It's indeed a huge gamble to name your film 'Koothara' and expect to lure in folks to watch it in theatres. Srinath Rajendran does the unthinkable here, and even makes it seem like he has pulled it off, until disaster strikes in the story line and ensures that the film truly lives up to its title.
Koobrin (Bharath), Tharun (Tovino Thomas) and Ram (Sunny Wayne) hit it out big time as classmates and roommates at an engineering college, where after several suspensions, they finally manage to get themselves dismissed. They decide to set up a business which sinks in no time, and are urged to buy a fishing boat by Usthad Saali (Mohanlal); a proposal to which they hesitantly agree.
'Koothara' is a film that offers a striking contrast between its first and second halves , and the distinction is so apparent that you wonder what might have actually transpired that would have egged on this transition. Even as the reason for the mishap would remain unknown, it might suffice to say that very rarely have films exhibited a disjointedness of this stature.
The jibes against women folk that started off in Srinath's 'Second Show', continue in 'Koothara' as well, wherethey are often portrayed as opportunistic users, who would stop at nothing to get things done their way. Whether it be Sheistha who drives Koobrin to an undergarment flinging frenzy or Roshni who roams about with a never ending appetite or Noora who doesn't find it too difficult to shift her loyalties - they are all manipulative and scheming to the core.
The film that starts off on a light note, does maintain that tone right till the end of the first half, offering a smile here, and a hearty laugh there. Despite the jarring notes in the script once in a while, it does keep you fairly entertained with only one question remaining at the back of your heart, as to where Mohanlal would find a place among this entire hubbub.
The answer arrives pretty soon, and it's a thunderbolt indeed that sends the film heading downstream in no time. There is this huge storm that the three young men and their boat get caught in, which looks metaphoric, reminding us that the script has seen better times and that it's tough to survive this torrential downpour of absurdities.
I would rather not talk about the fantasy elements that are brought in, since I'm as yet unsure as to whether the makers really meant some serious business or if they were merely pulling our legs. It would be best to state that it looks long-drawn-out by any stretch of imagination and that it snaps even before it had some time to explain things out.
The boat, the fishing, Saali and the sea voyage - all appear as if in a haze, and as it is they are a heavy drain on your brains. Sadly, they do not merit much of a detailed inspection either, since you realize that they simply shouldn't have been there, and 'Koothara' would have been a much, much better film.
I wonder what Mohanlal was doing in this film, and I'm not just talking of the length of his role. It could very well be brushed aside that he has chosen to do an extended cameo, but what is disheartening is that this is the role that brings about the film's undoing. And clearly it doesn't deserve an actor like Mohanlal to do it.
The younger actors are on a roll here, especially in the former half, and Bharath, Tovino and Sunny are at their vibrant best. Bhavana, Janani Iyer, Gauthami Nair, Shritha Sivadas and Madhurima are around in miniscule roles as well.
They say a thought can ruin it all. And in 'Koothara', one such thought that arrives a bit late in the day plays the annihilator and leaves in its destructive wake nothing but some worthless rubble and dust and grime.