From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Theatrical release poster
Malayalam സദയം
Directed by Sibi Malayil
Produced by G. P. Vijayakumar (executive producer)
Written by M. T. Vasudevan Nair
Starring Mohanlal
Nedumudi Venu
Music by Johnson
Cinematography Anandakuttan
Edited by L. Bhoominathan
Seven Arts Films
Distributed by Seven Arts Release
Release date
  • 1992 (1992)
Running time
130 minutes
Country India
Language Malayalam

Sadayam (English: With Compassion) is a 1992 Indian Malayalam psychological drama thriller film written by M. T. Vasudevan Nair and directed by Sibi Malayil. It stars Mohanlal, Thilakan, Nedumudi Venu, Murali, Sreenivasan, Maathu, K. P. A. C. Lalitha, and T. G. Ravi. The film was produced and distributed by G. P. Vijayakumar of Seven Arts Films. The film score was composed by Johnson.

The story follows convict Sathyanathan (Mohanlal) who is awaiting capital punishment for the murder of two young girls and two men. Mohanlal's performance in the film is regarded as one of the finest in his career. M. T. Vasudevan Nair won the National Film Awards for Best Screenplay.[1]


Sathyanathan (Mohanlal) is condemned to death for brutally murdering four persons – two adults and two young girls – and is awaiting his final call. He shows no remorse and is just as cheerful as a man who knows he has done no wrong. The prison doctor Dr Nambiar’s (Thilakan) son Vijayan is one of Sathyan’s victims; he wants to sign his death certificate and see the fear in his eyes as he is led up the gallows but the doctor is just as puzzled as to why the crime was committed.

There are appeals in lower courts and petitions for pardons by the cops as a matter of routine but Sathyan has no great interest in living. Eventually, when he wishes to start life again on a fresh slate because he now wants to live, in an O Henry-sque moment, he’s denied a pardon and on Sept 29th, 1991, two years after he is originally convicted of the multiple murders, he is hanged to death. In a series of flashbacks, the story unfolds focussing on Sathyan’s past and recreates the chilling crime scene, explaining his actions.

Sathyan is a ‘bastard’ who is bullied and abused in his childhood by the people around him until he is rescued by a priest (Nedumudi Venu) who realises that the kid is a talented artist. Under the aegis of Father, Sathyan becomes a painter who makes a living by painting sign boards and hoardings. As part of one of his assignments, he takes a rented house in Kozhikode next to a house of ill-virtue where Jaya (Mathu) and her two young sisters live with their aunts. They have no future to look forward to and it is only a matter of time when the aunts get them to carry out prostitution.

He helps the kids in their education and gets Jaya a job in the company in which he’s working. Sathyan likes Jaya and wishes to marry her and settle down in life but destiny has other ideas; circumstances force her to end up as a prostitute and there are signs that her sisters will sink in the same quagmire later. In a moment of extreme paranoia, Sathyan kills the two girls in a bid to save them from prostitution and eventually both the guys responsible for her state.

As a product of a broken household, Sathyan is immensely disturbed when he sees the girls headed into a bottomless pit where there is no escape. There is a sense of extreme helplessness and resignation of the fact that despite his efforts to rescue Jaya, he is unable to do so. He seeks his redemption through an act which represents an angst against society for its attitudes towards human trafficking. He does not regret his actions but later on as the movie progresses to a juncture when there are moments of contemplation and solitude, he is unsure about his act.

The multiple-murder scene is a slightly elaborate but extremely chilling piece that has a frightening feel to it. You know that it will culminate in a murder but the thought still does not prepare you for what you see. It is largely shot in close-up and seeks to transform his character into a wild demonic one, as indicated in his painting. The atmosphere is built gradually with tense background music and the usage of dim lights with a red tinge, magnifying the impact of the gruesomeness of the scene. When Minikutty comes running to him escaping from the broker Chandran, it is a moment of déjà vu for Sathyan. He believes that his actions can only delay the inevitable and there is no escape for the kids and that one day or the other, they will be forced into the flesh trade.

It is not a planned murder but is also not something that happens in the heat of the moment. Eliminating just the perpetrators will not help, he reckons, because in some form of the other, they will eventually make their appearance and destroy the lives of the hitherto innocent kids; the society will never allow them to survive with dignity. A sense of moral uprightness coupled with desperation and extreme paranoia drives him to stab them to death.



  • Art Director: Krishnankutty
  • Production Controller: K. Mohanan



Johnson composed the songs, for which the lyrics were written by Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri.

No. Title Singer(s) Notes
1 "Vaasantharaavin" Sujatha Mohan Raga: Pilu
2 "Arabikkadhayile" K. G. Markose


  1. ^ Kumar, P. K. Ajith (26 September 2014). "Screenplays for ever". The Hindu. 

External links[edit]