Saturday, August 22, 2015

കുട്ടേട്ടൻ (Kuttettan) (1990)

Director: Joshi
Writer:    Lohithadas
Cast:       Mammootty, Jagadish, Thilakan, Murali
Language: Malayalam

Vishnu/Kuttettan (Mammootty) is a rich planter living in a hill-station and trying to lead a life of a bachelor while his mother and wife lives in his hometown. He is a womanizer and to make matters worse, most of his pursuits can be categorized as bordering on the peado-category. While he is struggling to actually fulfill his pursuits, he meets a much senior fellow (Thilakan) with similar interests and approach him to mentor him. They arrange him a 15-year-old girl, whom is taken to his house only to be discovered by his family who made a surprise visit. To escape from the situation, he lies to them that the girl is in fact his daughter from an affair that he had prior to his marriage. To complicate the situation further, his family adopts her into the fold, creating conflict between him, his mentor and their pimp (Murali).

Whether you rate the film or not would depend upon whether you see Mammootty's character as a heroic lead or not. For all intends and purposes, it is really a negative role and I don't know whether it was written to be perceived as such at the time of its release. Even by liberal standards, he is really a piece of shit character whose pursuits are largely exploitative in nature. Mammootty has a penchant for playing such roles in a comedic manner and his role in 'Azhakiya Ravanan' is another such example. Kuttettan is a 42-year-old good looking man married to an average looking woman, an alliance that looks to have been arranged by the elders rather than out of love. They can't conceive a child but the clever thing done by the writer is that he doesn't explicitly use those as a justification for the character's actions. It is as if he would have done the same things even if he was in a happy marriage. This is made even more clear in the last scene of the film when he winks at a nurse who is taking care of him after an accident. 

Overall it is a very good watch with an excellent first half of the film and an alright but convoluted second half. Mammootty should be praised for accepting such a negative role, even if he didn't realize it to be so or if it wasn't perceived as such at the time of its release. Kuttettan is not much different from the role of Pattelar he did in 'Vidheyan'. I liked the fact that the the makers opted to do the social commentary in a subtle manner without giving the audience a sermon on things. His martial status comes as a twist in the film, which makes the first half of the film relatable to all kinds of people. I would've liked it even more if they had kept his feelings towards the girl at the end in an ambiguous manner with a deliberate nod to 'Lolita'. I thought that would have been more interesting than the conflict between him and his pimp. Still, it is a very good watch as long as you don't consider the main character to be heroic in any sense. I do think the writer wanted it to be a negative role and there is even a product placement from Snuggy (Nappies for kids), which I found to be ironically funny, during a song sequence. Mammootty is generally at his best when he plays rich, arrogant but foolish characters and this one can be added to that.

Rating: 3.5/5