Kayamkulam Kochunni Review: an engaging entertainer
It is a difficult task to make a movie out of stories that are familiar to the viewers. The tale of Kayamkulam Kochunni is one such story that really demands the cinematic interpretation to grab the attention of the viewers. Director Rosshan Andrrews and writer duo Bobby and Sanjay have attempted that story again and the result they have achieved is fairly an interesting one with flaws that aren’t huge in magnitude. The movie which has the technical backup of some of the greatest technicians is a nonboring entertainer that almost has a runtime of 170 minutes.
Kochunni was a Muslim boy who came to Kayamkulam after a facing some harsh realities in his early childhood. He gained the confidence of some people in Kayamkulam and settled his life there. The ever so loving and caring Kochunni became the victim of a conspiracy when some upper-class Hindus used him to get something they wanted and later made him a thief and punished him. How this incident became the reason for the formation of the iconic figure called Kayamkulam Kochunni is what the movie showing us.
Bobby Sanjay narrates this movie as a flashback story that shows us how Kayamkulam Kochunni became this figure. It is Robin Hood stuff and you have typical ways of glorifying the good deeds done by the hero carving a good chunk of the first half of the movie. It was really ironic that what they have shown as an 18th-century thing was still making problems even in the 21st century, I am referring to the caste-based discrimination. What is good about the making of Rosshan Andrrews is that he knows how to pamper the script with cinematic moments. The way he establishes Ithikkara Pakki, the way he demolishes the judgment of the heroine etc. have that cinematic vibe to its credit which plays a key role in making this movie enjoyable as it isn’t that subtle or conscious about being political.
There are areas in the transformation part of Kayamkulam Kochunni which wasn’t that easy for Nivin Pauly to carry. The best of his performance came as the innocent and rude versions of Kochunni. Mohanlal is a mega plus point for this movie as his portrayal of Ithikkara Pakki adds pace, energy, and grace to the shift of Kayamkulam Kochunni. The actor plays with the grey shade of the character remarkably well. Babu Antony was the perfect choice to play Thangal and Sunny Wayne was just okay as Keshavan. Priya Anand doesn’t have much of a space here as the suppressed Janaki.
Because it is Rosshan Andrrews, what we see on screen isn’t merely a conversion of the script to visual. The scene where Kochunni climbs a tree to see the Kalari and the climax etc. are some of the easily recognizable bits of the film were you see the craft of the movie-making process. Sreekar Prasad has managed to give the movie a very engaging pace and along with some grand visuals from Binod Pradhan, the visuals and pacing of Kayamkulam Kochunni are really impressive. The script has its limitations as it isn’t trying too much to be less verbal. But even within that, it has used characters like Ithikkara Pakki and Swathi Thirunal to move the story forward. The background score from Gopi Sundar was also fitting.
Kayamkulam Kochunni is a smartly constructed commercial cinema that uses the cinematic possibility to show an age that actually existed. The folklore nature of the story has not been demolished entirely. But still, with moments placed at regular intervals of time, this is an engaging entertainer.
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