Koode from Anjali Menon is a heartwarming tale about the relationship between a brother and sister. It is based on the story of Marathi filmmaker Sachin Kundalkar’s movie happy journey. I haven’t tried to watch that movie to stay away from any possible spoilers, so this review won’t be a comparison note. Just like any other Anjali Menon film, this one is also rich in emotions that are deep-rooted. With a set of really talented actors, this fantasy drama is a gently paced happiness pill.
Spoiler Alert! Skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know anything about the plot as I can’t summarize it without revealing a major element in the story. So Joshua and Jenny are siblings and they are our central protagonists. Jenny was born when Joshua was only 15 years old and due to the financial liabilities of the family, Joshua had to go to the Middle East. After working for nearly 20 years there, Joshua had to come back because Jenny was no more. The film is basically showing us the organic development of the relationship between the brother and sister in a fantasy-driven narrative. Yes, there is a ghost element.
What I really liked about the making of the film is the fact that how quickly it manages to blend us into that happy mood after introducing the movie in a dark space and then introducing the fantasy element. With a few dialogues and the natural bubbly attitude of Nazriya, Koode smoothly and swiftly shifts the gears. Then it becomes a tale of bonding. Prithviraj and Nazriya have a great connection which makes them an adorable pair of siblings and that works immensely for a script like this which has this goodness filled narrative. Ultimately this film feels like a take on loneliness as we see characters backing each other that are in desperate need of a company. Jenny supports Joshua and that support eventually enables him in freeing Sophie from her cage. And in the end, we are seeing the rise of Joshua with the help of Sophie. Relationships have always been the foundation of every Anjali Menon film and here also that remains the same.
Prithviraj has always been criticized for his dramatic style of acting with that frequent “eh” between dialogues. In the hands of a quality filmmaker, this actor can deliver authentic performances and Koode is a great example of that. Joshua has a grudge against the family due to some of the things he had to go through at a young age and what ultimately Jenny does in this journey is freeing him from all that shackles. Prithviraj gradually peels off the dullness from Joshua and it was a memorable performance. Nazriya Nazim is known for her adorability and the main thing Jenny demands is that. She gets into the skin of the character easily and like I said, the brimming positive vibe in the on-screen chemistry of Prithviraj and Nazriya gives the emotional side of the movie so much of believability. Parvathy’s role is comparatively less in terms of screen time, but she definitely gives life to the struggle of Sophie. Mala Parvathy and Ranjith as the parents have done a really good job. Athul Kulkarni, the original Joshua was memorable as the coach. And a special mention to Roshan Mathew who I believe has immense potential to be a hero.
Anjali Menon in an interview said that in Koode, she experimented a new method by providing no dialogues to the actors and asked them to deliver their lines instinctively after briefing them what has to be conveyed in the scene. Well, that’s an experiment I believe has worked big time. Because the actors look really comfortable in delivering their lines without much stress and being a drama with emotions, it is so important that the conversations sounded natural. There is a sequence at the beginning where the mother character asks Joshua not to go back to the middle east and after the angered response of Joshua, the father played by Ranjith responds “why?” with just gestures and I strongly believe almost everyone will find that a relatable instance. Even though the abundance of goodness is there in the air, the movie isn’t trying to dignify the characters in a typical way. Joshua knows that Jenny watched porn and at one point Jenny asks Joshua whether he is a virgin. With very minimal scenes, the harsh reality of Sophie gets depicted. In one scene Parvathy narrates an English novel to Prithviraj’s Joshua and he says he doesn’t understand English and in another scene, Ranjith lashes out against patriarchy, just saying. Littil Swayamp’s frames are just gorgeous. Praveen Prabhakar has created such an engaging narrative with those visuals that you will sort of get immersed in this beautiful tale. Once again Anjali Menon manages to bring out a really good musical album and the background score is fitting.
In Koode, Anjali Menon mixes fantasy and reality in a seamless way to give us a really memorable time inside the cinema hall. The characters will remain in your headspace for a while and as I mentioned in the beginning, it will be a happiness pill like all the other films from Anjali Menon.
The characters will remain in your headspace for a while and as I mentioned in the beginning, it will be a happiness pill like all the other films from Anjali Menon.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended