Large number of people was sort of questioning the lack of a story in Leela when the movie finished. Well I guess none of them have taken an effort to read the short story that came in Mathrubhumi. While the short story narrated the entire proceedings through the eyes of Pillechan, the movie Leela shows us the whole picture. Metaphors are used in many areas to convey the thought and with very less amount of theatricality, director Ranjith and screen writer Unni R succeeds in creating content full of black humor that sort of questions the male domination.
Kuttiyappan is that crazy guy who is just living a life to spend whatever his father has given him. The guy has mad ways of approaching things. Those who have read the story will know the crazy things he did with most of the ladies he met. The movie is also based on one such wild dream of Kuttiyappan. To full fill that dream he needed a young girl and an elephant. The search for that and how it all ends is what Leela discussing.
Your interpretation has a key role in this movie. Even though there is a large share of events that sort of looks like male chauvinistic, there are little tweaks at the end of all such sequences which makes it more like making fun of the male supremacy. The sequence that happens right after the interval is somewhat an example for that (honoring the veterans). Even though I liked the socialism reference, 90% of that scene looks irritating. But as I mentioned, the scene gets a nice tweak at the end and thus it becomes that teasing/ questioning of male dominance. Another good thing is that there is no extensive lecture in the film to make the character look like a rectified angel. The only glitch I could feel was in those scattered bits in which Kuttiyappan looks too emotional (Including the only scene where Leela smiles). Hilarious references about the current social, religious and political scenario was there in the funny Kuttiyappan way.
Ranjith isn’t known for being a director who gives emphasis on visuals. His movies are more on the verbal side of movie making. But here the director surprises with less focus on sophisticated conversations. The thoughts are conveyed through delicate expressions and images. Unni R expands the story in a better way and nicely puts in new elements to create that black humor. Much like the short story, all the characters are peculiar and memorable. Prashanth Ravindran has done an impressive job with camera. The helicam shots that showed the beauty of Wayanadu also deserves a special mention. The cuts were nice and the background score from Bijibal was minimal and did its part nicely. The climax looked very less artificial and hats off to whoever did the mixing of that part.
Biju Menon plays the character of the exuberant and weird Kuttiyappan in the most delightful way. The overall enthusiasm he adds to Kuttiyappan and the delicacy in those conflicted situations were portrayed neatly by the actor. Pillechan we know from the story we read was more on the sensible side, but in the movie he becomes more of a controlled “idiotic” husband character. It looks a bit odd in the beginning but as the movie progresses, that nature does make sense and Vijayaraghavan has done a real good job. Jagadeesh and Indrans were also impressive in their respective characters. Parvathy Nambiar doesn’t have much of an acting to do as the depressed Leela.
The final word would be that Leela stays in your mind like the way the short story haunted you. I would say the movie is a bit more intense. Whatever attracted you in the story is definitely there. It is not a content that explains everything to you orally. Rating would be 3.5/5 and a suggestion to those who are looking forward to watch this film would be to read that short story to have a sensible expectation.
Leela stays in your mind like the way the short story haunted you. I would say the movie is a bit more intense.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended