Paresh C Palicha says Kadal Kadannu Oru Mathukkuttyis a few notches below the standard set by the director Ranjith.
Malayalam films are often set in the Middle East or the United States. Europe is a less likely locale. Director Ranjith has based his story in Germany in his new film Kadal Kadannu Oru Mathukkutty, which has Mammootty in the lead.
Mathukkutty (Mammootty) is married to a nurse working in Mettmann, Germany. His main responsibility is to look after their two kids. His wife Janasamma (Muthumani) has the upper hand in the relationship. She is the breadwinner for the family, and misses no opportunity to reiterate this fact. Her behaviour could in fact be said to border on the abusive.
But, the story is not about the couple or their struggle to survive in a foreign land. After setting the characters and the landscape of Mettmann, the director sends his hero back home to invite superstar Mohanlal for the silver jubilee of the Malayalee Association.
The film is mostly about the experiences of Mathukkutty in his homeland that makes him reshape his thoughts and feelings about the place.
In due course we learn that Mathukkutty had ditched his long time lover Rosy (Alisha Mohammed) to marry the rich nurse so as to help his father out of a debt trap.
There are other characters that were important in his life. One of them is Thomas Master (Nedumudi Venu), his school teacher with Gandhian ideals. Then there is Kochunni (P Balachandran), Rosy's brother and Mathukkutty's best friend in the past who has been baying for his blood since the day Mathukkutty left his sister for a rich wife.
The storyteller in Ranjith tries to make a statement about current affairs and does so with utmost seriousness, using his own voice for the narrator. The film shows the nexus between the media, the police and the politicians that is fleecing the common man and leaving the poor in the lurch.
There are many actors who have become regulars in Ranjith's films recently. Like Tini Tom, who runs a local TV channel and Nandu who plays the character of Mathukkutty's childhood friend.
Mammootty looks jaded, but maybe that is how he is meant to look. Muthumani holds her own playing the terror of a wife.
Kadal Kadannu Oru Mathukkutty is a few notches below the standard set by the director so far. It looks a little patched-up and even directionless at times.