If Annayum Rasoolum was Rajeev Ravi’s ode to love in its purest form, Kammattipaadam is a musical tribute to Kochi’s past; of a marshy agricultural land sacrificed to make way for the metropolis. And its people, who toiled in the mud and loved selflessly, only to lose everything at the end.
Kammattipadam, like Steve Lopez (2014), mourns the loss of innocence at the hands of the greedy, indifferent, and the deceitful. It is violent, like Ravi’s other two movies. And it is unflinching. The film has noble intentions. It brings faces on screen that conventional Mollywood would never approve of. It takes their side and sings their songs.
Much like Steve Lopez, Kammattipadam progresses through a protagonist who is in pursuit of a missing person. Krishnan (Dulquer, with a thick moustache and salt on his hair), is a security guard at a film shooting location in Mumbai. He gets a call from a long-lost friend, Ganga (Vinayakan), who is also a goon in Kochi. Ganga tells Krishnan (in a rather ominous tone) to return to Kochi and take back his former lover, currently Ganga’s wife. Sensing that his best friend is in danger, Krishnan heads home, and begins searching for Ganga.
In spite of a genuine attempt at neo-realism with deep emotional undertones, Kammattipadam falters at several points. For instance, in the opening sequence, a fatally wounded Krishnan is hobbling on a road in the middle of nowhere. A KSRTC bus stops before him, and he boards it. The conductor asks Krishnan to cough up money for the ticket. The man is bleeding, trying hard to stay conscious. And yet, there is no visible reaction from fellow passengers or the bus crew.
In a Rajeev Ravi movie, that’s no surprise. Society, as a whole, is a cold bunch with no sympathy. The greedy and manipulative win the game, and the poor and less intelligent fall prey to the system. They’re also the ones with the rare ability to love wholeheartedly.
When Krishnan arrives in Kochi, Anu (Shaun Romy) asks him exasperatedly, “Are you insane? Why are you looking for him? If you were the one in danger, would he have come to save you?” There’s the déjà vu moment. We have heard this before. In Njan Steve Lopez, Steve begins to immerse himself in a problem which isn’t really his business, and the people around him question him in the exact same way. In Kammattipadam, we aren’t watching a different movie. We’re watching an extension of Rajeev Ravi’s world.
Steve is the story of a teenager’s journey towards understanding the bitter realities around him. There’s no such transformation in Kammattipadam. The characters never undergo a drastic change, although they are, at times, pushed to different places by fate. Ganga, in the end, remains the naïve, short-tempered guy he always was. Although he has momentary pangs of guilt and sudden realisations, there is no larger change of heart.
Krishnan, the best looking man in Kammattipadam, is also the gang’s brain. He almost never jumps into issues. He knows when to keep quiet, and when to scream. When he finds out about Ganga’s one-sided love for Anita, he doesn’t immediately react. Surendran, the former teashop owner, discovers and nurtures Balan, Ganga, and Krishnan’s violent instincts. Till the very end, even as his wealth grows substantially, he remains the ever-smiling manipulator.
The nature of the script lends predictability to the story. Even as Krishnan goes from door to door in search of Ganga, we expect no twists or a happy ending. Because this guy, an impulsive alcoholic, has always lived life on the edge, and created more enemies than friends. Anything could have happened to him. He is the kind of a person no gangster would want to kidnap. Never a conspirator, never worth any ransom; Krishnan’s quest generates no surprises.
For a Rajeev Ravi film, the mediocre VFX and dramatic action sequences are a surprise. The level of violence certainly merited the ‘A’ certificate. Composer K’s music peps up these action sequences. With his adrenaline igniting music, he even manages to make the sight of bones cracking look cool. He is to Rajeev Ravi what Amit Trivedi and Sneha Khanwalker were to Anurag Kashyap in Gangs Of Wasseypur.
Dulquer is Mollywood’s luckiest actor these days. He has films in every genre, and as an actor, constantly outperforms himself with each film. Manikantan, a theatre artiste, is perfect as Balan, Ganga’s brother. There are numerous characters in the background who appear for less than a few minutes, yet create an indelible impression. Like Ganga’s grandfather, who dies of a heartache.
Vinayakan is the undisputed star of the film. He has powerful body language and the ability to deliver dialogues as if he owns the lines. He is flawless as Ganga. Watch him singing the song of his ancestors at a wedding function. He may not know what the lyrics mean, but he’s enchanted by the tune. There is a moving sense of irony in the scene. The Kammattipadam described in the song is long dead, and on that land stands a city that has no place for his people. All that he has left, is the song.
The Kammattipadam review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.