Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham(Disney+Hotstar)
Starring Nivin Pauly, Grace Antony, Vinay Forrt
Written & Directed by Ratheesh Balakrishnan Poduval
Rating: ** ½
You have probably never seen a comedy like this. The absurdist humour gets more absurd with every passing sequence until we reach a state of furious exhaustion and exasperation not knowing whether to laugh at the oddball goofiness of the situation that the characters find themselves in, or to simply dismiss the endeavour as a botched burlesque, a comedy of errors that Shakespeare could have never imagined.
For all its outrageous leaps of farce, Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham doesn’t quite fall on its face. Though the gags get more wearisome by the minute, the mirth is not all lost in the parodic pandomanium during the pandemic set in a holiday resort in Munnar called Hill Top where a junior artiste Pavithran(Nivin Pauly)and Haripriya(Grace Anthony) have come to repair their marriage.
The startup is amusing. Pavithran is obviously a bit of a scumbag and a trickster. He presents his wife with (cheap) gold earrings pretending they are expensive, then pretends that they got stolen by the hotel staff.
Most of the film happens in the hotel lobby where the interrogation takes place.Sundry characters saunter in and improvise their hearts out in what must have been a banquet of spontaneity for the characters. To a point, Vinay Forrt as the hotel manager, Jaffer Iddukki as the resident drunkard and Rajesh Manaf as a Muslim waiter who pulls out the minority-discrimination card whenever it suits him. Keep the laughter from annihilation . But after the initial jokes about an anonymous junior artiste and his tv serial wife who is recognized by hotel guests, induce a chuckle in the audience.
By the time the drunken guest begins to puke all over the carpet, the narrative loses its plot going from one stale distasteful joke to another. Since the hotel manager’s name is Joby, it is loudly compared with dhobi. Someone looks at our junior-artiste hero Pavithran and exclaims, ‘You look like Nivin Pauly.’
What starts off as a no-holds-barred irreverent contumacious comedy soon settles down to “safe” jokes like, “My name is Manaf Khan, and I am not a terrorist”.
The earrings are eventually irrelevant. What counts is the uniqueness of the humour in KKK and the sparkling comic timing of Nivin Pauly, Grace Anthony, Vinay Forrt and Rajesh Madhavan. The sparring bout between Grace Anthony and the hotel receptionist(played with a glowering joy by Vincy Aloshious)is the most interesting sub-plot of this anorexic storyline.
How I wish the writer-director had worked more on fleshing out the characters,rather than flushing them down the toilet of tawdriness, projecting their anxieties not as jokes but something a little more dignified.