SYNOPSIS Indian Panorama (Feature Film)


Feature Film


Lesson One: A Wail

Malayalam/107 minutes/35 mm/Colour


Razia, holding a baby, gets down from a bus and makes her way home in the wee hours of the morning. She has been sent back by her husband for her parents have failed to keep their promise of dowry. Razia’s friend, Shahina, visits her. She tries to cheer her up by talking about the baby and their days at school.

Hassan Moyeen is a busy matchmaker. Economically backward families opt for Mysore marriage – they give their daughters in marriage to unknown men from the neighbouring province of Mysore. Razia’s was one such marriage brokered by Hassan Moyeen. Her husband arrives seeking the remaining dowry amount. He seeks Hassan’s intervention.

Shahina’s mother, Saphia, makes a living by making rice dumplings and selling them at a nearby teashop. Shahina, an assiduous student, is blissfully unaware of the ways of the world. Razak is already married. He also has a child. He is trying to leave for the Gulf in search of a job. He decides to get married again so that he can use the dowry to fund his trip. Hassan is told to find a match for him. He impresses upon Saphia and her brother Abdu that it is time for Shahina to be married off.

Shahina reacts violently to the proposal because she wants to continue her studies. In spite of her mother’s sympathy, the elders, especially the men, try to dissuade her from her studies. For them her defiance amounts to deviant behaviour. Finally, Shahina is forced to give in.

Razak meets with repeated failure in his attempts to consummate his marriage with Shahina for sex is something the girl cannot make sense of. His very sight provokes revulsion in her. Razak’s first wife, Wahida, feels sorry for Shahina. On her part, Shahina takes a liking to Razak’s daughter, Mumtaz, and two become inseparable.

Meanwhile, Razak forces Wahida to administer sedatives to Shahina. While she sleeps, Razak has his way. When she wakes up, a shocked Shahina turns hysterical in anger. Razak uses her behaviour as a pretext to divorce her. He takes her back to her place. Back home, Shahina resumes her studies. On the first day of exams, she slumps on her desk. A medical examination reveals that she is pregnant. A dejected Saphia dies. Shahina is accused of adultery and ostracized…


Producer: Aryadan Shoukath

Director: T.V. Chandran

Screenplay: T.V. Chandran

Camera: K.G. Jayan

Editor: Venugopal

Art: Abu Pattambi

Music: Johnson

Sound: Krishnan Unni

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