‘Kayamkulam Kochunni’ review: On predictable lines, but an interesting fare

A curious mix of reality and myth

Updated - October 14, 2018 08:32 am IST

Published - October 13, 2018 10:30 pm IST

Kayamkulam Kochunni’s is one story where we are not sure where the reality ends and myth begins. Bobby and Sanjay, who have scripted Kayamkulam Kochunni , the latest cinematic adaptation of the story from Aithihyamala, uses this leeway to the hilt.

Quite a few creative liberties have been taken, as the duo brings alive the story of the transformation of an almost timid young man to a macho thief.

The story here begins from Kochunni’s younger days of penury. We see him watching helplessly as the village men mercilessly beat up his father, for stealing rice. That one event sets his moral compass, until it takes an about-turn many years later. In his youth, we see Kochunni gently advising a young boy who tries to steal banana from a shop, to never steal.

But society around him was such that he would turn into a thief in no time, one of the Robin Hood kind, who would steal from the rich upper caste families to feed the hungry. The film takes its time in laying out the social milieu of the early 19th century, in which the film is set. Nothing conveys the class and caste oppression of the time than the upper caste men’s decision to cover a public well just because a ‘lower’ caste boy’s touch made the water ‘impure’.

The research team has done some work, but there were issues with the dialect and the attire, especially during a very modern, needless ‘item’ dance. The narration is straight, moving along a predictable line.

The script, though manages to retain interest through the run time close to three hours, is evidently lacking in depth, failing to convey much about Kochunni than what we already know. Some of the characters, like that of Kochunni’s lover Janaki, and sequences are shoddily written.

For Nivin Pauly, the character of Kochunni is a far cry from his typical roles. In the initial portions, we see a shadow of the Thattathin Marayath boy, which he loses in his later transformation. But yet, there are quite a few portions where the role appears to be too much of a load for him to carry.

At one of those points, pops in Mohanlal, with a memorable cameo as Ithikkara Pakki. Though his costume harks back to the Roman empire, and the characterisation and background score to the spaghetti westerns, he does inject the movie with a lot of energy. Missing are also his usual mannerisms.

Rosshan Andrrews has managed to bring a certain grandness to the proceedings, notably in the final sequences. But his interpretation of the legendary thief’s story leaves a lot to be desired.

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