One cannot be really blamed to have lofty expectations regarding Sohanlal's 'Kathaveedu', especially since the film is loosely based on the works of three celebrated Malayalam writers - Basheer, M T Vasudevan Nair and Madhavikutty.
Raj Karthi (Kunchacko Boban) is a film maker, whose life with his live-in partner Jeena (Bhama) has hit the rocks, since she has demanded commitment, and also, marriage. They go their separate ways, and Raj gets busy filming three stories on three different couples, which alter his perceptions of a man-woman relationship.
Abdul Khader (Manoj K Jayan) vows to bring fresh banana for his newly wedded wife Jameela (Mallika) , but on seeing that the fruit is unavailable, buys her oranges instead. Wifey isn't pleased, and Khader resorts to the unthinkable deed of threatening her with a knife when she refuses to eat.
The second tale is that of Major (Lal) and his stunningly beautiful wife Reetha (Rituparna Sen Gupta), who is sadly no more. Raj Karthi himself is shocked at the news, and as he drops in to offer his condolences to the Major, a few shocks lie in store for him.
Balachandran (Biju Menon) thinks of the devastating news that he needs to break to his sons, as he sits in the ambulance. Their mom Indulekha (Swapna Menon) is no more, and the kids are clueless about it. Back home, he wakes them up, and serves them the sweet dessert that she had made for them in the afternoon.
Of the three tales, the third one is perhaps the best cinematic adaptation, because the first has an unsettling tendency to be highly theatrical, and the second one shows a disquieting inclination towards being purposefully plodding. Neither leaves an impression as an individual cinematic piece, while the third tale displays an uncharacteristic finesse and poise, emerging the most notable of the three.
The three stories, as expected, are fine, but the film that binds them together is far from magnificent. Raj Karthi and his issues sound flimsy, and even more confounding is the assurance that Jeena needs from him. They seem like a couple who have entered into a live-in bond, more because the term sounds fashionable and less because they believe in it.
The climax is pretty much silly, with an accident that and a plot twist that looks all convoluted. And of course, all is well, that ends well. Raj Karthi discovers Nirvana and the ultimate truth after he is done filming the third story. Never knew life was as unfussy as it is made out to be!
The script is a letdown when it comes to binding the three accounts persuasively, and the jerks between the individual stories are a real pain. What's even more disheartening is that this isn't exactly an anthology film either, that could have made a whole lot of difference.
The performances are all striking, be it that of Manoj K Jayan or Biju Menon, Kunchacko Boban or Lal. Mallika and Swapna Menon are impressive no doubt, and Rituparna Sen Gupta simply wows. I cannot remember another film in which a non-native actress has the camera zooming in on her face, as she mouths almost all the lines of a Malayalam song, flawlessly.
A compilation of not-so-terribly-exciting ideas squashed into a plotline that's absolutely devoid of an authentic association is what 'Kathaveedu' is. Call it a fiasco or a fashionable experiment gone wrong, irksome it surely is.