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Review: Kalimannu's intentions are noble, but...

August 23, 2013 15:34 IST

A scene from KalimannuThe film may have worked better as a documentary, writes Paresh C Palicha.

You are enveloped in foreboding with the very first shot of director Blessy's Kalimannu. No, it is not because of the furore Kalimannu created in the media much before its release. It’s because the film begins with an attempted suicide by drowning in the sea.

That is not all. In a little while, we witness the fatality of using a cell phone while driving.

As the film moves forward, it becomes progressively gloomier despite the item songs that are squeezed into the first half hour of the narrative. These 30 minutes are also about the bonding between a woman and the baby growing in her womb.

The premise here is pregnant with possibilities (no pun intended) and Blessy tries to explore everything; from taking the sperm of a brain dead person to pre-natal care and the actual delivery.

Added to these are the atrocities committed against women and the intricate web of moral and legal issues surrounding the subject (with unending television debates that have celebrities from the film world and the political sphere)... It made you wonder, could this theme have been tackled better as a documentary?

Meera (Swetha Menon), a quintessential item girl from Bollywood, is on the threshold of stardom. Her first film as lead actress is awaiting release. But, on the day of the preview, her husband Shyam (Biju Menon) is involved in a fatal road accident while replying to her text message and declared brain dead.

The doctors suggest Shyam should be taken off the ventilator and his organs donated. Obviously, it is a difficult decision for Meera; it shatter her dreams of having children and leading a happy family life.

This is when her friend Sophie (Suhasini Maniratnam), a scholar on the subject of fishes, tells her she can still have Shyam's child before donating his organs.

Thus begins Meera’s battle with the legal system and the moral police as there is no precedent for such a case.

We move forward to the pregnancy and a few lectures on pre-natal care and stem cell research (which gives the filmmakers an opportunity to publicise the hospital and the lab jar). But we sail through this section smoothly with the help of the beautiful lullaby, Lalee Lalee.

The next round of the battle commences after the proceedings inside the labour room are telecast live. It goes without saying that the whole thing is loud and cacophonous.

Meera’s character makes us wonder how someone from an underprivileged background, who made a living by dancing in cheap bars before entering films, can be so articulate and clear in her thinking? It feels like she is mouthing the lines given to her.

The same could be said of Shyam, who was a taxi driver before his wife made it big.

Biju Menon is sober and sweet beyond belief.

Finally, we have to say that Kalimannu may have been made with noble intentions, but it is too loud to be good.

Rediff Rating: 

Paresh C Palicha in Kochi