Kumari, the second movie from Nirmal Sahadev, is a fantasy that fails to tell the story in a captivating way. The production quality of the film is genuinely excellent. But the storytelling feels very basic, and the lack of zest in its narrative makes it so exhausting that you won’t feel like appreciating it for the feministic undertones.
As the title suggests, the movie is about Kumari, who gets married to Dhruvan. Dhruvan was the younger son of his father, who ruled that part of the land near Illymala. He was mocked by many and was called a madman. But when Kumari arrives, her care helps Dhruvan gain some respectability. Once Kumari got pregnant, she learned a secret about this family, which changed everything for her. What was that secret, and how she dealt with that, is what Kumari is showing us.
The folklore fantasy mood of the movie gets established very quickly, and we are not really bothered about the logic of any of the things. But the main issue is with the narrative pacing. You have this beta version of Barso Re to establish who Kumari was before marriage, and then the movie focuses on her curiosity to know more about her husband’s family. The writing, especially the dialogues, feels so amateurish that you don’t really feel like rooting for any character. The protective mother aspect that creates the movie’s central conflict is a very catchy one on paper. But the second-half developments feel far too stretched out, and it almost becomes exhausting for us.
What is appreciable and what stays with you in the film is the overall production quality they have managed to attain. The cinematography uses darks and colors to set the mood for the movie. The particular makeup for the creatures and certain characters looked authentic. Nirmal’s vision of the world of Kumari is impressive, and in terms of visual language, he has managed to achieve that. But because of a script that struggles to be compelling or intriguing, the drama in the content never fascinates us. The loud background score is a necessity of the theme, but when the writing isn’t really getting the rhythm, that loudness becomes an annoyance.
There is grace and likability in the portrayal of Kumari by Aishwarya Lekshmi. But the period in which the movie is set demands a specific style of dialogue rendering, and when she attempts that, it feels very stiff, and an organic flow is missing. Shine Tom Chacko as the naive version of Dhruvan was impressive. But when he applies his typical eccentricity to the evolved Dhruvan, the confidence you anticipate in the performance goes down. Surabhi Lakshmi manages to pull off the character assigned to her very convincingly. Shivajith Padmanabhan, Tanvi Ram, Giju John, Swasika, Jayarajan, etc., are the other names in the cast.
In terms of craft, the team’s earnest effort is there to create something that visually allures you. But the writing feels so superficial that after a point, the predictability and the way the plot lingers on to specific points start to make the movie look so tiring. The exquisite production quality of Kumari deserved a much better script.
In terms of craft, the team's earnest effort is there to create something that visually allures you. The exquisite production quality of Kumari deserved a much better script.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended