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Shadow Kill (Nizhalkkuthu) - Exclusive (2013)

Oduvil Unnikrishnan , Adoor Gopalakrishnan  |  Unrated |  DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Oduvil Unnikrishnan
  • Directors: Adoor Gopalakrishnan
  • Format: NTSC
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Global Lens
  • DVD Release Date: September 23, 2013
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AM4POK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #402,379 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Shadow Kill (Nizhalkkuthu) - Exclusive" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

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Shadow Kill (Nizhalkkuthu) – Exclusive

A hangman in a southern Indian village who has spent his life carrying out politically motivated executions is now old and so wracked with guilt that he takes to heavy drinking and praying to the goddess Kali to forgive his sins.

Veteran director Adoor Gopalakrishnan sets the film in 1941, the violent cusp of Indian independence, pitting Gandhian principles against the harsher traditions of punishment and retribution. The subtly nuanced performances bring the ever-present questions to bear on today's political debate.

"India's greatest living filmmaker." -Cleveland Institute of Art

"Masterly, astounding...Diabolic precision!" -Cahiers du Cinema

Shadow Kill is an official selection of the prestigious, award-winning Global Lens Collection presented by the Global Film Initiative. In Hindi with English subtitles.

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.


Beautifully shot, visually rich... a picture-perfect set piece that entertains eternal questions of human responsibility and freedom. --Time Magazine (Asia)

Diabolic precision on all counts- screenplay, photography, sound... an entirely astounding mind's fiction. --Cahiers Du Cinema

Exceptional Brilliance! A masterly and faithful depiction of human psyche. --Int'l Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! September 22, 2007
A complex, layered film, the plot is a little confounding, until you realize the circularity is a device. The hangman who is hounded by a personal universe of guilt and innocence contrasts with the Travancore king who also battles with the burdens of killing a man. The State and the individual and the common lines of their functioning are Adoor's favoured themes, and in 'Shadow Kill' he revisits them, this time by presenting the individual in the figure of a reluctant hero, a reluctant hangman.
Adoor fans will be thrilled this is available in DVD format, and hopefully his next movie 'Four Women' - that opened to rave reviews at the Toronto Film Festival - will also come to amazon.
Buy this one, guys - it's a treasure!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It deserves a second viewing! Excellent February 18, 2007
This award winning movie well deserves a second viewing to fully understand the work of a great movie director, the language, customs, styles of the movie. Pay special attention to the story within the story as they unfold.

The title, Shadow Kill means to kill one indirectly. Set in India in 1942, an old man Kaliyappanhas is also called "The Hangman". He has carried out numerous executions and he knows that he has hung the innocent. As the hangman, he also receives benefits from the King who orders the executions and a hanging hasn't occurred in a while.

Customary, after an execution, the rope is given to the hangman, who then keeps it and burns pieces of it. He uses the burnt ashes to cure the ill in the village. One's death gives life to another.

Two stories come together here. There is a story of the haunting the hangman endures, excessive drinking, depression, anything to stop as hangman. The other story within the story, is narrated by the jailers who tell about the rape and murder of a girl and a young man wrongly accused, which means he is next to be hung. See how they impact the hangman with this narration.

The acting by the hangman was superb! .....Rizzo
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A kill of many a shadows December 23, 2005
Review by V. G. Baburaj from [...]

Nizhalkkuthu : shadow kill : an act of black magic that has reference to the Mahabharata, where the practitioner exhorts the spirit of the one to be killed, to enter a symbolic shadow and then stabs it. Thus the one whose spirit is entrapped, is killed.

* * * *

Nizhalkkuthu by Adoor Gopalakrishnan is a deceptively simple film at its exterior. But, if one is able to tread his way in, it is an extremely complex film with many layers to it. Perhaps a narrative that is similar to Adoor's own earlier film, Anantharam.

At one level, Nizhalkkuthu is a film about Kaliyappan who is mentally traumatised being a hangman, and largely because some of the convicts, he thought were innocents.

How could a man, whoever he is, kill another? Even if he thinks that he is right by doing so or if the other is guilty in his perception? It could be one's limited perception and even more limited analysis of the facts available to him. And what shall one do to wash away the sins he has commited by killing or causing to kill someone. When the truth can not be assumed to a logical conclusion, as illustrated by Kurasawa's Rashomon, how could it be framed into a law or system?

On the other hand a system (read state) is not able to function without such a framework. Because a framework of the system makes it convenient to carry out its objectives. Therefore, a system will administer what fits its convenience. In Anand's novel 'Journeys of Govardhan'*, when the king finds the guilty's neck too big for the noose, he orders to find a neck that suits the noose, in order to protect the law and therefore the state. It is important for the state to administrate its laws to sustain itself.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MY FIRST ADOOR GOPALAKRISHNAN FILM October 10, 2008
Pather Panchali
I had heard of Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Aravindan, John Abraham(director),the
late Padmarajan etc.. from my father.This IS the first art film I LOVED, in the MALAYALAM pantheon.I loved Oduvil Unnikrishnan,a long time back, from films like,DEVAASURAM,APPUNNI,PONMUTTA EDUNNA THARAVU etc..etc..(particularly 'THARAVU')as 'paappi' the man who had lost his cow.He was a REAL GEM to the Malayalam Industry and his loss cannot be replaced for a long long time.I am writing this review not to praise Adoor and his style
sky high.We are all aware of 'that'.When Oduvil lay ill in the hospital next to my house,'The Mission Hospital',I went to see him. His face was all bloated,because of fluid retention(both his kidneys were not functioning),but he smiled and talked with the few fans who came to visit him,as jolly as ever. He came out of the hospital and started acting with renewed vigor in all of director Satyan Anthikkad's films.But fate did not INTEND giving him a second chance.He died while acting half-way in one of Satyan's films.
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