Once Upon a Time in Kochi Review | The Kind of Bland Creation That Would Give Writer’s Block to Reviewers

Towards the end of the film Once Upon a Time in Kochi, you have this self-referential humor featuring actors like Riyas Khan and Arjun Ashokan. After boring the audience with such a generic and outdated script for more than 2 hours, Nadirshah and Raffi sort of admit how lazy they were in the writing phase by showing these Sharp Shooter and Romancham references. With bizarre explanations to certain twists, Once Upon a Time in Kochi is one movie where you would feel like asking the makers to watch the good movies that were released in the last ten years.

So the movie is set in Kochi, and Janaki Jayan, our leading lady, is part of a drug cartel, and she helps them to move cocaine to Kochi. Officer Anand Das, who is on a personal mission to hunt down all the peddlers in the city, crosses paths with Janaki at one point. Then there is Haibi, a boy who had a crush on Janaki when she was studying IELTS. Anand Das’s efforts to bring down the cartel and how these two get entangled in that is what we get to see in Nadirshah’s Once Upon a Time in Kochi.

Raffi has written this movie, whose son Mubin Rafi makes the acting debut through this film. He has written movies that are always talked about for their humor, and it is sad to see someone like him struggling to create jokes and relying on outdated and worn-out tropes to extend a film. The hurried nature of establishing the characters, evidently useless distractions, and the predictability of this script just make us wonder what precisely made them think that there is something in the writing that will connect with the audience.

There is a scene in the movie between the SI and CI where the CI sort of mocks the SI for his over-enthusiasm. In that scene, there is this CGI window to make the camera go in and out of the police station. The use of CGI in that very normal scene was a great example of a filmmaker trying to do gimmicks to show the world he has vision and craft. The way songs are used in the movie might make you check the year you are living in, as the movie’s grammar is a couple of decades old. How they have depicted the drug mafia, theme parties, and even the social media image boosting of stars, etc., have this caricature nature that will make you facepalm. There is even a sequence where the shadow of two people fighting behind a flex board, which is on top of a building becomes the only evidence for the existence of a person. I mean, I really want that phone just for its zooming capabilities.

Arjun Ashokan, as the angry young cop is fine. Since the movie is written by Raffi, the character had to go through phases of humiliation for the sake of comedy, and Arjun was able to make that shift smoothly. Mubin Rafi has the conventional good looks for sure, and frankly, this movie isn’t a test of his acting capabilities as there are no real challenges here. The same can be said about the character played by Devika Sanjay. Raffi has played the role of this comical good guy Usthad with mischievous dealings. It was really sad to see Shivajith getting reduced to this buffoon-like antagonist. There are a lot of actors in the movie appearing in either smaller or inconsequential roles, just to enhance the star cast value of the movie, including names like Shine Tom Chacko and Jaffer Idukki.

I think the movie was done with its post-production works for a while now. The way they depended on meta jokes to make this bland movie enjoyable made me think that they would have made Riyas Khan say Adichu Keri Va to cover up the lack of entertainment in this film. The confidence of the filmmakers to give a cliffhanger climax to this dud of a film is also something I wish to have in my life.

Final Thoughts

The confidence of the filmmakers to give a cliffhanger climax to this dud of a film is also something I wish to have in my life.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.