When the film was first announced that Roshan Andrews and duo script writers Bobby – Sanjay was going to cinematize the life of Kayamkulam Kochunni I was all excited, because I like their body of work and this is their maiden attempt at history and only once in a blue moon Malayalam cinema gets this kind of movie. And with Gokulam Goplan backing, it was going to be made in a bigger canvas and recruiting technicians from Bollywood- Binod Prathan as DOP and Sreekar Prasad as Editor. It was a spectacle to be waited for. The movie which was supposed to hit screens during Onam got delayed because of the Kerala floods. But was worth the wait.
Story of the good boy next door Kochunni becoming the high-way thief aka the Kayamkulam Kochunni. I won’t delve too much into the details as it could take the sheen out of your viewing experience. But will focus on few key points. Kochunni has the views of a socialist and doesn’t try to do anything about it, until when his life takes a turn. And the movie takes a whole of the first half to set the story up and in between gives few thrills. And I was suspecting why the director is employing slow pace of storytelling, when he had a thriller treatment in the beginning portions of a feel-good women centric film How old are you. No, it was a set up. He was preparing for the intro of the other bandit, Ithikara Pakki. He was setting the plane of transformation for Kochunni. And Mohanlal, as Pakki (in a cameo) carries the Kayamkulam Kochunni on his shoulders (literally and metaphorically), and after that the film is on a roll.
Nivin Pauly, puts up a fine performance and has done the stunt portions well. The role suited him well the first romantic portions and later the super hero sequences, but I felt he lacked a bit of charisma to carry few of those portions. It could be a career changing role for Sunny Wayne, as he plays the cunning Keshavan Nambiar, the nemesis to Kochunni, first in Kalari and later as the Police officer. And it was interesting to see Babu Antony, as the Thangal the guru of Kochunni, wielding a urmi and fighting as he’s an exponent of Kung-fu in real life.
Of the action sequences, the setting of duel fight inside the human pyramid was awesome, with little space, the camera work was well executed. And the climax action portions were superb, I would rate it as one of the best action war sequences in Malayalam cinema.
And Hats off to Gokulam Goplan, as his earlier big budgeted spoof period drama Kammarasambhavam film failed, despite that he went ahead and without putting any curtails finished the movie. And at a time when a half-baked Superstar vehicle like Abrahaminte Santhathikal striking gold at BO, films like Kochunni should be a runaway success. And the success of this film will give courage to the film makers and producers to try their hand frequently in period movies.
Of all the positives and the huge amount of hard work put in. It’s one of the longest Malayalam film, in terms of the days shot- 160 days. And the hard work is evident on-screen. But felt glitches in few areas (where he was betrayed, when he decides to get married and the way he’s helping the poor).And, the director failed in keeping the viewers on the edge, which Roshan and the writer duo was able to easily do in their previous films. Had these portions also well executed it could have been arguably one of the best films ever, but squander the opportunity instead offers a good cinematic experience. The movie-buff in me was half satisfied but the normal cinema goer in me had enjoyed the tale.