Mathilukal (film)

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Poster designed by Gayathri Ashokan
Directed byAdoor Gopalakrishnan
Produced byAdoor Gopalakrishnan
Written byAdoor Gopalakrishnan
Based onMathilukal
by Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
Music byVijaya Raman
CinematographyMankada Ravi Varma
Edited byM. Mani
Distributed byJubilee Productions
Release date
  • 18 May 1990 (1990-05-18)
Running time
120 minutes

Mathilukal (Translation: Walls) is a 1989 Indian Malayalam-language feature film written, directed and produced by Adoor Gopalakrishnan based on the autobiographical novel of the same name by Vaikom Muhammad Basheer.[1] The film focusses on the prison life of Vaikom Muhammad Basheer and the love between him and Narayany, a female inmate of the prison, who remains unseen throughout the film.[2] Mammootty plays the role of Vaikom Muhammad Basheer while K. P. A. C. Lalitha gives voice to Narayani. The film was screened at the Venice Film Festival, it won four awards at the National Film Awards in 1990.

On the centenary of Indian cinema in April 2013, Forbes included Mammootty's performance in the film on its list, "25 Greatest Acting Performances of Indian Cinema".[3]


Confined to the narrow space of a prison cell, Bashir falls in love with a woman in the neighbouring prison compound. They are separated by a high wall so that they never see each other and have to devise ingenious ways for communicating. Narayani, Bashir's love is presented as a female voice and never appears in person in the film. However, unexpectedly Bashir is released and isn't able to convey it to Narayani. Bashir helplessly look at the walls and leaves the jail in tears.[4]



The film has won the following awards since its release:

1989 Venice Film Festival (Italy)
1989 National Film Awards (India)[5][6]
1990 Kerala State Film Awards (India)[7]
1990 Amiens International Film Festival (France)[8]
  • OCIC Award - Adoor Gopalakrishnan
2002 Aubervilliers International Children's Film Festival (France)[9][10]
  • Best Film
  • Grand Prize for Best Director - Adoor Gopalakrishnan


  1. ^ P.K.Ajith Kumar. "Romantic interlude". The Hindu. 14 May 2010.
  2. ^ P.M.Girish. "A Brief Examination of Three Widely-Acclaimed Malayalam Novels". 3 March 2008.
  3. ^ Prasad, Shishir; Ramnath, N. S.; Mitter, Sohini (27 April 2013). "25 Greatest Acting Performances of Indian Cinema". Forbes. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Mathilukal-1989" Archived 21 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  5. ^ "37th National Film Awards". International Film Festival of India. Archived from the original on 5 May 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  6. ^ "37th National Film Awards (PDF)" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  7. ^ "Kerala State Film Awards" Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Adoor Gopalakrishnan wins Best Director Award in France". 21 November 2002. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  10. ^

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