The script of Kammara Sambhavam tries to be a spoof and satire of two things; the current political picture and the glorification or distortion of history in “based on true story” movies. It’s actually a very interesting idea to create a film. But some of the political statements made by this movie are annoying because it feels like a deliberate attempt to feed in certain thoughts in the format of a satire. I will have to reveal a few spoilers in the next paragraphs as it will be difficult to address those things without certain level of revealing, so reader discretion advised.
Kammaran Nambiar is a man who is in his 90’s now and is someone who was there when the British ruled us. He was loyal to the British, the Indian land lords and even to the Indian Liberation Party who during the time of freedom struggle was a rebellious and wanted bunch of armed people lead by Othenan Nambiar. In the present day, the party ILP needs a reboot to enter the main politics of Kerala and their shortcut publicity tool is to make a film about Kammaran and ILP to get the sentiments of the people. How that movie is constructed and the aftermath of that is what Kammara Sambhavam telling us.
The movie’s running time is 182 minutes which feels like almost 200 minutes with Interval coming in between. The first half shows us the actual story of a vengeance seeking crooked Kammaran. The second half is about how he gets a glorified cinematic version. The problem is when the mixture of genres happens and certain agendas are bypassed as “comedy”. The movie in a way is trying to educate people that most of the things we know as history is not entirely true. I won’t disagree with that statement entirely. But Murali Gopy spoofs that with a story that has two people trying to assassinate Gandhiji, whom on real life where patriots and the cheater becomes a glorified sacrificed hero. The specificity of this chapter is actually the concerning part and I feel this is where the inner Kammaran of Murali Gopy comes out. The screenplay here is so crooked that Dileep’s character at one point is talking about things that were mainly about his current off screen scenario, and ironically that part of the movie was a fabricated story.
The variation Dileep has got in being a Sound Thoma and a Valayar Paramashivam justifies why he is the perfect one for this character. While the prosthetic makeup wasn’t that authentic, he was convincing as both the dishonest and stylized Kammaran. Siddharth was also convincing as he had two shades in the movie to play. Namitha Pramod was in control of her character. Murali Gopy was nice as the frustrated Kelu Nambiar. Take Off fame Divya Prabha was good in the role of Kammaran’s sister. Indrans portrays the role of ILP Surendran. Bobby Simha, Vijayaraghavan, Siddique, Manikkuttan, Baiju, Vinay Forrt, Shwetha Menon and many others are there in brief roles.
The more than 3 hour long movie wasn’t a boring experience for me and that sort of justifies the fact that Rathish Ambat has done a neat job in his directorial debut. The plus and minus of the movie is in the script. While the idea of the mixing exaggerated cinema version of real life stories and political power plays into a black comedy was good on a one liner level, there are areas in this movie where what they are saying subtly will bother you. Like I said, Murali Gopy has written a tricky screenplay where you will find the intentions as twisted but the writing interesting. Sunil KS’ cinematography was impressive and he approaches the two halves of the movie differently according to the need. Cuts were crisp. The music was fine but it wasn’t that memorable or catchy. The production design of the film also looked nice.
At the end I felt a little disappointed looking at the scope of what the movie could have been and what it eventually became. Kammara Sambhavam has moments of technical quality for sure, but it also has moments that really can’t be encouraged.
Kammara Sambhavam has moments of technical quality for sure, but it also has moments that really can’t be encouraged.