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Cold Case Malayalam Movie Review: A Tepid Frozen Numbskull Whodunit!



Cold Case

Cold Case (Malayalam, Amazon  Prime)

Starring: Prithviraj SukurmaranAditi Balan

Directed by: Tanu Balak

Rating: * ½

Prithviraj Sukurmaran  , an actor  I reasonably  admire , has  issued a video  after the  film’s  release  saying it is  a crime to reveal  the film’s suspense  after seeing  it. A bigger  crime , if you  ask me,is making  viewers  sit through this long stretched-out  whodunit where  foreplay  is all.The payoff is  so puny and  unconvincing, it is almost laughable.

This is one  of those  misguided  suspense thrillers  whose architects  think they are  too clever to be making  films in  a  third-world  country. So  the shots are ‘European’—camera peering from behind the sofa, under the  bed,  inside the  refrigerator,etc. Poor cinematographer Girish Gangadharan. I worry for his  back and neck  .

And all for  nothing. The  film is finally as  scary  as  the day  your wife  pulled  a prank  on  you by  telling you straight-faced  that  your mother-in-law is coming  to stay permanently  .

All the characters  in Cold Case take themselves too seriously. They  seldom  smile and  nobody cracks  a joke  . They probably know the  film is the biggest joke of  all. Deadpan is  the chosen form  of  expression by all the actors, none more so than Prithviraj  who  was  a livewire an  expressions ki dukaan with Rani Mukerjee in  Aiyaa.

Aiyyo!  That was long ago. Prithvi  has sobered down now. In Cold Case (the title  is  a ‘dead’ giveaway as  the  victims’s body is stuffed into a fridge)  as  the investigative cop Sathyajith(wow, that is  indeed so subtle)   Prithvi  carries a uniform  what-the-fuk-am-I-doing-here expression throughout. His stoic face  gives away nothing(probably because there is  nothing  in  the script to  give  away). The  only time Prithvi’s  face breaks into  a smile is towards the end.

That, dear friend, is the expression Dr Manmohan Singh  had  on his face when he  finally stepped down.

Meanwhile—yes, sadly it’s not over  yet—in another part  of the plot a single mother , an investigative journalist  Medha(Aditi Balan)  struggles  to bring up  a rather annoying   little  girl who seems  rather  obsessed  with an ugly doll. The over-inquisitive maid wants to know  why Medha   gave up on a husband who  didn’t beat her  up  after getting drunk.She has  a point.

Apart from Aditi Balan’s Medha  all the important  female  characters  are  weird:  a stupid bully(Medha’s boss’ wife), a  bizarre occulist(Suchitra Pillai) who made me  laugh every time she started  her mumbojumbo , and  an avaricious killer …There, I’ve  committed a ‘crime’. I have revealed that  the killer is  a woman.

 Hang me,sue  me. But first, please get the  brains  behind this numbskull whodunit which starts with  a buried skull and ends  with a sniggering doll. What can we say about a film wherein  the  most  expressive character is a  refrigerator  which has seen better days.

So has  the  suspense  thriller.

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