Watching Salim Ahamed’s Kunjananthante Kada is akin to quenching your thirst with fresh and unadulterated water from a pristine mountain stream, after having gone through a parched desert. Rarely does a movie capture your attention with its arresting quietness and pregnant inner meanings.
A tale that is told with an earthly charm that is so endearing that it never entangles the viewer. It doesn’t hit the road,it doesn’t complicate,it creates no fuss,it just weaves a tale of charm that won’t leave you spellbound,but will surely leave you satisfied. As far as rustic tales go this one should stand head and shoulders above those inflated and clich ridden movies that pretend to be narrating the village life with all the customary ingredients that pander to the tastes of the so called family audience.
Salim Ahamed allows the movie to prosper itself without pressing on the accelerator intentionally so as to make it racy or appealing to any section.He had a tale to narrate and a convincing one at that.Kunjananthan his protagonist is multilayered,profoundly deep and represents a generation that is at a cross roads and a serious viewer can get these nuances throbbing in each and every frame of this movie. Kunjanathan(Mammootty),is a traditionalist to the core, who runs a provision store in a small hamlet in the interiors of Kannur.Married to Chithira(Nyla Usha) with two kids,life is rather uneventful for him as he hardly gets any time to think beyond his shop which was handed down to him by his father.The shop is Kunjananthan’s soul and he loves it more than everything.
He is not the conventional hero who is the byword for all the virtues in the world.He is a good samaritan of course, who runs his business in a proper manner without resorting to any devious methods.But his rather extreme attachment towards the affairs related to his shop bordering sometimes on obsession,has ensured that his marriage is virtually on the rocks. Chithira his wife struggles to put up with his ways and finds solace in social networking websites like facebook.Kunjanathan’s utter disadain for her is explained away by him in a strange manner like a typical male chauvinist, who expects his wife to toe his line.
Kunjanathan has his strange world views and his strong objection to his landlord played by Siddique who requests him to vacate the shop, so that he could sell his land to clear off his debts,borders on selfishness. Kunjananthan has grey shades aplenty and he is brazenly apolitical and his run ins with poiltical outfits of all hues show that he lives in a cocoon of self created comfort.He fears to move beyond his comfort zone and he thinks that his world views are perfect and beyond reproach. As Kunjanathan postpones his living with his own logicalities or illogicalities which seldom cut any ice with his wife and others a series of incidents happen which turn his life upside down.
Kunjanathan and his handful of mates who run small establishments in the hamlet realise that however hard we may try to resist, time will ring in the changes.The wheels of development of which road expansion constitutes a major part, mostly comes to a grinding halt in our land as it encounters issues of land acquisition and local resistance.It is a weighty issue and has portents that goes beyond the scope of a movie and the message that Kunjanathante Kada conveys towards the end may not be easily palatable to all and sundry.The lessons that Kunjanathan learn may have made him a better human being but whether,what he eventually ends up is worth emulating is debatable. Mammootty delivers a performance of consistent authority and panache and his ability to transform into the skin of a character with consummate ease is underlined once again with his remarkable portrayal of Kunjanathan.
It is easily his best role in recent times and he carries the movie with finesse that can also be attributed to Salim Ahamed for his rounded scripting and measured direction.Resul Pookkutty’s towering presence is palpable in each and every frame as sound becomes a character with sync sound being used in an exhilarating manner.We’ve heard about frames being used to narrate a tale,here sounds are used to terrific effect.A traditional North Kerala village in all its grandeur,charm and naturalness is unveiled before us.
Nyla Usha puts up a competent show as Mammootty’s wife and she looks mature beyond years,hardly overawed by the megastar’s presence.Their chemistry or the lack of it is arrestingly captured.Balachandra Menon is in hs elements as an advocate,so is Salim Kumar as a Govt . servant and Siddique in an afore mentioned role.All others have done their parts to perfection.Frames of Madhu Ambatt are first rate and Salim Ahammed surely owes a lot to him for captivatingly bringing to life the village in his mind.Songs don’t hold too much significance in the general plot.
Kunjanathante Kada smartly brings to life a slice of life in Northern Kerala with the kind of spontaneity that even veteran directors would be proud about.It raises questions galore,though not seeking to find answers for all of them.It is as a film it scores and not as a moving portrayal of our times.It is essentially a zeroing into the life of an individual through a seemingly larger canvas. And Salim Ahammed is surely showing that he is not a one film wonder. Politics of the movie may be debated upon in the days to come but Kunjanathante Kada will stealthily make its way into your hearts with its delectable charm and honesty and ultimately will disappear with a slice of your heart, and you surely won’t complain!!! Kunjananthante Kada is getting very good response from the people.
According to sources, the first half of the film is said to be very sweet and feels realistic and a family related romantic story. Mammootty once more proved his ability and status on the malayalam industry as Mega star. Salim Ahamed proved once more his self. Mammootty’s last release Kadak Kadannu Oru Mathukutty not yet get a good response from the people. But now Mammootty coming backs strongly through this film.
Verdict: Verry Good