Dr. Biju’s films always had that politically strong agenda to its credit. His latest film Kaadu Pookkunna Neram featuring Indrajith and Rima Kallingal in the lead roles is also dealing with a strong political statement on the general unquestioning notion of the public on the Maoist movements that has been happening in India. While the theme sticks to its basic agenda, the occasional drama in the cinematic aspect reduces the intensity of the film.
A police battalion comes to a rural forest area to camp as they got information about Maoist activities in that area. One attack on the camp and the following search puts one policeman in a stranded situation with a so called Maoist in the middle of the forest. The film basically is his attempts to get out of the forest and what all things he learns during that journey.
The policemen in the movie are sort of representatives of the general society. Their knowledge about the agenda of Maoists is peripheral and they don’t wish to go beyond that information. Through the policeman character, director teases the general audience for their apolitical approach and also mocks the system for being an intruder using power. By showing the unapologetic harshness the authorities have towards the minorities, Kaadu Pookkunna Neram etches out almost every discrimination a suppressed group faces from the system.
The typical Dr. Biju style of depicting it in the realistic tempo occasionally drags the movie too much. It is definitely an attempt to show us the desperation and helplessness of the policeman, but it’s a bit too much at times. The script impressively covers all the aspects and consequences. But when it comes to presenting the thoughts through dialogues, the stage drama feel spoils the soul of the film. The confrontation scenes between the lead pair look realistic when they run and fight, but the verbal exchange wasn’t gripping. The visuals show the depth and scariness of the wild. The sound design was of great quality. A tidier trimming would have made it a bit more intriguing (may be because of the director’s style). The occasional placement of BGM was a bit odd.
Indrajith as the policeman has the calmness to be that relatively soft and open police officer. His portrayal in the second half of the film reminded me of Vattu Jayan in some areas. Rima also puts in a lot of efforts in being the character physically. Where both actors can’t give that perfection is in the dialogue delivery. There is a scene where Rima’s character actually summarizes what Dr. Biju wish to say through the film; stating about the government policy to suppress those who put negative opinion about government schemes. Those dialogues weren’t getting delivered with the right feel. Indrans as the School teacher, Prakash Bare as the police chief and Krishnan Balakrishnan as another police officer are the other popular actors in the cast.
The movie deserves to be watched in the present day scenario and to be honest I was a bit surprised with the selection of Kaadu Pookkunna Neram in the Indian Panorama category of the IFFI and competition category of IFFK. Not because it was undeserving or something, but the political stand of the movie had that element to create discomfort to the authorities.
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