Kayamkulam Kochunni, unravelling an epic through powerful visuals | Movie Rating : 3/5
Kayamkulam Kochunni, the much-awaited movie featuring the Nivin-Mohanlal combo, is an intriguing tale on the life of the legendry thief Kochunni. The movie begins from what seems to be the ‘climax’ has a small narrator piece by Mohanlal. Thus, the very first scene marks the presence of Mohanlal which has undoubtedly contributed to the success of the movie. Kochunni (Nivin) is introduced inside the prison and one side of his face was shown in the dark. It has portrayed the Robin Hood’s life beginning from his childhood. Kochunni, a child who becomes grief-stricken by poverty and for being the son of a thief, leaves his homeland and reaches another village. There, a kind-hearted Brahmin feeds him and gives him a job.
The movie has been able to recreate the 19th century which it tries to portray. The first half was a bit dull with the deliberately stuffed scenes which try to prove the bravery of Kochunni. The fighting scene with the python seems very odd and unnecessary. One would find it difficult to tolerate the item song which was totally unrelated with the plot and feels deliberately inserted as a trick to hook audience. The language spoken by the characters feels artificial. Ithikkara Pakki’s (Mohanlal) entry turns the colour of the movie. This cameo appearance accelerates the pace of the movie and sets the spark. Kochunni becomes a thief as he is compelled by the situations. He overcomes betrayal at every stage of his life and survives. His robbery is justified by the fact that he donates the valuables to the poor. He was also fighting against all ill-practices in the period including untouchability.
Unlike the early movies, Rosshan Andrrews has taken a great challenge this time. Through the movie ‘Kayamkulam Kochunni’, the director has tried to present the story of a legendry thief, familiar to Keralites. As a whole, he has succeeded to an extent. Where Rosshan failed was in forming an emotional connect between the hero and the audience. Even when we identify with Kochunni, he fails to enter our heart. The film somehow misses the emotional impact it tried to create. However, he has made it a safe-play by casting Mohanlal for the cameo role. His entry was at the time when it was inevitable for the character as well as the film. When the audience become slightly bored by the plot, Ithikkara Pakki enters and creates a hype. He sets the mood, curiosity and vigour that the plot demands and moulds Kochunni into a ‘skilled ‘thief.
Commenting on the performances, Nivin has performed well as the innocent youngster and a tough highway man. The young phase was the familiar character he has been playing in the previous movies and there was nothing new. The romance also makes little impact on the audience. However, he needs acclaim for the kalari and stunt sequences in which he has demonstrated excellent flexibility. And the transformation of the character from the youngster to a highway man was explicit and exceptional. Mohanlal was in fact living in the role of Ithikkarappakki. He was able to achieve the body language, facial expressions and appearance of a bandit with the meticulous details. Thanks to the director that he was able to maintain the hero the centre of focus and didn’t turn it too much to the superstar. All women characters including that of the heroine Janaki (Priya Anand) has subsidiary roles. The villain role was safe with Sunny Wayne (Kesava Kurupp). Babu Antony has effortlessly performed the challenging role of Thangal without any exaggeration. The first stage of training that Kochunni receives was from Thangal. The brief appearances by some actors including Manikandan, Sudev Nair and Jude Antony Joseph were interesting.
Gopi Sundar’s music has added magic to each scene. The cinematographer Binod Pradhan made an outstanding visual impact on the audience. The script by Bobby and Sanjay was strong and ensured that it included all ingredients essential for a commercial movie. The extensive research of the director was evident in the careful recreation of the period, its social order and way of living.
Though some moments in the movie were exaggerated and you would shrug with disbelief, this epic thriller will keep you on the edge of your seats till end. It is an engaging and inquisitive tale on the life of Kayamkulam Kochunni which is worth your time and money.