When the script isn’t really providing you anything that looks interesting and unique, the efforts in the treatment to attain nobility won’t really reflect. The issue with the new Sooraj Tom film Krishnankutty Pani Thudangi is precisely that. The script written by Anand Madhusoodanan wants to create a space where there are a lot of mysteries around characters and the premise. But eventually, what you get to see is a mere revenge story that one could guess after a point. The aspirations to be rough and gritty in the treatment just falls flat mainly due to the flawed dialogues and performances.
Unnikannan is a home nurse, and he comes to this creepy house in the middle of a forest where he was asked to take care of a bedridden elderly man. But when he arrived there was only one girl named Beatrice there along with the old man. Beatrice asked Kannan to leave the house, but he decided to stay there. What we see in Krishnankutty Pani Thudangi is the trauma of Unnikannan during his stay at that house.
There is a sense of loudness in characterizations that just drags you out of the space the movie wants to create. People may have different opinions about the recent Netflix release Irul, which also had a similar haunted house kind of premise. But one thing I feel everyone would agree with is that the makers of that movie were able to transport us into that atmosphere (courtesy of a good show from Fahadh Faasil). But in Krishnankutty Pani Thudangi, from the moment Vishnu
Unnikrishnan barges into that house, you start to feel a sense of artificiality in writing. And then these gimmicky ghost tricks that we see in every other horror film happen to confuse us about Beatrice’s real nature. But when you finally find out the reason for all the creepy things happening in the house, there is no real impact because somewhere, the writer forgets to build curiosity in us to know Beatrice’s past.
The writing of the character was already eccentric, and the partially comical portrayal of Unnikannan by Vishnu Unnikrishnan wasn’t enough to cover the flaws. There are some Kattappanyayile Rithwik Roshan level jokes added to the screenplay, along with Dharmajan’s voice. But that also kind of stood out. Saniya Iyappan, as Beatrice, is actually doing the heavy lifting in this movie. Beatrice is the curiosity-generating mysterious character. And the character is going through some drastic shifts as the story goes forward. But the dialogue delivery and transformation seemed too heavy for her to handle, and the output was very underwhelming. Vijilesh Karayad appears in another major role which seemed like a repetition of his Varathan character. But he was also struggling to handle the dramatic dialogues.
Keeping us guessing about the nature of the movie (whether it is supernatural or not) is one intention of the film that it forgets after a point. Sooraj Tom wants the film to have this constantly unsettling mood. But the situations created in the screenplay felt like deliberate distractions. You will feel the script sort of staying in a stuck position rather than keeping us on the edge of our seats. If I say the script is getting stuck at specific points for a movie with under-100 minutes runtime, I guess that communicates how stretched out it feels. The cinematography uses low lighting and tilted frames to create the usual unsettling images. Kiran Das has tried his best in certain areas to place the viewer in the center of the action. In the sequence where Unnikannan is walking inside the house with this maze-like architecture, one can sense the editor trying to build that feeling of confusion. But somewhere, the visual orientation of frames was spoiling the continuity.
The folklore you hear at the beginning about Krishnankutty is used to set up the ambiance for the movie. But they couldn’t use it in the screenplay to draw any parallels or emotional connection. Seeing the maze-loving Unnikannan getting trapped in a maze and the same person eventually ending up challenging a ghost he fears made me feel that perhaps Anand Madhusoodanan had a layered thought in his head that wasn’t translated to the screen the way he envisioned.
The aspirations to be rough and gritty in the treatment just falls flat mainly due to the flawed dialogues and performances.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended