As I have been saying of late, Malayalam cinema is on a roll these days. Kaanekaane is yet another brilliant Malayalam film that is now streaming on OTT (Amazon Prime) which made me wonder as to where do Malayalam films find such out of the box themes and mostly original!
Like the other recent fine film Aarkariyaam, it is difficult to box this film too to a particular genre. Not because the narrative is confusing but because the genre keeps shifting as the story unfolds. Is it a family drama or a murder mystery or is it about today’s social life – the screenplay keeps you guessing.
Director Manu Ashokan and the writers Bobby and Sanjay, don’t at all underestimate the intelligence of the viewers. In fact, they overestimate it. So much so, in the initial few scenes, nothing is explained explicitly. It took a while for me to realise that the two male leads are Father in law and Son in law and not Father and Son! That also means that the film demands you to remain focussed lest, you will miss critical plot points just like that.
The story revolves around an above 50 year old man played by Suraj Vencharamoodu whose married daughter is killed in a hit and run accident case. Unable to get over the grief, he still wants to bring the culprit to book, notwithstanding the dragging of the case. At the same time, he is also unable to see his daughter’s family (son in law, grandson) moving on in life that too so quickly. This leads to some interesting twists and turns which is what the story is. Anything more than this will be a total spoiler!
The beauty of the screenplay is that our own empathy, instead of being with one character (which is what happens normally in films) keeps shifting from one main character to another.
A script like this needs a solid casting. Suraj, who as I have said before is one of the finest character actors in Indian cinema today, once again proves that here. Tovino Thomas as his son in law gives him able company with his restrained performance. Watch the scene when both of them come together in a school scene and you would understand why I talk so high of Suraj. The female lead is played by Aishwarya Lekshmi in a character written so beautifully. She brings the underlying conflict of her character so very well and probably is one of the best performances seen from a female lead recently.
The film is taut and at 2 hours paced very right. The screenplay keeps alternating to the past and present with the editing playing a crucial role. At times it’s challenging to make out if it’s past or present, as the past is not far too long and just a year ago. So, the characters don’t undergo any major physical transformation (rightly so) but that also makes it difficult for us to comprehend what’s happening.
It’s almost a flawless film in my opinion. If I have to nit-pick, it will be just for the heck of it. Like, the character of Aishwarya which is shown to be with a lot of maturity in the present is also shown to be very unstable just a few years ago! Towards the end, the film gets predictable and the Director opts for a safe and a most acceptable ending.
Overall, Kaanekaane is a fine film which I would put under “Don’t miss” category! Watch it and thank me later.