Friday, July 29, 2016

കിസ്മത് (Kismath) (2016)

Director: Shanavas K. Bavakkutty
Writer:    Shanavas K. Bavakkutty
Cast:       Shane Nigam, Shruthy Menon, Vinay Forrt
Language: Malayalam

The film narrates the real-life story of a Ponnani couple, a 27 year old scheduled caste woman and a 23 year old Muslim man. There is considerable opposition from the boy's family to their relationship. The film begins with them approaching a Police station in order to get protection for them to get married. The back-story of how they met and fell in love is told only in the second half through a couple of sequences. 

Shanavas is making his directorial debut with this film and he gets a good support with Rajeev Ravi's production house backing the film and Lal Jose doing the distribution. It also got a very good pre-release hype, considering the low-key cast it has got, through its trailer and songs that they released. Ponnani is one town in Kerala that I haven't visited yet and has been on my to-visit list for some time. It not being in the main highway that is usually taken for a visit to northern part of Kerala is the reason why it has not been covered yet. We also got a brief glimpse of this town in Rajeev Ravi's 'Annayum Rasoolum' as well.

The basic thread of the film is kind of bare and it more or less works as a day in the Police Station from the perspective of the couple. 'Action Hero Biju' is another recent film that was set in a 'Jana Maithri' (people-friendly) Police Station. While that film opted for its Police Characters to be almost 'too good to be true' regarding their general nature, Kismath is a much more cynical take on the corruption that exists in these places. One could say that a Police Station would take the character of those who run the place and this one is run by not so good characters. Kismath, I suppose is a much more realistic portrayal of a Police Station without being too pretentious about how realistic it is, unlike Abrid Shine's 'Action Hero Biju'. But some might consider it tilting to the other extreme with its considerable cynicism.

When a story like this is told with the declaration that it is based on real life events, you can pretty much guess how it is gonna end. Some people might take exception to its thread-bare plot but I enjoyed watching it. It is overall a good watch with good performances from all concerned. The whole film is pretty much riding on the lead couple's shoulders as it could very well derail if they turn out to be grating. That is not the case with a very raw performance from Shane Nigam. But you wish Shruthy Menon could also have been a little rawer but I guess they wanted her to be a little more dignified considering the age difference between the two characters. This is also done subtly in a song as well with the female voice being a bit more adult. It will be very encouraging if films like these do well at the box office.

Rating: 3/5