Kaapa ultimately wants to speak about the never-ending bloodshed in the gangster world. Poetic justice, fear, guilt, etc., are the ingredients that create the characters in that world who are very clear about their wrongdoing and what awaits them in the future. The plot is actually an excellent opportunity to explore that world from a third-person perspective, but the movie seems to be confused about whether to invest in world-building or focus on the style factor, ending up becoming a routine gangster drama with sporadic moments of excitement.
The movie is set against the backdrop of the gang wars that happened in Trivandrum city. Anand, a techie who came to the town with his pregnant wife Binu, comes to know that his wife’s past has certain connections with a notorious gangster named Kotta Madhu. Since Binu was pregnant, Anand wanted to ensure her safety, and his efforts to sort it out with Madhu and what follows is what we see in Kaapa.
The issue with Kaapa is its desire to be larger than life. When a movie that wants to show the flawed side of intimidating human beings ends up worshipping them frequently, the narrative starts to look very familiar, and the intended impact is not achieved. A narrative structure that gives importance to Anand’s way of looking at things might have given the movie a space to create a lingering pain or disbelief in the viewer’s mind. But I guess pleasing the gallery was the bigger priority, and hence Kaapa somewhere became Kotta Madhu’s tale of resistance.
Saying these mass lines in his signature style with that voice modulation is almost a cakewalk for someone like Prithviraj Sukumaran. But in Kaapa, the dialect makes it even smoother. And it wasn’t like Kotta Madhu was a template action hero. There were moments in the story that showed us his guilt and vulnerability. Anand was very safe in the hands of Asif Ali, as he is known for depicting vulnerability most believably. Aparna Balamurali as Madhu’s wife, Prameela, was good. The same can be said about Binu, played by Anna Ben. The way the movie’s climax gave these two actors a space to establish their characters made me wonder whether the initial draft had better scenes for these two. Jagadeesh, Madhu’s right hand, and Dileesh Pothan, the main antagonist, delivered memorable performances.
Shaji Kailas emphasizes the style element in his treatment of this film. Even on drone shots, Shaji Kailas tries to incorporate a dutch angle. I haven’t read the source material by GR Indugopan to make any comparisons with the movie. But somewhere, I felt Kaapa was revolving too much around Kotta Madhu, so it becomes very difficult for the audience to think about the others in that universe when the movie ends. And the story of Madhu also looks very generic. The agility one could feel in the trailer of the film is clearly missing in the movie. The frames by Jomon T John use these dramatic lighting styles, which look stylish for sure. But there were certain scenes where a single color got too saturated and looked odd.
Despite having solid performances, Kaapa is a gangster drama that couldn’t reach its full potential. A more balanced script that focused more on building the world through every character in the story rather than just one or two leads would have helped Kaapa in being a lot more impactful.
A more balanced script that focused more on building the world through every character in the story rather than just one or two leads would have helped Kaapa in being a lot more impactful.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended