The commercial movie industry, especially in Tamil has this inclination towards doing films that people call as “mass” entertainers. The problem with these mass entertainers these days is that they don’t have any intention to reinvent the formula. Nayanthara, who is referred to as female superstar of the industry, through Kolamavu Kokila is giving that wakeup call to all the male superstars (except Vijay Sethupathi) to reinvent their stardom. Kolamavu Kokila is a gangster black comedy with rib-tickling genuine humor and after a long time I was laughing really hard watching a Tamil comedy and it was not at the movie’s mediocrity.
So Kokila our main protagonist is a young girl who works in small shops for a minimal salary to earn a living. She has a father who is a security guard of an ATM, her mother is a housewife and her sister is a college going student. At one point Kokila’s mother gets diagnosed with cancer and the helpless girl eventually ends up in the drug trade to make some quick cash. How this innocent naïve girl manages to come out of this mess of drug trade after a roller-coaster series of events is what Kolamavu Kokila talking about.
Why this movie by Nelson works immensely as a black comedy is because of the way he gives subtlety a priority in presenting comedy. Let me tell you one instance. In a difficult situation, one of the bad guys is about to move against Kokila and her father and mother goes to his feet and begs for mercy. And her mother says something like she will die in a couple of months and her husband will also die as he won’t be able to live without her. There is a simple shot of the husband looking at the wife when she talks about his death and the expression just cracked me up. The second half of the movie is immensely rich with such moments and Yogi Babu was just incredible in those portions. There are many instances of subtle comedy happening on screen and I am skipping all that so that you can enjoy them when you watch it.
One good thing about this movie that has so many characters is that each of them manages to mark their presence felt. I really loved how Nayanthara keeps the character of Kokila in that zone of naivety. Kokila is smart and it isn’t really a transformation we are seeing on screen. The interval punch perhaps explains that very clearly. Yogi Babu is incredibly funny in the second half and the way he reacts to LK, played by Anbu Thaasan is just hilarious. After Junga, Saranya Ponvannan once again delivers a performance that has both sentiments and comedy in the perfect way. RS Shivaji as the helpless father was really good. Hareesh Peradi as Bhai was in his usual monotonous shade. Even the usually annoying Motta Rajendran, delivers a witty performance. Saravanan as the inspector, Charles Vinoth as Mohan and Jacqueline as Shobi were all memorable at the end of the film.
If you try to stress a bit about the politics of the film you might sense a bit of racism and issues with political correctness. But the smart thing here is that director Nelson sort of manages to establish that unapologetic nature of the movie very quickly. And you slowly surrender to that vision and just like you don’t complain about violence in a Quentin Tarantino film, the ingredients in this black comedy doesn’t become an issue for you as a viewer. The only glitch I could sense was in the way they handled the cancer aspect of the mother character. At one point it almost felt like everyone including the writer-director forgot about her physical condition. Anirudh’s music was good and in the background score, he has copied the initial portion of Tu Hi Haqeeqat from Tum Mile. Cinematographer Sivakumar Vijayan creates the mood of the movie very nicely.
Kolamavu Kokila is a really impressive black comedy that manages to get all your attention and delivers a quirky catchy output at the end. Like I said, it is so exciting to see an actress leading by an example of how cinema should be content driven rather than a mere character celebration.
Kolamavu Kokila is a really impressive black comedy that manages to get all your attention and delivers a quirky catchy output at the end.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended