Saturday, March 5, 2016

ചാപ്പാ കുരിശ് (Chaappa Kurish) (2011)

Director: Sameer Thahir,
Writers:  Jai Krishna, Unni R
Cast:       Fahadh Faasil, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Ramya Nambeeshan
Language: Malayalam

A lost cellphone connects two men from the two extremes of the society and affects their life beyond which they could have imagined.

The title Chaappa Kurish means something like 'Head or Tail' in Malayalam, a fact which I didn't know. During the initial half of the film, the main two characters are played as extreme opposites, not only in terms of the social class that they belong to but also based on their morality. You get the usual rich is bad and poor is good characterization and I was slightly miffed by that. But as the film progresses, you realize that it was necessary because there is a flipping involved which puts the poor guy as the hunter and the rich guy as the victim. Leaking of amateur sex footage as MMS clips and now WhatsApp videos have become a fact of life in India with an element of shame attached to the people involved. Films like 'Dev D' and 'LSD' managed to include them in their story-line in a creditable manner and 'Chaappa Kurish' is also another such example. The characterization is rich and for once, Vineeth Sreenivasan performed quite well as an actor. When you just think how can they end the film in a satisfying manner, Sameer Thahir delivers with a very raw and excellent set-piece which doesn't involve any verbal barrage between the two protagonists. It totally satisfied my appetite as there is no effort involved from the director to justify their actions but just that they fucked up royally. 

It has been a recent phenomenon in Malayalam for cinematographers to become directors and Sameer Thahir is also one from that stable. They have been instrumental in pivoting the industry from one which relied heavily on words to one which explores the medium as a visual one which it is supposed to be. Rajeev Ravi, another cinematographer turned director, did an  explosive interview with Southlive which can be seen as a rallying cry by the 'New-Gen' challenging the old-school guys. Although I don't totally agree with him on all the points, his honesty was just so refreshing. He proved that he can also walk the talk with his two films- Annayum Rasoolum and Njan Steve Lopez. Anyway, it has been interesting times for the Malayalam cinema and looks like the old style is more or less dead. 

Chaappa Kursihu is considered to be one of the ultimate 'New-Gen' Malayalam film but many just use the term to refer to films that are quite honest about sex and morality. They are much more than that. Overall, Chaappa Kurish is a great watch and is one of the best films to come out of Malayalam from recent times. While many of the so called new-gen films descend to cliches during the climax parts, Chaappa Kurishu goes full retard and the result is glorious. It didn't do very well financially but is very superior to films like Traffic which achieved financial success.

Rating: 4.5/5