|22 Female Kottayam|
|Rima Kallingal, Fahadh Faasil|
|Biji Bal, Rex Vijayan|
The film’s title lists three inspirations (conveniently shown as ‘filmography’) – Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, Sriram Raghavan’s Ek Hasina Thi and N Sankaran Nair’s Cabaret Dancer. Tessa K Abraham (Rima Kallingal) is a young nurse, who hails from Kottayam and is now working in Bangalore, hoping to find a job abroad. Her parents are dead and she has a younger sister, studying in Kochi. She lives with two other girls, one of whom is having a cozy relationship with a married older man, DK (Sathar).
Tessa’s life changes abruptly after the meeting with a young man named Cyril Mathew (Fahadh Faasil), working in an immigration consultancy. She falls for his ample charms quite easily and even moves in to his apartment as she waits for her visa. But as she learns soon after, fate had different plans in store for her.
Well, there is an honest attempt to make a genuine film here. It has been presented very well, especially with top-notch visuals by Shyju Khaled and superb music by Rex Vijayan and Biji Bal.
But the problem is with the film’s script, written by Abhilash K Nair and Shyam Pushkaran, which is full of contradictions. Though it is being projected as a female oriented theme, things ends up as ‘male chauvinistic’, at times. The whole story has been set in a modern backdrop but search deep and you find that the modern world is being shown nothing more than one of booze, sex and hypocrisy.
The areas that needed more focus have been handled with in a less serious way. The character of Tessa itself is rather half-baked, with her nature fluctuating quite abruptly. At times she is naïve and gullible, but moments later she can be smart and even bold. Her transformation from a weak hearted simple girl to a tougher woman perhaps holds the key to the proceedings later on, but the focus is not really on her during those scenes. The strengths in ‘Ek Hasina Thi’ ends up as less effective, in this version.
More details about all these could take away the fun and we would just leave it at that. There are flaws, yes. The film could have been more gripping, yes. But that doesn’t take away the sincerity with which the film has been made. The film is way ahead of some of those celebrated and more successful films that we come across in Malayalam.
After ‘Nidra’, Rima Kallingal comes up with a spectacular performance, yet again. She has poured her heart into her character and it needs to be appreciated. Fahadh Faasil is really good and so is the film’s other recognizable actors like Sathar, Prathap Pothen and T G Ravi.
22 Female Kottayam may be far from perfect, but it is a movie in the right direction. Such efforts should be well appreciated, as it is a step that leads to better cinema.
Watch this one!