Thursday, May 7, 2015

ചിറകൊടിഞ്ഞ കിനാവുകൾ (Chirakodinja Kinavukal) (2015)

Director: Santhosh Viswanath
Writer:    Praveen S
Cast:       Sreenivasan, Kunchacko Boban, Rima Kallingal
Language: Malayalam

We are familiar with films getting adapted out of literature stories from the likes of Shakespeare, Philip K. Dick, Anton Chekhov, Stephen King etc...I guess it is a first, at least in Malayalam film history, where a film is adapted from a kooky story told within five minutes inside another film. Kill Bill was adapted from something said in Pulp Fiction, but that was more of an expansion of the idea rather than a story summarized, which is then fully adapted to a feature film. The said scene, from the film 'Azhakiya Raavanan', is one that has been quoted numerous times since then and is part of Kerala's daily lingo which is a very common phenomena here. Even I thought, before I heard anything about this film, that it would be an interesting idea to develop that story into a feature film. But the problem is how can you make it interesting when all the people know the basic story and the solution that filmmakers found here is to make it as a spoof on cliched aspects of Malayalam film-making techniques from recent times. That makes total sense since Ambujakshan's (Sreenivasan) story, 'Chirakondinja Kinavukal' (Broken Dreams), from Azhakiya Ravaanan was also basically a spoof on 'Painkili' novels from Malayalam weeklies.

Spoof is not a genre that Malayalam film audience is familiar with and one could cite  'Udayananu Thaaram' as a spoof film which went about it in a subtle way. 'Chirakodinja Kinavukal' is anything but subtle and it makes sure that the audience is aware about this from the off through a running commentary. There is a sense of spoon-feeding to this aspect of the film and they could have avoided it in some places and trusted the audience to catch the jokes on their own. On the whole it is quite uneven but there is plenty of laughs to be had and even though I haven't seen many of the films it is laughing at- like Traffic, Bangalore Days, many other so called 'new-gen' films- jokes are accessible which is again another way of saying that it is not subtle. It also makes fun of the old-school style of film making which involves too much melodrama and larger than life characters who are very good at stunts, dancing for no reason and classical music. It doesn't restrict itself to laughing at just the cinema people but also cast a wider net by tackling many of the current affairs in Kerala including the SSLC clusterfuck which happened just over the last two weeks.

Overall it is a good one-time watch that could have worked even better had they cut it by about twenty minutes or so. It is not subtle or all that intelligent but draws enough laughs to justify its tag as a  spoof film. You don't expect much from this genre anyway if you take away classics like 'Funny Games' and 'This is Spinal Tap'. It is a really good effort from all involved as it is quite out of the box for a Malayalam film. Hope it does well so as to encourage more people to take such risks. But I really don't think it will do well because the common Malayalee audience these days have some pre-conceived  idea about how a film should be, which is essentially what this film is mocking. There were about 20 people in the cinema hall for the screening that I was in.

Rating: 3/5