Taking a very slim idea and converting it into an engaging film is a very exciting thing to witness as a viewer. That process sort of shows you the endless opportunities in making a movie. Kappela could have been easily a preachy film. But debutant director Muhammed Musthafa tries to give it that cinematic appeal by giving it multiple genre shades and the end result was an extremely convincing movie that keeps you curious about how it is going to end. With a terrific pool of actors delivering the performances in the desired way, Kappela has the element to excite a cinephile.

Spoiler Alert: Writing a review without revealing a little bit about the twist in the tale is difficult for this movie. So please keep that in mind. Jessy belongs to a very orthodox Christian middle-class family in Wayanad. One day when Jessy called someone, she dialed the wrong number and the call went to an auto-rickshaw driver named Vishnu from Kozhikode. When Vishnu helped Jessy with a few small things over the phone, the relationship kind of grew fast and both of them were serious about it without even seeing each other. The story takes a drastic turn when the two decided to meet each other for the first time and a third person named Roy came into the picture.

In a recent interview, Sushin Shyam was asked what was exciting about the movie Kappela and he said it was the casting. My initial guess was that his answer was a safe one to avoid any complications. But when I look back at the movie now, the casting has played an extremely important role in keeping us guessing about what could happen next. The movie is largely investing time in establishing each character. The first half is dealing with the backdrop of Jessy and Vishnu. The second half has a fair amount of time showing who Roy is. The smartness in the writing here is that you will be reading it in a particular way while watching the movie and you can reread it in a really different way after watching the movie. The ongoing trend of realism in treatment works in favor of Kappela here.

Vishnu is a very difficult character to pull off in my opinion. There is a very polite and humane outlook on this character. Roshan Mathew has that in his performance and when the movie shifts towards that murky space after the arrival of Roy, this character trait and its presentation become a crucial factor. The interesting thing about Anna Ben’s performance is that even though there is a similarity in all the three roles she has done so far, all of them are differentiable on a performance level. We will feel for her character because of the genuine nature of her performance. Sreenath Bhasi is a terrific choice to play the role of Roy. His performance with that usual irreverence suits the character of Roy. The other characters in the movie have minimal scenes comparatively and yet they were all memorable. Sudhi Koppa, James Elia, Nisha Sarang, Sudheesh, Musthafa, Nilja, Tanvi Ram and a few more names are there and they were all convincing.

If I talk about what Muhammed Musthafa has successfully done in this movie, it can become a spoiler. His treatment of the movie was what impressed me a lot. The script is such that we will tend to predict certain things about the movie. From being a moral policing thriller to a Vandanam like tragedy the movie throws a lot of options in front of the viewer. And the other good thing about the movie is that when we finally sense where things are heading, it understands that and doesn’t try to overdo the distraction plan. The fights we get to see in the second half had a real raw feel to its credit and it somewhere reminded me of the fight we saw in Chappa Kurishu. Jimshi Khalid’s cinematography captures the texture of the landscape and the mood effectively. Noufal Abdullah’s cuts were also good in keeping us invested in the story. Sushin Shyam keeps the background score minimal and when the score touched a high when Jessy finally saw the beach, it had a beautiful impact. I liked the songs too which were added to the narrative smoothly.

Kappela could have easily been a problematic movie that sort of supported the moral policing behavior which is prevalent in our society. But the smart thing about this movie is that there are a lot of minimal details in the first view that clarifies a lot of things when we backtrack it. Kappela is a thoroughly engaging drama with a top-notch cast.

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Final Thoughts

With a terrific pool of actors delivering the performances in the desired way, Kappela has the element to excite a cinephile.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.