By the time I finished watching the Television premiere of the Tovino Thomas starrer Kilometers and Kilometers, I found myself comparing the core idea of this movie with Zakariya’s Sudani From Nigeria. Both movies are ultimately about the humanity that connects people beyond language and culture. While Sudani from Nigeria was trying to place the story in a very rooted reality, Jeo Baby’s Kilometers and Kilometers is an extremely simplistic movie and the film is very vocal about its humanity agenda.
Josemon, our hero belongs to a struggling family that has a lot of financial issues. Josemon doesn’t have a proper job but earns a living by doing various mechanical works. His father’s bullet means the world to him and even in the worst phase of financial liability he never tried to sell that vehicle. But just when that no longer seemed like an option, he gets this peculiar offer to take a US citizen named Cathy across India in his bullet for which she will pay him on a daily basis. The eventful journey of Josemon with Cathy that goes through a lot of unprecedented events is the core theme of Kilometers and Kilometers.
Just like almost every other road movie, the intent here is to deliver a feel-good movie where the characters go through a self-realization phase. It’s a tried and tested formula and if you look at it, Malayalam cinema hasn’t really tried that genre of light-hearted road movies. The predictability is a constant problem for this film as we are frequently expecting something to go wrong. At a very early stage itself we would have a template in our head. A problem will happen, a conflict will occur, they will work together to resolve the problem, and eventually, a bond will be formed between them. The story here is well and truly within that template, but as I said, because this isn’t a theme that we have seen in Malayalam much, a curiosity factor was there.
Jeo Baby who has also written this movie is trying to plant the statements about our socio-political scenario through the various characters we see in the movie. Our lead pair is seeing a lot of the bizarre realities in our society and as Cathy is from a developed country she becomes a tool for the director to express his anger. But none of this is that subtle. Instead of speaking about such things through visuals and situations, we have characters literally talking about those problems. The conflict in the story is not a surprising one and towards the end, things are entering that cheesy romantic space. The frames are definitely creating the mood of a road movie. But somewhere I felt the edits couldn’t map the length of the journey of the two effectively. Sooraj S Kurup’s tracks added energy to the narrative.
Tovino Thomas as Josemon is convincing. His performance in his scenes with India Jarvis (Cathy) could have easily fallen into that idiotic space. There is a small control in the way he has presented the illiterate aspect of Josemon and I think that made his character a likable one. India Jarvis as Cathy was fine. It was actually towards the end of the film, she got a space to perform as the film was primarily focusing on Josemon. Sidhartha Siva, Joju George, and Basil Joseph provided some comic relief for the viewers through their characters.
I really hope I won’t have to do another review after the television premiere of a movie. Yes, the reach the movie gets is truly great. But an uninterrupted premier for a movie is every filmmaker’s right. Kilometers and Kilometers is a guessable feel-good travel movie that never tests your patience and at the same time doesn’t offer you anything extremely special or unique.
Kilometers and Kilometers is a guessable feel-good travel movie that never tests your patience and at the same time doesn’t offer you anything extremely special or unique.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended