Kolamavu Kokila: An Uneven Yet Decent Entertainer
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Directed by Nelson, Kolamavu Kokila is a black comedy starring Nayanthara, Yogi Babu, Saranya Ponvannan and Jacqueline in lead roles. The film’s concept isn’t novel. In fact, the main problem that the lead character deals with has been thrust in the way of many films in the yesteryear. A much more recent example is Laaga Chunari Mein Daag. But unlike many of its predecessors, Kolamavu Kokila doesn’t indulge in melodrama. It takes us inside the struggles of Kokila through a comedic treatment which is refreshing to witness. But Kolamavu Kokila though fairly entertaining is far from perfect. If a little more attention and refinement had gone into conceiving the screenplay, this could’ve been a great film.
Kokila (Nayanthara), a simpleton hailing from a lower-middle class family is in dire need of money. Her perfectly boring life is toppled upside down when she receives news that her mother (Saranya Ponvannan) has been diagnosed with lung cancer. Having to procure an enormous amount of money in a short span of time, Kokila resorts to drug peddling in order to save her mother. The nasty people she has to deal with and the struggles she has to get past forms the crux of the film.
The subject of Kolamavu Kokila is one that has been previously explored many times in Tamil Cinema. In Kolamavu Kokila, the central character is forced to take up an unscrupulous job to relieve her family of their financial distress. In Laaga Chunari Mein Daag too, the central character is faced with a similar dilemma. But the treatment director Nelson takes us to deliver this subject is what makes this film unique. Rather than resorting to an overly dramatic way of delivering this tale, he spruces it up with comedy. In this process, he not only manages to break the stereotypical characters the women in cinema are usually offered but also presents you with a refreshing take on this conventional subject.
The film travels at its own pace. Not once does it picks up speed in fear of boring the audience. The director’s confidence over setting the pace of the film without making sacrifices to the plot is quite admirable. Another noticeable strength of the film is the characterization.
From Kokila to her family and the man who is head over heels in love with her, all the characters are developed in such a lively and intriguing manner. For a change, it is a joy to see the female characters take up roles that are usually handed over to the men. Whereas the men in the film just stand around watching the proceedings with nothing significant to do. This role reversal is fun to watch. Some of the best scenes in the film are the interactions that take place between Kokila and her mother.
The first half of Kolamavu Kokila sails by breezily without a worry. It gives you a little bit of comedy, spruces it up with a few plot twists and you receive enough entertainment and content to sustain your interest. But post interval things take a turn for the worse.
For one, the tone of the film is quite inconsistent. Even half-way into the film, you don’t understand if Kolamavu Kokila wants to be a full-fledged black comedy or a thriller. It tries to merge both genres but in doing so, it leaves both of these themes unfulfilled. This inconsistency leads to a string of problems in the screenplay.
A film as different as Kolamavu Kokila thrives on the active participation of the audience. You expect the film to engage you and immerse you in the character’s journey. But till the end, you will remain a distant spectator of the film. Due to the director’s failed efforts at trying to convincingly establish the enormity of the family’s financial distress, you never take the proceedings in the film too seriously. This invariably leads you to question the genuinity of Kokila’s actions and its repercussions.
For a film that deals with drug peddling, Kolamavu Kokila is completely devoid of suspense. You are just left with empty anticipations. Even the manner in which these drug peddling missions are carried out, undetected appear quite juvenile. This unconvincing staging coupled with the lack of suspense make the second half of the film a tiresome watch,
Furthermore, Kokila’s family has no quirks whatsoever. This makes it hard to buy into the dark comedy angle of the film. From here on, the film feels all the more strenuous as it goes on to repeat the same chain of events over and again.
As Kokila, Nayanthara puts forth reluctance and doe-eyed naivete through her performance. But after a while, her performance becomes too monotonous. Yogi Babu is splendid. His comical timing and spontaneity are some of the predominant reasons why the film is entertaining. It is a relief to see Saranya Ponvannan play against type in a role that constantly challenges her existing image.
Music Director Anirudh’s background score is quirky and lends the film a light-hearted rhythm. It saves the essence of the story in many underwhelming scenes.
Sivakumar Vijayan’s cinematographer captures the dramatic and dark side of the film. The cinematographer’s framing is always on point and he experiments with a few interesting angles.
On the whole, Kolamavu Kokila is a decent entertainer. But if you go looking for depth and perfection you will be disappointed.