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Inspired by a fact-based novella by South Indian writer and revolutionary Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, this meditation on the nature of freedom by director Adoor Gopalakrishnan takes place during Basheer's political imprisonment in the 1940's. Using his considerable charm and fame, Basheer (Mammootty) befriends everyone from prison guards to hardened criminals, making his life behind bars relatively tolerable until his fellow political prisoners begin to be released, and he is left alone in the compound.
His loneliness is relieved, however, by the surprising sound of a woman's voice from beyond the wall. She is a prisoner in the adjacent women's prison, and Basheer strikes up an affectionate relationship with his unseen counterpart, which blossoms into something like a love affair.