Wednesday, September 17, 2014

കിലുക്കം (Kilukkam) (1991)

Director: Priyadarshan
Writer:    Venu Nagavalli
Cast:       Mohanlal, Revathy, Jagathy, Thilakan

Joji (Mohanlal) is a poor tourist guide in Ooty who is dependent on his roommate and 'still photographer' Nischal (Jagathy). He encounters a Malayalee tourist named Nandini whom he mistakes to be a rich girl. It turns out that she is a bit mad and they get stuck with her. 

I was not really planning to watch it when it came on TV yesterday but the fact that I went through the whole film just like that is testament to its quality. The comedy scenes from the film have been repeated numerous times on TV channels and I haven't seen the film as a whole for a while. So I was surprised to see how well it stands up even now despite being very familiar with many of the sequences. The main reason for that is unlike more recent comedy films in Malayalam, which are just several set-piece sequences strung together, you don't feel the set-piece nature of the sequences because there is a natural progression to the whole thing. The many of the comic aspects is in the way the different characters interact and most of them have a love-hate relationship. I think the prevalence of set-piece comedy sequences in Malayalam films could be attributed to the influx of people from mimicry background into the industry. We can even see that in the nature of comedy that 'In Harihar Nagar' has, but it is rightly considered as one of the best comedy films of all time in Malayalam because it kind of takes best of both worlds.

I was surprised to see that Venu Nagavalli wrote the screenplay for this film since I associate him with a different kind of films in the mould of 'Sarvakalashala' and 'Lal Salaam'. Priyadarshan's 'Minnaram' and Venu Nagavalli's 'Kalippattam', both of which came out later can be seen as following a similar formulae to 'Kilukkam' and am not talking about all of them being set in Ootty. Only drawback of Kilukkam is its very low production quality which one does not usually associate with Priyadarshan films. It looks as if everything was rushed and they didn't try to perfect any of the shots and didn't give a fuck about the visuals that they were getting. For a film that is set in Ootty it looks quite atrocious. One reason for it could be that Mohanlal was very busy those days. I checked it out and he had ten major releases in 1991 starting with Kilukkam!!! All the four main characters along with Innocent are in true form aided by the excellent script. It is light-hearted whole the way through and should be seen as a pure comedy film instead of picking faults in the storyline. It was remade into Hindi by Priyadarshan himself as 'Muskurahat' which was a box-office disaster. Kilukkam ran for more than 300 days and collected three crore rupees in 1991. 

Rating: 4.5/5