Whenever Mohanlal has acted in toughie roles set in rustic backdrops, the film has been received well by the public. Viji Thampi in Kanal (burning coal) has cast Mohanlal as Balaraman the lorry driver. The bamboo cultivation season lasts for six months in Chitaoyikal village. The village then sees the visit of Balaraman the lorry driver who is very tough and a man of few words. An unsavoury past had made him into a man with no tender feelings. A girl in the village manages to break the ice with the lorry driver but a turn of events makes him more violent. Padmapriya is the leading lady. Suresh Babu writes the screenplay.