The introduction scene of Suresh Gopi in Kaaval has him helping a chick who has a fractured leg. When an eagle plants its eyes on the chick, Suresh Gopi’s Thampan gives a stare at the eagle, and it flies off. Kaaval is a movie that relies heavily on the vintage swagger of Mr. Suresh Gopi. But to achieve that, Nithin Renji Panicker has gone after a script that would have felt like an okay movie during the ’90s where his leading man was at his prime. Kaaval is an outdated drama with a sluggish pace.
Antony and Thampan used to be the thick friends and business partners in Kattappana. They were that local judiciary who helped the people in that village. But presently, they are not in contact with one another because of certain past events. Antony, who lost one of his legs, is going through a very difficult phase in life due to all the debts. When he became afraid of the security of his kids, as his old enemies were picking on him, he decided to seek help from Thampan. What we see in the movie Kaaval is the events happening after Thampan’s arrival.
As I already said, the script isn’t really making an effort to be unique or updated. You can easily predict the next scene, the subsequent reaction, and even the counter-reaction. There is a moment in the film where Kichu Tellus’ police officer character says, “He is not commissioner to give any special treatment.” Well, the idea here is to trigger the fanboys in us. But the scene falls flat. In art, after a point, specific patterns are called cliché, and the creators should reinvent to make things appealing. The major demerit of Nithin Renji Panicker’s Kaaval is its inability to reinvent the genre.
Even though I wasn’t a big fan of Varane Aavashyamundu, I liked the way Anoop Sathyan used this new version of Suresh Gopi. When it comes to Kaaval, Suresh Gopi is trying to emulate his old charm, but frankly speaking, he can’t achieve that. Even Nithin Renji Panicker is trying to mention that through the dialogues. But rather than showing a Chackochi in his ’60s, we see the same Chackochi in a rather tired attire. Renji Panicker’s portrayal of Antony’s emotional moments was good, while the swagger part was not that great. Rachel David as Antony’s daughter was okay. Sadiq, as usual, is the good cop. Kichu Tellus gets to play that annoying police officer who announces to the audience that he will get beaten up by the hero at one point. Padmaraj Ratheesh, who usually disappoints, was surprisingly good this time.
There is a revenge track in the story that gets revealed towards the end of Kaaval. It somewhere reminded me of the scripting structure we used to see in thrillers almost 20 years ago. The film was heavily clichéd till that point. When this twist started to unfold, it just became one more clichéd trope Nithin used to bring back the vintage version of the celebrated superstar. The pale color scheme and the tight frames with high contrast lighting offers the look the film deserves, but the pacing was a significant issue. Even the film’s ending felt like a hurried ending without giving proper closure to the multiple tracks they opened, just to create enemies for Antony and Thampan. Ranjin Raj’s background score was impressive. Even though the songs were good, the placement of those songs felt a bit forced.
Kaaval is a sluggish action thriller that doesn’t care much about the content because the only aim here is to revamp the action hero image of Suresh Gopi. Every genre and every hero needs a timely update. Kaaval is definitely not that update. And it ends up looking like a half-baked fan tribute to the superstar.
Every genre and every hero needs a timely update. Kaaval is definitely not that update. And it ends up looking like a half-baked fan tribute to the superstar.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended