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Kaanekkaane, Another Malayalam Masterpiece





Starring: Suraj Venjaramoodu, Tovino Tomas, Aishwarya Lekshmi,Shruti Ramachandran

Directed  by:  Manu Ashokan

Rating: ****

Kaanekkaane(SonyLIV,Malayalam) Movie Review: To call this  film a terrific thriller would be  an understatement.  It is a master class in the teacher  and  the taut,  bound to be shown to generations of film students  as  to how thriller can be made without losing its grip as it slides into tearful emotions.

In many places in the  sinewy storytelling(written by that wonder-duo Bobby &  Sanjay) I found myself  close to tears. Elsewhere  I was so  involved  I forgot my sorrow. The credit for sweeping us  along into a cyclone  of  emotions  must go to  the lead  actor the  veteran  Suraj Venjaramoodu who plays a grieving father of a daughter he  loses in a  hit-and-run accident. This,  we  come to know gradually .

One  of the joys  of watching  Kaanekkaane is to not be spoonfed  information.  The audience is  treated with  respect and allowed to figure out the  interrelationships and  the dramatic  tensions without  running commentaries.  Then there  is Suraj Venjaramoodu, an actor  so skilled in communicating the subtlest of shifts  in the dramatic tension that his face becomes  the map of the plot’s heart.

Suraj’s performance as  Paul  Mathai  the father who won’t let go,is   in the same  league  as Anupam Kher in Saaraansh,  only more subtle  nuanced layered  and …angry.  Yes, this father  won’t rest easy until he  gets  justice for his  daughter.

The main  conflict of this  powerful drama is between Paul  and his  son-in-law Alan(Tomino Tomas  shining in a complex morally ambiguous role)    who is now married to another woman who is expecting a child.

If all this sounds  like unnecessary dramatic baggage  in  the plot, let  me hasten to add, nothing, not one shot in this masterful  portrayal of guilt  revenge and acceptance is superfluous. The  narrative is   sparse and  lean. The drama  unfolds with minimum ostentation . The flashbacks showing how  beautifully  Paul bonded with his (now deceased) daughter and his son-in-law are heartbreaking in their  glimpsed  joy.

We want to see more of Paul’s past happiness. But the  narrative is cruelly temperate. There is  no time here  for self-indulgence.By  the  time  Paul  gets  the chance to finally bury his daughter’s  death , the  characters  have exhausted their  appetite  for  nemesis. The closure comes in such a heartrending blow . Given in lesser hands it would appear  to be  a filmy tradeoff. In  Kaanekkaane, a work so  steeped in splendour it doesn’t need to  broadcast its brilliance, the theme of  forgiveness run neck-to-neck with  the  issue of  guilt.

How  far would you go to grieve and get  justice for your loved one? No matter where  you go, there is always the conscience  to challenge your volume of vendetta.  Kaanekkaane is  beautifully crafted  story  of retribution and reconciliation with some  thoughtful performers who know what  they are  doing.

Bollywood needs to learn a  lesson  or two in subtlety  from  Malayali cinema.

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