In holding a grudge, and building it up into something big enough to take revenge, Giri (Asif Ali) displays a twisted criminal bent of mind. But he also happens to be a policeman with a particularly sharp brain. In one of the early scenes, we see him getting mildly offended by someone’s passing comment in a teashop, and later attempting to frame him, when he gets a chance. His mind, it would seem, has no sense of proportion when it comes to reacting to those who challenge him or rub him the wrong way.
It is this one aspect of his character that becomes the key to Jeethu Joseph’s Kooman, forming its most interesting thread. A policeman who nurses his grudge and acts on it can be quite a threat to the non-uniformed people around him. But when his anger turns against a superior officer, then he has to be a little more creative in taking revenge. This “creativity” on Giri’s part is quite a wild leap for a policeman, and that is exactly what makes it exciting.
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K.R. Krishna Kumar, who wrote the script for the lacklustre 12th Man, also directed by Jeethu Joseph, comes up with a compelling screenplay this time around. From the word go, almost every other scene is written around Giri, who is not a run-of-the-mill policeman. As someone at the bottom of the ladder, he gets his kick from putting his investigative skills on display, and impressing the higher-ups. But, there is more to him than this; faced with a challenge, he becomes a different animal altogether. The cop character here is starkly different from the one of a guilt-ridden police man that Asif Ali had essayed in Kuttavum Shikshayum, and he has also clearly managed to bring out the varied nuances in both cases.
Unlike in most Jeethu Joseph films, where the first hour is spent in setting the scene, with family drama and friendly banter (which are at times hard to sit through), a lot happens here... one even wonders how they would fill the rest of the runtime. But then the film changes track into an investigative thriller, with Giri taking on an unofficial inquiry into a series of suspicious deaths.
It might be Jeethu’s most comfortable space, but what keeps the interest alive more than the investigation, is the main thread related to Giri’s vengeful character. The investigation does kindle some interest, but the reveal does not really shock us. The script also takes up quite a lot of time in brining the proceedings to an end, even after the identity of the murderer becomes amply clear. These extended sequences do take away some of the movie’s impact.
Despite some of these glitches, Kooman is a rewarding experience with its layered screenplay and a controlled performance by Asif Ali.
Kooman is currently running in theatres