Sunday, September 13, 2015

കൂതറ (Koothara) (2014)

Director: Srinath Rajendran
Writer:    Vini Vishwa Lal
Cast:       Sunny Wayne, Bharath Srinivasan, Tovino Thomas, Mohanlal
Language: Malayalam

Koobrin, Tharun and Ram are three students from Kerala who end up as roommates while studying a course (Electronics & Communication Engineering like many of us) in which they don't have much interest in. They end up getting dismissed from college and the start-up IT firm that they launch only helps in increasing their debt. Not knowing where to go and what to do, they meet a mysterious man in a Bar who starts influencing them. 

It is very common in Malayalam cinema these days to lecture us about moral and social lessons relating to motivation and responsibilities and the film is kind of a genre-bender by doing it in a very different way by adding some magical surrealism to it. Predictably, it bombed at the box office because the audience just can't accept films that surprise them in a good way. It is the same phenomena that happened to 'Double Barrel', whose box office returns is a sad indictment on the so-called intelligence of Malayalee film audience. Koothara has not yet been broadcast on TV channels and when it finally does, I expect people to wonder, in an ironic fashion, why it didn't do well during its theatrical run.

The common feedback that I got from people who had seen it was that the first half of the film was good but second half is terrible starting from the introduction of Mohanlal as the 'Mer-man'. I thought the first half was rather average with some good laughs to go with some terrible acting from Bharath. Bad dubbing can always spoil an otherwise good film and I don't know why they couldn't do it well or cast someone who is comfortable in Malayalam. College and hostel life is portrayed with quite good authenticity but overall it is inferior in every way compared to what was done in 'Premam'. I like the second half of the film and especially Mohanlal's cameo as the mysterious 'mer-man'. I am quite sick of Mohanlal and Mammootty giving us life lessons through their larger than life roles and this is how they can do it in an enjoyable way. Another annoying feature from recent films is the way they refer to older Malayalam classics and most of the time I find it obnoxious. This one does it in a subtle enough manner in sync with the story to make it enjoyable. There is even a throwaway reference to director's debut film, Second Show, which he did with Sunny Wayne. 

Overall it is a good watch and the makers should be applauded for their bravery to do an experimental film. Performances on the whole is quite good and I enjoyed Mohanlal's deliberately hammy performance. Cinematography is gorgeous, especially in the second half with boat scenes. The CGI, when it is used, was also quite good considering the industry it is in.  It is a good second film from the writer-director duo. I'll certainly check out their next feature when it happens.

Rating: 3/5