‘Kappela’ movie review: Promising debut, but with a dampener effect

A particular kind of deftness in craft, surprising in a debutant filmmaker, marks Muhammad Musthafa’s handling of a pretty thin story in the initial parts of Kappela. Yet, it is only with a sinking feeling that one can watch him squandering what he had so painstakingly set up, when it comes to finishing it in style.

Jessy (Anna Ben)’s call to a wrong number sets off an unlikely romance with autorickshaw driver Vishnu (Roshan Mathew).

For an academically weak girl living in an orthodox, lower middle class family, in a high range village with hardly anything to look forward to, the voice on the other side becomes a ray of hope for a better life.

  • Cast: Anna Ben, Sreenath Bhasi, Roshan Mathew
  • Direction: Muhammad Musthafa

The director portrays her as having a fun time with her close friend, to whom she passingly expresses these disappointments in a playful manner, at the same time giving one a sense that these are things that has affected her much more deeply.

Things take a turn when the couple decide to meet finally and a third character — Roy (Sreenath Bhasi) — enters their lives by chance.

Surprising turn

To give us a sense of Roy’s rough character, the script commendably cuts off from the love story at a key point. It is meant to create in our minds an expectation of how the rest of the film will pan out.

That is when the director unleashes upon the audience the trick up his sleeve, which can be rewarding or disappointing, depending on which way you look at it.

Strictly from the filmmaking point of view, it is an unexpected turn, which can satisfy the viewers, although executed too swiftly. It does talk about a much-discussed issue, but this could have been much more than just another movie with a message.

When one looks at how the movie’s message can be misused by those wanting to curtail the agency of women to make decisions concerning their lives, especially their relationship choices, the turn that the script takes is disappointing.

The otherwise well-intentioned makers may have inadvertently provided a respectable tool for the moral policing gangs. In the end, when Jessy is convinced by an educated girl to not go in for legal options, it becomes a cautionary tale for women deciding their life on their own, rather than resign to the one chosen by their parents.

Lot of promise

The performances, especially of Sreenath Bhasi and Anna Ben, who essays a character similar to her previous two, elevate the movie a few notches.

Muhammad Musthafa shows a lot of promise in his debut directorial, despite the let down in the end.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 10:57:47 PM |

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