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Leela  ( U ) (2016)  (Malayalam)
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Leela Review

In Ranjith's 'Leela', the protagonist Kuttiyapan steers his jeep across a multi-tentacled wasteland that ravenously gorges on the very lives that thrive on it. Hope has almost become extinct, souls have long fled the flesh caverns that they dwelled in and angels lie dangling from electric lines. A scalding indictment of the essential barbarity of humankind that has ingeniously been concealed under sly smiles, 'Leela' is as raw as the bleeding bruises that it vehemently rips open.
3 out of 5 (Good) Leela NOWRUNNING REVIEW | Veeyen
Rating: Crictiq: 3.0 - Read Review  3/5
Nowrunning Critics: 3.0/5 | Users: 2.4/5
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In Ranjith's 'Leela', the protagonist Kuttiyapan (Biju Menon) steers his jeep across a multi-tentacled wasteland that ravenously gorges on the very lives that thrive on it. Hope has almost become extinct, souls have long fled the flesh caverns that they dwelled in and angels lie dangling from electric lines. A scalding indictment of the essential barbarity of humankind that has ingeniously been concealed under sly smiles, 'Leela' is as raw as the bleeding bruises that it vehemently rips open.

Kuttiyappan is no ordinary man, and has possibly decided to remain single for a reason, and a staunch one at that. The edginess of the flickering lamp in front of his icons - EMS, Marilyn Monroe and Bruce Lee - transfers itself to the man, who keeps juddering his thighs in impatience all the time. There is an endearing blurriness that is purposefully maintained when it comes to his spiritual instincts (or rather the lack of it) and the mistiness spreads across to his personal relationships as well, leaving an aura of obscurity in its wake.

When Kuttiyappan sets out to hire an elephant, little do his aides Pillechan (Vijayaraghavan) and Dasappappi (Indrans) realize that he has an uncanny desire in mind. Their search leads them to the coffee estates of Wayanad, and on the way they pick up a young girl with a horrid past whom Kuttiyappan christens as Leela (Parvathy Nambiar).

Kuttiyappan and his infamous trysts with women make an acquaintance state aloud that he should certainly be on the lookout for a female elephant. While Kuttiyappan makes C K Bindu (Priyanka Nair) sit by his side and wail her lungs out imagining that he was her dead father, Usha (Kavitha Nair) timidly remembers that he had made her dance to the tunes of an old melody, albeit a bit differently from the usual stage performance.

The motif of machismo that receives a severe thrashing under the writer's pen is what makes 'Leela' unalike other seemingly similar films that have examined the issue of exaggerated manliness. Kuttiyappan doesn't think twice before parading a small group of retired sex workers before the public, rejoicing in the bit of limelight that shines over him, though for a very small while. His exultation is short lived however, when Chengalam Omana (Shantha Kumari) curtly reminds him that this inflated masculinity of his is as fleeting as a momentary orgasm.

The considerably evident deviations that the writer and the director make from the original short story are beneficial to the film, and add to its cinematic appeal. The apprehensions regarding the cinematic adaptation that are bound to rule the mind of any viewer who has read the literary piece are swept clean by Ranjith, who makes certain that the soreness in the original writing is not for a moment lost.

What is perhaps most disquieting about the film is the deafening chitchat and mirth that surrounds the passivity in Leela's eyes. As the world coldly demands a piece of her, Leela or what's left of her, gives in with a meekness that is disconcerting. It's of special note that the only word that comes out of the girl's mouth is a frantic call out to her dad that gets hushed in a moment.

It would forever remain debatable as to why 'Leela' chooses to move to a tormenting climax, and almost revels in a celebration of hopelessness and despair. As the mammoth tusker proves a point, another of Kuttiyappan's bizarre exploits reaches its finale, with blood splattered all over it. Equally a plaything in the hands of animal and man, Leela inertly lets herself be overwhelmed by brutality, without the slightest sound of dissent.

Dripping with dark humour, 'Leela' is thus a shocker of a film that is gritty and wrenching to the core. Its triumph lies in its having successfully disregarded the highly restrictive notions of machismo and reassessing it in the immediate societal context, against the backdrop of chauvinism, sexism and hyper masculinity.

It is no wonder to see Ranjith extracting the best of performances from his leading cast, and Biju Menon delivers a career best as Kuttiyappan, reemphasizing what an underused actor he truly is. There are emphatically refined performances from Vijayaraghavan, Indrans and Jagadeesh and a depressingly desolate fete from Parvathy Nambiar, who lives up to the title role. Prashanth Ravindran's frames are top notch and the musical score by Bijibal stirring.

The attention to detail in 'Leela' does leave a harrowing taste in the viewer's mouth and with the non-salutary ending the film comes across as a dirge on humanity. And yet it is impossible not to pay heed to the gruelling misery that lies within it, and to ponder on the unsettling bleakness of it all.
Critic: Veeyen
 3 out of 5 (Good) 3 out of 5 (Good)  

0.0 - 1.4 : Poor
1.5 - 1.7: Poor, A Few Good Parts
1.8 - 2.3: Average
2.4 - 2.9: Fairly Good
3.0 - 3.4: Good
3.5 - 5.0: Very Good

User Reviews:    Write Review

Ashley Thekkolil 
Excellent movie... Depicts what man is underneath all the masks he wear. I have watched just once, I have some friends who have been watching this repeatedly trying to understand the psyche of this lead character.
Well, this is strictly for people who like off beat movies. But being such a bold attempt to movie making, other reviewers could ve avoided using words like pseudo intellectual Renjith. If at all you find the story to be intelletual, then your comments should go to the story writer.
  Leela User Rating

Tony Sabu 
What? I wasted time watching this movie. Had good memories of Ranjith
movies when started watching it. Why this 90 minutes of melodrama. May
be I'm not a good Cinema critic to say this, But I'm saying what I
felt. ps. Can't imagine this movie goes to the home television as an
Onam movie. pps. Can anyone who saying this is a beautiful piece of art
watch this movie with their children??
  Leela User Rating

rajeev ravi 
താൻ ഒരു അപാര ബുദ്ധിജീവി ആണ് എന്ന് സ്വയം കരുതുന്ന, ഇടുങ്ങിയ ചിന്താഗതിക്കാരും കപട സദാചാര വാദികളും ആയ സൊ called avarage മലയാളീസിന്റെ ഇടയിൽ പെട്ടുപോയതിനാൽ വളരെ ബുദ്ധിമുട്ടുന്ന മഹാ സിനിമാക്കരാൻ രഞ്ജിത്ത് സാറിന്റെ മേൽ പറഞ്ഞ മലയാളികളെ ലക്‌ഷ്യം വെച്ചുള്ള സിനിമയത്രേ ലീല. എന്തായാലും ഞാൻ ഉൾപെടുന്ന avaerage മലയാളിക്ക് ഒന്നും മനസ്സിലാകില്ല എന്നതിനാൽ പ്രത്യേകിച്ച് എന്തേലും ചലനം ഉണ്ടാക്കുമോ എന്ന് സംശയം   Leela User Rating

Abhishek Kumar 
Enthaanu story ennu manassilaayilla. First halfil kore comedy undaarunnu. 2nd half nalla flow undaarunnu. Climax entha mean cheythe ennu manassilaayilla. Ini vallo inner meaning undo ennu arinjooda. Oru kaaryam maathram manassilaayi, Biju Menon is a great actor. Malayala cinema has not used him properly. There is more to see in him.
  Leela User Rating

Krish Menon 
A protracted depiction of a shallow short story. A man who tries to satisfy a sexual fetish has a change of mind at the end. But by then it is too late. The director tries to build up this not-so-particularly-special story as some sort of a new outlook on lust and sexual exploitation with unnecessary and forced symbolism, deliberately sombre background music etc. If you want to show lust and sexual exploitation, just show it without couching it with angels and redemption and shit like that.   Leela User Rating

CR Acharya 
"ലീല".... പ്രിയ രഞ്ജിത്ത്, ഒരു നല്ല കഥ visual ആക്കുമ്പോൾ അത് നല്ല സിനിമ ആകണം എന്നില്ല. ഇന്നത്തെ കാലത്തെ ലൈംഗീക അരാജകതത്വങ്ങളോട് എതിരെ ഉള്ള വെല്ലുവിളികൾ ഒന്നും ശക്തം ആയില്ല ചിത്രത്തിൽ. ലീല എന്ന ചിത്രത്തിൻറെ ഏക ആശ്വാസം വിജയ രാഘവൻറെ അഭിനയം മാത്രമാണ്.
Rating.. 0/5
  Leela User Rating

Anoop Vijayan 
Worst movies & review is even worse. 3 stars? what were you smoking Veeyen? Main culprit is story which will not at all please the larger section of the audience. You will be speechless after seeing end, emotions will drive you to say curse words & even motivate you to tear screens.Logic is out of question, comic scenes are crappy & on top of that Biju Menon does unnecessary things which no one would even think of doing. What will a man do with an elephant and a young girl? Shit !! &%@!()@>"?!}|   Leela User Rating

Mathew Thomas 
Lust, gluttony, fetish. Kuttiyappan is original. A man who is living his life to the fullest. Right or wrong is not in his vocabulary. But he never hurts a soul. He takes an extra effort to see that nobody gets hurt by his deeds. Yet he lives the life of a sinner. Kuttiyappan may be the mighty Satan himself. Biju Menon as kutiiyappan excels in performance like never before. Earlier, I enjoyed his Vellimoonga.. Yet, in this one he pushes his limits much further. Easily a performance that would put the other stalwarts of cinema to shame.
Supported by Vijayaraghavan, as a father to a teenage daughter, who is constantly perturbed and dumbstruck by the world that is today, unable to accept the reality. Also, equally good performance by Indrans. And all other supporting characters.. An ensemble of wonderful characters and a brutally original story and sequence of events. I, later learnt that 'leela' is an adaptation if a short story. If so, I would like to get a copy of it. I would watch this movie again. So moved by the story, I would pay ₹220 @PVR forum Bangalore again to watch this terribly directed movie by the worst director malayalam cinema has seen.
  Leela User Rating

jay mohan 
Renjith who himself profess him as an intellectual of no kind like before tries to go completely against the trend to justify his hegemony as the most different director on his ranks for his reassertion to be different than all,He tries to pull one an aravindan in direction terms through this film,and takes the rawest approach and ceremonial never excepting ending befitting his wish to remain way up from the pack for his ego,His approach to being different has made this film despicable hell   Leela User Rating

Deepu M 
Watchable.. Different style of making & Biju Menon excels..   Leela User Rating


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