Swaham - 1994
Shaji continues with his favourite idiom, characters struggling to come to terms with the emptiness left by death in his second film too, which changes from colour to black & white as the story moves between past and present.
Annapoorna, after her husband's death, along with her son and daughter, struggles to run a teashop owned by him near a railway station. Her son Kannan also helps her by selling tea in the railway station along with his studies for matriculation exam. Kannan fails his exam causing more misery to his mother. She takes him to a military recruitment camp in hope of a job for her son, after bribing a huge amount to a middleman. Kannan is killed in a stampede in the military camp. She returns to her house with her son's dead body.
In the final scene Kannan's sister is seen waiting lonely in the house for her mother and brother returning from the recruitment camp, while the mother bringing her son's dead body in an ambulance. The image of the waiting girl fades on the screen.
Swaham was screened at the Cannes International Film Festival in the competition section and won Shaji the State award for best director.
Direction & Co-Screenplay: Shaji N Karun