Paresh C Palicha reviews the Malayalam movie, Kutty Srank.
We always rue the fact that the aesthetic quality of Malayalam cinema has deteriorated to unimaginable levels.
There may be a few genuine reasons for them; one being the parallel cinema movement where film-makers aim only for critical recognition of their work and awards without thinking about the common man or commercial success.
There were a lot of mediocre films that fell into this category of filmmaking which sounded the death knell for Malayalam cinema in general and the parallel movement in particular.
However, there are a few directors who have stuck to the original values of the olden days by producing work of quality. Director Shaji N Karun is one such person whose Kutty Srank starring Mammootty harks back to the olden days.
The film is about a character whose story is told from three different perspectives by three woman he was involved in different stages of his life.
The pivot of the narrative is Srank, and women narrate their experiences with him after he is found dead by the police. Revamma (Padma Priya) is the first to tell her story. She tells about his violent streak when he worked as a servant in her father's house. Revamma is a graduate in medicine from Ceylon, but who refuses to join her father's hospital and wishes to take up Buddhism as a rebellion against her father. Srank had supposedly killed her mother when she was a child.
Up next is Pemmena (Kamalinee Mukherjee) who reveals the social revolutionary side of Srank. How he takes on a priest of an orthodox church who is against the freedom of creative expression. Srank, who is an orphan, does not believe in God. Still, he is given the role of the main lead in the play to be performed during the annual festival of the church which irks the priest and his staunch followers.
The third one is Kali (Meena Kumari) a mute lady who is supposed to be a bad omen by the villagers. She is four months pregnant with Srank's child when she narrates her story of how Srank protected her from the hostile villagers.
We may have seen many stories using this kind of narrative technique. But here the main flaw is that there is no element of surprise or shock employed. It solely depends on Mammootty's skills to pull it off. There may be not much difference in his physical appearance in the three parts but he differentiates the between the three through his mannerisms and dialogue delivery.
Of the three female leads; Padmapriya is dependable as usual. Though she does not have any extraordinary lines or demanding scenes, she still makes her presence felt. The other two actresses -- Kamalinee Mukherjee and Meena Kumari -- have better scope of showing off their histrionic capabilities.
Kutty Srank, Shaji Karun's latest offering may be layered in its narrative techniques but still it depends on Mammootty the actor and may not be for the casual viewer.