Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham Review: A Mindless Fun Adventure Designed For Real Laughs
Director of Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham: Ratheesh Balakrishna Podhuval
Featured actors of Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham: Nivin Pauly, Grace Anthony, Vinay Forrt.
Streaming platform: Hotstar
Review by Arjun Menon
There were high expectations from the moment Ratheesh Balakrishna Podhuval announced his second directorial release with Nivin Pauly in the lead, following his solid debut Android Kunjappan which was released almost two years ago. Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham streaming on Hotstar reinforces the offbeat and catchy sensibility of a filmmaker who overflows with a flair to extract humor from the most banal exchanges that we see all around us, in the secret corridors of spaces audiences and the uncomfortable silences that resonate in male-dominated speeches.
The film draws its grueling narrative strength from the classic confusing comedies of yesteryear patented by Priyadarshan, which dealt with a host of downright absurd characters trapped in a vicious, comedic loop that ensues in one grand, twisted comedy of errors. The director here uses the bedroom drama format to tell the story of a group of people trapped in a seemingly comfortable hotel in Munnar where the main characters come to reinvigorate their lost honeymoon, in an effort to create a sense of belonging in their faltering marriage.
Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham transcends the boundaries of routine honeymoon comedy with its refreshing plot and character choices. The touring couple find themselves in a bit of a bind over a lost earring that triggers an obscene tale that unearths secrets from the past, revelations and mud throws within the hotel lobby limits. Pavithran (Nivin Pauly) is a junior artist in films, who fails to land a substantial role in films due to lack of real talent and his wife Haripriya (Grace Anthony), a former “serial actress”, coerced into a life away from the spotlight, which seeks to set the record straight with her emotionally distant husband, finds herself in a mess when the MacGuffin leading the plot – a newly gifted earring, a symbol of a truce in the difficult marriage disappears inside the hotel premises. The situation is spiced up by an array of wacky and idiosyncratic characters who inhabit the highly regarded hotel, which once housed famous movie stars, a detail that allows the director to inject a reverent look into the film with movie posters and references. alot.
The film draws its zealous energy from a densely populated ensemble cast that is tied together by a looping storyline that pretty much acts as a twist for the characters to erupt into frustrated rants about their depressing lives, societal pretensions, and strengths. which animate the very sense of their being. The film sacrifices plot on the altar of honest character work that lends voices to players stuck in the weird and oddly confusing universe of the play the film opens with in the first place. The writing is quite tangential in the sense that characters, at various points in the conversations, slip out of the object of their pursuit; gold, to deliver cheeky lines on current social, political and cultural aspects of modern life which they often contradicted with their heightened emotional outbursts.
The setting is quite impressive as we get the sense of the slowly winding tension in the closed space as random guests populate the hotel lobby; a writer on the hunt for his next novel, the hotel manager desperately trying to disconnect from his homework for the day to meet his nagging girlfriend, a bunch of odd room service boys led by a man at the hotel curious look who has no qualms about rejecting the minority status of his religion in the face of people at will, as soon as an accusation is brought to him; a casual but slightly uncomfortable portrayal of today’s India and its sectarian religious prejudices. The camera effortlessly switches between fierce close-up monologues and wide shots capturing the inherent chaos that creeps in using physical comedy with abuse and punches thrown at each other.
Nivin Pauly is polite and perfect in a role that requires him to be fragile and cartoonist in all the right places, proving once again that he handles physical comedy most effectively among the younger generation of Malayalam actors. Grace Anthony also brings a lived depth to the character whose basic design flaw is overcome by her seriousness. The male-dominated narrative surprisingly has two women grounding the proceedings by making their decisions for themselves instead of waiting for the men to save the day. Vinay Fort also gets a well-written part that takes advantage of his distinct vocal ranges with ample support from Jaffer Idukki who does the heavy lifting with his well-written repartees.
The film fumbles lightly in its final act, which is supposed to be the long-awaited climax of the various individual installation installments revealed early on, only to fall back to a steep payoff, with a slightly overloaded streak towards the end aimed at getting laughs but laughs. were dead by then and we pretty much walked into a strange space, with no idea how to react to events unfolding onscreen. The Wes Anderson-esque nature of the film pretty much ends with some of the visual choices made and framing devices chosen, and the film ends up having neither the philosophical weight of an Anderson film nor the pleasures of escape. pure derivatives of a Priyadarshan comedy, falling into new territory that may or may not work for everyone. It’s a film designed to serve as a harmless laugh amid all the disturbing news that surrounds us and we can only sit back and wait for deeper implications for the insane and timely fun the film offers.