Vampire Owl: The movie had become the big talk during these days.
Vampire Bat: It was related to the pot-holes on the roads.
Vampire Owl: Well, vampires don’t really need the roads.
Vampire Bat: Humans are really in need of some good roads.
Vampire Owl: I have heard that Doctor Frankenstein has developed a formula for it.
Vampire Bat: He cannot even prepare the levitating ground for vampires.
Vampire Owl: Sir Frankenstein is a much better scientist than what you think.
Vampire Bat: Well, you cannot depend on pseudo-scientists at all times.
Vampire Owl: He will prove his worth as an award winning scientist this year itself.
Vampire Bat: You keep waiting for it for an eternity.
[Gets an onion vada and three cups of butterscotch ice cream].
What is the movie about? :: Rajeevan (Kunchacko Boban) has been living as a thief for most of his life, and has been in and out of prison many times after being caught for such small thefts. He meets Devi (Gayathrie Shankar), a Tamil labourer, and after falling in love with her, decides to stop all illegal activities and start a family. One night, as Rajeevan returns after a temple festival, he almost gets hit by an auto rickshaw, which makes him jump over a wall – he lands in the frontyard of the local MLA’s house and is bitten by his pet dogs, only to be accused of trying to rob the politician’s home. The police and the locals believe the accusation as he has had a history of being thief, something written clearly in the police records. Devi who knows his history also suspects him, and despite her being pregnant, does not want him to be anywhere near him. Rajeevan decides that he has to prove his innocence, and also wishes to punish the person who is responsible for his plight, and for the same, he starts with finding the auto rickshaw.
So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: He starts by finding Sureshan (Rajesh Madhavan) who was driving the auto rickshaw called Aayiram Kannumayi, and it turns out that he lost control of the vehicle as he came across a pickup truck which was driven by Johny (Sibi Thomas) tried to avoid hitting a bicycle which fell into a pot-hole in front of MLA’s house. This makes the PWD minister KP Preman (Kunhikannan Cheruvathoor) the man responsible for these sequences of events which led to Rajeevan being bitten by the dogs and branded as a thief again. He takes the advice of Advocate Gangadharan (Gangadharan Kuttamath) who is an old acquaintance – he also decides to help him in the case, even though there is not much of a hope in fighting against a cabinet minister. Even though they manage to get Chief Minister Deepa (Unnimaya Prasad) accept the complaint and approve of action, proving it in the court would be a more difficult thing. The politicians and their goons along with their money power would make things tough, but can he come out of it and hold the minister responsible for the pot-holes on the road?
The defence of Nna Thaan Case Kodu :: The satire has not been used that effectively in Malayalam movies in this century, with only a few exceptions going beyond it. But this movie has made sure that it is done well, and this time, it has also worked well with the common family audience too. The movie also serves as a reminder that Kunchacko Boban has evolved a lot, while we also realize that there are so many skilled newcomers waiting to make their appearance in the films – Malayalam movie industry seems to be taking a lot of them, unlike Bollywood which has always rooted itself in nepotism without shame. The movie scores with situational comedy as the court proceedings go on. There are also some smart dialogues added to the same, some of them which makes us think about our plight, and it does make fun of those in power whenever possible. The advantage of this movie as well as Vaashi is that they are not ridiculously loud and spitting mass dialogues like Jana Gana Mana did as if the court belonged to the protagonist’s father. We will remember this movie for the moments which focus on what the common man needs.
The claws of flaw :: With its use of the idea, Nna Thaan Case Kodu could not go on to become something like the perfect satire Sandesam and the near-perfect satirical comedy Pranchiyettan and The Saint – it falls short of making such a usage. It could have done a lot more with the content which was there to be used. There is a certain amount of lag which we also feel, as the movie goes long with the programmes in the court. The language is difficult to follow at times, and unlike Solamante Theneechakal, there is not Malayalam or English subtitle for the Tamil dialogues here, and neither it is present for the Kasargode slang which is much divergent from the same language used in other parts of the state. Maybe they could have used English subtitles for the whole movie, at least for the theatres which were part of the multiplexes in shopping malls. We also do feel that some of the situations displayed here might not be possible – even though we feel the realism, we wonder if such things can ever be possible in real life fighting against the political dominance. The tale required some extra punch to make sure that it goes to the next level.
The performers of the soul :: Kunchacko Boban had shown signs of changing track from the old romantic hero and the man of humour through the thrillers like Anjaam Paathira, Nayattu, Pada and Nizhal, and even moved further from the true love elements with his Bheemante Vazhi. This one has him in another avatar which we are going to remember, as it is so much dependent on him, even though other performers are not far behind with the moments that they get – the problem is that we don’t really know the names of most of them, but we can appreciate them as a whole, as the cast seems be very well prepared to suit the world of this movie. Gayathrie Shankar makes a fine entry into Malayalam cinema, but as she plays a Tamil labourer and never speaks anything in Malayalam, the true entrance to the industry would still have to wait – she has surely come with a very good supporting performance though. Among the actors, Gangadharan Kuttamath who plays the protagonist’s advocate and PP Kunhikrishnan who plays the magistrate are to be specially noted. But most of the humour is effectively handled by Rajesh Madhavan and his lover, whose name we don’t know – their moments led to to the whole theatre breaking into laughter.
How it finishes :: Nna Thaan Case Kodu has been in the news for a few days after its release as it talked about the pot-holes on the road in Kerala in its poster, and it lead to the call for boycott of the film by some of the followers of the ruling party, but the PWD minister himself said that a movie is to be seen as the work of art. There were many discussions related to the same in the television channels. Anyway, it is nice to see that the movie has risen above all of these to become the most watched film in the theatres these days, and as a work of satire, it holds a fine mirror in front of the audience. It not just a reminder of the pot-holes which have been bothering the people of Kerala for a long time, but also a reflection of the irresponsible politicians who have gained victory over their opponents because the options were less. The movie can be considered as a protest against all the MLAs, MPs and ministers not just in Kerala, but also in the centre, as politics should not be the last refuge for anyone or the result of nepotism, but an opportunity to serve the people. This movie is indeed the needed satire of these times.
Release date: 11th August 2022
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: Ratheesh Balakrishnan Poduval
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Gayathrie Shankar, Rajesh Madhavan, Basil Joseph, PP Kunhikrishnan, Sibi Thomas, Kunhikannan Cheruvathoor, AV Balakrishnan, Shukkur, Gangadharan Kuttamath, Mridul Nair, Unnimaya Prasad, Bhanumathi Payyannur
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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.