VCD cover
Directed byJayaraaj
Screenplay byBalram Mattanoor
Based onWilliam Shakespeare's Othello
Produced byK. Radhakrishnan
StarringSuresh Gopi
Manju Warrier
Biju Menon
CinematographyM J Radhakrishnan
Edited by
Music byKaithapram Viswanathan
Rajamani (Film score)
Jayalakshmi Films
Distributed bySurya Cine Arts
Release date
  • August 22, 1997 (1997-August-22)
Running time
130 minutes

Kaliyattam (English: The Play of God) is a 1997 Indian Malayalam-language tragedy film directed by Jayaraaj. It stars Suresh Gopi, Lal (in his acting debut), Manju Warrier, and Biju Menon.[1][2] The film is an adaptation of William Shakespeare's play Othello,[3] set against the backdrop of the Theyyam performance of Kerala.[4][5][6][7] Suresh Gopi plays Kannan Perumalayan, the equivalent to Othello. Lal plays Paniyan, the equivalent to Iago. Manju Warrier plays Thamara, the Desdemona version. And Biju Menon plays Kanthan, Cassio's role. Suresh Gopi's role as Kannan Perumalayan was critically acclaimed and it was considered one of his finest acting performances in his career.

In 1998, Suresh Gopi received the National Film Award for Best Actor and Kerala State Film Award for Best Actor for his critically acclaimed performance. Jayaraaj won the award for Best Director for his work on the film. The film was a critical and commercial success.[8][9]


This is an adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello, revolving around Kannan Perumalayan (Suresh Gopi), a Theyyam artist who corresponds to Othello, and Thamara (Manju Warrier), the beautiful daughter of the village head. While Unni Thampuran hates Kannan because he had a crush on Thamara, and Paniyan, (Lal) who plays a Komali, covets the role of Theechamundi which Perumalayan holds. Paniyan plants the seeds of doubt about Thamara's fidelity in Kannan's mind, making him suspect that Thamara and his assistant Kanthan (Biju Menon) are having an affair. Kannan spots a silk robe which he had presented to Thamara in Kanthan's hands.

Kannan, out of grief and anger, takes Thamara's life by suffocating her with a pillow. On the same night, Paniyan plans to get Kanthan killed by Unni Thampuran, but the plan goes awry and Thamburan is killed. Amidst these events, Kannan is told of his mistake by Paniyan's wife Cheerma, before Paniyan murders her. Kannan overpowers Paniyan, crushing his legs with a stone, and allows him to live the rest of his life crippled. Kannan Perumalayan gives the Theechamundi role to Kanthan and commits suicide in the Theyyam ritual fire.



National Film Awards 1997
Filmfare Awards 1997
Kerala State Film Awards 1997
Kerala Film Critics Association Awards 1997


Soundtrack album by
ReleasedAugust 22, 1997 (1997-08-22)[10]
StudioMusic City, Kozhikode[11]
GenreFilm soundtrack
LabelJohny Sagariga
Kaithapram chronology
Ennu Swantham Janakikutty

The music and lyrics were composed and written by Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri.

Track Song Playback Raga
1 "Vannathi Puzhayude" K. J. Yesudas Madhyamavathi[2]
2 "Velikku Veluppaankaalam" K. J. Yesudas Mohanam
3 "Ezhimalayolam" Kaithapram
4 "Sapamapa Magari" Choir
5 "Kathivanoor Veerane" Kallara Gopan Yamunakalyani
6 "Ennodenthinee Pinakkam" Bhavana Radhakrishnan Shahana
7 "Kathivanoor Veerane" Sreeja Yamunakalyani
8 "Ennodenthinee Pinakkam" K. J. Yesudas Shahana


  1. ^ "List of Malayalam films released during the year 1997". PRD, Government of Kerala. Retrieved 7 October 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Kaliyattam [1998]". malayalasangeetham.info. Retrieved 7 October 2009.
  3. ^ Radhakrishnan, Sruthi (23 April 2018). "400 years later, Shakespeare still remains relevant in Indian cinema". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  4. ^ Hodgdon, Barbara; Worthen, William B. (2005). A Companion to Shakespeare and Performance. Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 130–131. ISBN 978-1-4051-1104-1.
  5. ^ "Kaliyattam". BizHat.com. Retrieved 7 October 2009.
  6. ^ "jayaraj". cinemaofmalayalam.net. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2009.
  7. ^ Sandeep, K. M. (26 June 1997). "Monsoon moods on film". The Indian Express. Retrieved 7 October 2009.
  8. ^ "Thai Saheb bags national award for best film". The Indian Express. 10 May 1998. Retrieved 7 October 2009.
  9. ^ "Indrani Haldar, Karisma bag national awards". Rediff.com. 9 May 1998. Retrieved 7 October 2009.
  10. ^ "Kaliyattam (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". Apple Music. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  11. ^ "Audio CD Cover". Mossymart. Retrieved 4 October 2020.