Captivating cinema with controversial take on unconsciousness-Entertainment News, Firstpost
Kaanekkaane’s heart and soul is Suraj Venjaramoodu who has taken an incredible journey in recent years as a leading character-to-man artist.
Kaanekkaane is not easy to insert. It’s a thriller to some degree, but an unconventional addition to this genre since the big reveal comes long before the climax. The reason for this narrative structure is obvious: the mystery-that-was-initially-not-considered-a-mystery is at the heart of the plot, but at its core, this film is less about the suspense around it. element that it is a study of human psychology.
Directed by Manu Ashokan whose first feature film was the excellent Parvathy-starrer Uyare (2019), KaanekkaaneThe effectiveness of s relies on its meticulously measured incremental disclosures over its central trio. Manu and the writers Bobby and Sanjay (who also wrote Uyare) are determined not to paint any of them as a villain or an all-out angel, which is the whole point of the film, the source of its brilliance but also its Achilles heel since this determination leads to suggest a questionable equivalence between two characters. This controversial comparison calls for a long discussion, but the film nonetheless remains captivating from start to finish, not only as a thriller but also with the gradual outcome of the moral questions it raises.
It starts with a slightly gray haired Paul (Suraj Venjaramoodu) buying chocolates, candles and matches from a roadside store. The latter are for a visit to a cemetery, the chocolates are for his grandson Kuttu (Alok Krishna).
Paul then arrives in a house and the door is opened by a young pregnant woman. She calls him Daddy but he seems to know little about her and they are clearly uncomfortable with each other. We gradually learn that she is Sneha (Aishwarya Lekshmi), wife of Allen (Tovino Thomas) who was previously married to Paul’s late daughter, Sherin. (Shruti Ramachandran) died in an accident.
In a calm and unhurried manner, the narrative moves back and forth between the past and the present to establish the easy-going equation of Paul with Sherin, the father-son bond between Paul and Allen, Paul’s quest for justice for Sherin, how Allen and Sneha met, the load on the grieving Allen’s mind, and the inexplicable strength eating into their relationship. Abhilash Balachandran’s directing and fluid editing ensure that there are no obvious heralds of these changes over time, but spotting a change becomes an enjoyable exercise without being a constraint.
Each scene adds a new piece to the puzzle, while the Ranjin Raj’s music is used to enhance the enigmatic atmosphere of the film and its air of intense sadness.
Kaanekkaane talks about how lives can be forever changed with one decision, how guilt or bitterness can consume people, about the attractions, pushes and intricacies of relationships, and how, in a moment of weakness, even an ordinary human being can be capable of shocking even unusual and morally repugnant acts.
This brings us to the only problem with the film. Two people in Kaanekkaane engaging in briefly awful conduct at separate points in time. It’s not impossible to believe that real people could behave the same way, but it’s disturbing that the storytelling implies an equivalence between their actions. The first was criminally heartless, made worse by a pile of lies, and progress towards this final act is inadequate; the second is a momentary, credible and relatable loss of consciousness with an accumulation towards it which, without justifying it, helps us to understand how it could have happened.
The forgiveness that comes at the end depends on whether this duo sees themselves as guilty as well. In reality, it’s likely that they came to that conclusion, but the problem is, the movie itself seems to take a stand the way they are.
Bobby and Sanjay are mainstays of Malayalam cinema, and until that second when these two individuals are assimilated by implication, the narrative is flawless. Here, however, one gets the impression that the convincing characterization has taken a back seat to the point larger than Kaanekkaane aims to do.
It doesn’t help this turn of events that Sherin’s writing isn’t as detailed as the others, and her relationship with Allen isn’t as fleshed out as the others. The sudden surge in emotions and conspicuously elevated sound design in the final scene also doesn’t match the low-key tone of the film thus far.
As this debate continues, it is clear that Kaanekkaane is captivating and beautifully played every step of the way.
Tovino and Aishwarya are as immersed in their roles as ever, making it difficult to pass an unequivocal judgment against their characters. Although very different films, Kaanekkaane is a worthy continuation of the electrical chemistry that they evoked on the screen in Mayanadhi (2017).
The secondary characters in this film are also well interpreted and well played.
The heart and soul of Kaanekkaane, however, is Suraj Venjaramoodu who has had an incredible journey in recent years as a leading character-to-man artist.
If you thought that it was not possible for him to surpass his own performance in Android Kunjapan Version 5.25, Vikruti and the pan-Indian rage of this year, Great Indian cuisine, you thought badly. Venjaramoodu seems to be in possession of a secret weighing instrument on which he determines the optimal quantum of emotions to be expressed on the screen without the effort being visible. His perfectly calibrated acting in this film is embodied in this conversation in which he tells Allen about the life he had planned for if Sherin had been alive. He broke my heart in this scene.
There is much to recommend in Kaanekkaane, and just at the top of that list are two words: Suraj Venjaramoodu.
Kaanekkaane is streaming on SonyLIV.
Note: *** 1/2