, quarrels with the squirrels. Life starts afresh for Basheer.

A tender relationship develops between the two though they cannot see each other. Then, at last, it seems as if they can meet: It comes as a shock.

For Basheer, the meaning of freedom is not the same as before…. The Travancore rulers had a soft spot for the freedom movement baxheer by the National Congress.


Consequently, the freedom-fighters in the jails of Travancore enjoyed a few privileges forbidden to others. Freedom within sight, the ambitious Dewan was already scheming to declare Travancore a sovereign state, inde pendent of the Indian Union. Vaikom Muhammad Basheer is a favourite writer of mine.

He is perhaps the most original author in Malayalam, my mother- tongue. The idea of giving shape to a complex character only through the voice, and of developing an intense relationship between two people separated by a wall, was simply fascinating.

Having decided to adapt the story I went about it as if I were making a film based on one of my own original ideas. All along, my effort has been to make a film faithful to Basheer and yet one that has a life of its own. The result, I believe, is an exploration into the creative mind of a writer and a great humanist.

At another level, it is a film about freedom. It asks the fundamental question of what freedom really means. But the writer — the artist — surrounded by walls, can transcend them with his creativity. He can even create a woman for company and get inextricably involved with his own creation. The film is also about life and death: About how you reconcile yourself even to an inhospitable habitat like the prison life — then are suddenly let out to the freedom death of uncertainty.

This metaphysical level is perhaps the least apparent. What happens to his people is of less importance than the way it happens to them.

The plot, no more than a pretext, is a reference point to come close, even to X-ray the mind of his protagonists. Mammootty, the number one star of Malayalam films, who plays Basheer comes up with his best performance ever.

While Adoor is understandably pleased with the result, Doordarshan too has something to be proud of. Few could have imagined that the union of the offbeat Adoor and a government- controlled TV network could produce a work of such mastery. And, above all, the control of pace and rhythm by Gopalakrishnan is immaculate as is the dark and eloquent photography from Ravi Varma. Director General, Doordarshan, New Delhi. Basheer embodies the spirit of the free mind.


He was beaten up by the police and jailed for defying the Salt Laws. On coming out of jail, he organised a terrorist movement on the Bhagat Singh model — which again set the police on his trail. He left his home in Kerala and wandered around the country for nearly seven years. Worked as deckhand, cook, compositor, tutor, palmist among many other odd jobs — and donned the robes of both sufi and sanyasin.

On returning home, he was promptly picked up by the police of the tyrannical Dewan of Travancore. His old compositor friend, Ramankutty, is the hospital orderly there, and Abdul Razak, the meal server opens his heart to him like a brother. He also meets his old classmate — now in chains for having assaulted a warder. And then there is news that all the political prisoners are to be released soon. There is joy and excitement in the air at the prospect of freedom.

Mathilukal | Revolvy

The order for release comes: A humanist in a dangerous era when themes are more important than character studies, his work is outside the parameters of current fashion — yet he is one of the most provocative filmmakers of his time. Its sensual, tangible-intangible, tactile quality cannot be conveyed in a review.

The prison becomes an almost complete microcosm of the world outside. Two bundles of beedis, a box of matches and a mathliukal — all forbidden but given to Basheer by friendly policemen — seem both to him and to us like extraordinary wealth.

Gopalakrishnan again demonstrates his command of camera, actors all convincing and almost nude sets. Vaikom Muhammad Basheer Photography: Meera Sahib Production Controller: Sukumaran Nair Production Company: Adoor Gopalakrishnan Productions Stills: Soman head constable B.

Nair old convict Prof. Jacob, Mathew, Santosh jail warders P. Ganga, Somasekharan Nair, Krishnakumar, K.