Kaanekkaane is Suraj's triumph all the way, declares Divya Nair.
Manu Ashokan's directorial debut Uyare was a hit. So naturally, I was excited about his second film Kaanekkaane.
Starring Tovino Thomas, Suraj Venjaramoodu and Aishwarya Lekshmi, Kaanekkaane is a slow burn Malayalam thriller drama.
Paul (Suraj) meets his grandson and son-in-law Allen (Tovino) nearly a year after his youngest daughter Sherin's accidental death.
While he is pursuing the hit-and-run case seeking justice for his daughter, he half-heartedly warms up to Sneha (Aishwarya) as he discovers how the trio has quietly moved on and now prepping to welcome another child.
Right from the start, we see friction between the relationships of Allen, Sneha and Paul. Between flashbacks, we are told the story of Sherin's death.
Just when everyone is trying to bury old wounds, Paul finds an old photograph of Allen and Sneha that raises some important questions. So he sets out to investigate the version of events and digs out the truth behind his daughter's death.
The truth obviously is unsettling for all.
There is guilt, a hint of revenge and a whole gamut of emotions that draw you further into this plot.
At any given point, it&'s hard to paint a character as good, bad or evil. And that's the beauty of writers Bobby-Sanjay and Manu's direction.
The casting is just perfect.
It's amazing to see Suraj's fabulous transformation from the entitled husband in The Great Indian Kitchen into a loving father in Kaanekkaane who is understanding yet doesn't hide his embarrassing emotions, guilt and grief of not being able to move on. He expresses his reluctance to move on and forgive through his choice of words and uncomfortable body language.
The scene at the hotel in which Allen confronts Paul is a must watch.
While you feel sorry for Paul's loss, you are equally sympathetic towards Allen's state of turmoil and Sneha's continuous tireless efforts to find a balance and bring the family together.
I loved the way Manu treated the single father-daughter relationship in Uyare and he takes it a notch higher in Kaanekkaane.
What I felt was missing is the circumstances that brought Allen closer to Sneha despite him having a perfect marriage with Sherin.
The relationship is presented from Sneha and Allen's point of view but I was curious to know what Allen thought and why he eventually did what he did.
Meanwhile, the young Alok Krishna who plays Kuttu, their eldest son, is cute as a button; he's absolutely adorable and a natural actor who brightens up the screen with his mere presence.
Ranjin Raj's music and background score is brilliant. There is just one song in the film and it stays with you.
The climax is the turning point of the film.
Kaanekkaane is Suraj's triumph all the way.
If he is nominated for best actor this year, the only competition standing in his way right now would be Indrans, who surprised everyone in the family drama Home.
Kaanekkaane streams on SonyLIV.