|Mammootty, Nyla Usha|
A heart wrenching tale of an old couple's intense desire titled Adaminte Makan Abu, several awards and film festivals later, writer-director Salim Ahamed comes back with Mammootty in tow. The film, Kunjananthante Kada, however turns out to be a meek affair in whole, narrated in a lazy manner.
Kunjananthan (Mammootty) is running a modest shop in a sleepy village called Vattippuram in Kannur. He is a bit too much attached to the shop, which makes his wife Chithira (Nyla Usha) angry. The couple is not ready to make adjustments in their married life and they are finding the going tough.
After a while, Kunjananthan is asked to vacate the shop when the authorities decide to widen the road. He is distraught but there are not many to share his angst. The film meanders along without any definite direction for the rest of its running time with all clichés added in plenty.
Basically the whole story deals with these issues but is surprisingly superficial. But that is a pity considering there is a relevant premise here, which sadly loses its strength thanks to a rather ordinary script.
Salim Ahamed has a spectacular technical crew to support, including cinematographer Madhu Ambat and Oscar winning sound designer Resul Pookkutty, besides a terrific actor like Mammootty, who has shown a new meaning to subtle acting in the past with roles in gems like Thaniyavarthanam, Amaram and Valsalyam to name a few.
Here the actor delivers an earnest performance, but is left with a role that lacks any real depth or challenges. None, including his family members, friends or the viewers understand why he cannot shift his shop to a nearby building even at a later stage. And he never really tries to understand his wife's grouse at any point of time as well.
There are desperate efforts to give a realistic mood to the situations and when everything fails, the hero resorts to soliloquies to reveal his feelings to the viewer. As it is mandatory in formulaic films in Malayalam, virtues are added aplenty to the hero that becomes pretty too heavy after a while for him to handle, considering the rather ineffective way the character has been molded.
Evidently in an effort to make it contemporary, the heroine is conveniently made to mention her addiction to Facebook and chat rooms. It could have been done to please the “fans” to add more grey shades to the character. If the hero's wife is not desperately in love with him, she has to be made a baddie, right?
Still, debutante Nyla Usha comes up with an impressive show. The rest of the cast has done their parts in a fine way. The Kannur dialect, mainly used by the lead pair, is attractive. The visuals, the sound and the songs by M Jayachandran are top notch. The background score however jars at times though.
Kunjananthante Kada has its moments that need to be appreciated for sure, but you get the feeling that the viewers have been taken for granted by the makers here. It is hard not to be disappointed by this one!