Any which way you look at it, 'Kadal Kadannu Oru Mathukutty' appears like a missed opportunity. In fact, there is very little memorable about this Ranjith film that almost shockingly appears underpowered and underwritten.
Mathukutty (Mammootty) is entrusted with the task of organizing a star show by the German Malayali Association at Mettmann. The man is overjoyed, since it offers him a chance to visit his native village in Kerala - Plankamon. His wife Jansamma (Muthumani) instructs him to return at the earliest, but Mathukutty has other plans in mind.
In his new film, Ranjith heaps up oodles of nostalgia and the dusty remnants of a lost romance, to cook up a story that threatens to blow away at the suggestion of the slightest gust. And those allergic to dust will have a tough time sneezing through it.
Perhaps it's the expectations surrounding a Ranjith film that lead to this discontent. 'Kadal Kadannu Oru Mathukutty' isn't a social satire nor is it a romantic caper. It isn't a comedy, nor is it a sentimental journey. In short, it's neither here nor there, and merely consists of a series of incidents linked together haphazardly.
One particular scene that has Anandan (Nandu) serving scotch whisky to Kochunni (P Balachandran) will leave you wondering why things have been worked out so clumsily in the film. The scene that goes on forever and ever drives you beyond the fence that you have been holding to all the while, hopeful that things would eventually change.
The social critic in Ranjith does come to the forefront on a couple of occasions at least. The retired teacher Thomas (Neduludi Venu) and his Gandhian ideals, provide the writer with the loudspeaker to proclaim his thoughts. The gibes against alcoholism continue in 'Kadal Kadannu Oru Mathukutty' as well, and so do the ones against corruption and exploitation.
It's a misfire that carries the film forward in the latter half, and not much longer you realize that the same applies to the film as well. It's plain disheartening to see the build up that is scantly interesting and the purpose of it all the more inexplicable.
As in the case of almost all Ranjith films of late, there is a character that steers the story around in another direction in 'Kadal Kadannu Oru Mathukutty' as well. The wayward boy in 'Pranchiyettan and the Saint', the drunkard in 'Spirit' or the blackmailer in 'Bavuttiyude Naamathil' is substituted by a street singer Rafi (Harisree Ashokan) in 'Kadal Kadannu Oru Mathukutty'.
Mathukutty is not a role that requires Mammootty to move mountains. He is good, no doubt, in a role that must have been a cakewalk for him. Muthumani and Alisha Mohammed make their presence felt, while the cameos by Mohanlal, Jayaram and Dileep do manage to amuse. Tini Tom, as the venomous reporter is impressive.
Shahabaz Aman is the sole savior of the day and his musical score is soothing on the ears. Technical aspects are in strict coherence with the mood of the film and Madhu Neelakantan's matter of fact cinematography sans any gimmicks.
'Kadal Kadannu Oru Mathukutty' is a film that lacks that magical flair that had made many Ranjith films endearing. Sadly, this time around, en route to India from Germany, the director seems to have dropped his pen into the sea.