Ozhivu Dhivasathe Kali Review
Perhaps there are very few film makers in Malayalam today with as sturdy a spine as Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, and with his second full length feature 'Ozhivu Divasathe Kali', Sanal lucratively demonstrates how cinema as a prevailing and influential medium need not necessarily be restrained by a shoestring budget or by the dearth of stars. A prolific statement on the contemporary society, 'Ozhivu Divasathe Kali' is a film that digs its clutches deep into you and shifts between its alternative moods seamlessly, never for a moment loosening its firm grasp on the viewer.
The diverse thought streams that 'Ozhivu Divasathe Kali' sets free renders it with an intensity that it never actually flamboyantly flaunts. The black humour that is laced finely with the narrative does not let the focus drift away from the core theme, and contributes to the strenuous sort of fun that makes the tone of the film decidedly distinct.
Set against the backdrop of elections, 'Ozhivu Divasathe Kali' pursues five friends - Vinayan, Ashokan, Dharmapalan, Dasan and Thirumeni - who decide to make the most of the holiday in a hideout inside the forest, boozing and generally having a gala time. As the day wears away and their heads turn giddy, real selves come tumbling out of their refined make-ups and almost everything around is questioned.
The gender politics that the film puts across is headed by Geetha, the maid who has in all probability waged a battle of her own all her life against coercion or even subjugation, and yet keeps her head high. Not one to be bogged down by an exhibition of machismo, Geetha emphasizes that she has no qualms of reaching out for the machete when her life and modesty are at stake.
There is also the matter of male libido, and more importantly of dominance that occupy the centre stage. Foreseeing a favourable circumstance, the civilized gentleman gives way to an uncouth beast, and goes frolicking after the seemingly vulnerable prey. Further later into the film, as two friends break into an argument, a tussle for supremacy ensues, with even common terms of addressal assuming an altered significance.
There also needs to be a discussion on the claustrophobic space that these men occupy, which in the beginning looks more than enough. The narrative mechanism in the film is such that this space closes in on itself, barely leaving the men with room to move about and asphyxiating them even as they vigorously ponder on issues ranging from religion to politics to sex.
Much has been talked about the overtly long single shot in the film, and it impresses not just on account of the efforts that must have gone into its canning, but also on the effortlessness with which it unfurls on screen. It does appear as if the camera has been discarded by the unit and has been lying running quietly in a corner, while the film goes on, and with the actors oblivious of being shot.
All the actors in the film - Pradeep Kumar, Baiju Netto, Arun, Sreedhar Ganesh, Girish Nair, Nisthar and Reju - have done exemplarily well, while Abhija, the sole woman performer in it astounds with a hard cracker of a feat. It's refreshing to see such abundant fresh talent on screen, and the immense confidence with which they deliver the goods throws open the doors for a film scene that will not probably have to bank on star power any more.
'Ozhivu Divasathe Kali' does fall behind 'Oraalpokkam' when it comes to the technicalities, and one does end up wishing that the film had a more refined feel to it. On second thought however, the slightly jagged tenor of the film does gel with the coarse content that it dwells on, though it's obvious that the lack of technical finesse has to be attributed more to the limitations imposed on it by the funds than anything else.
The finely calibrated plot in 'Ozhivu Divasathe Kali' makes it one of the finest films that have come out as yet this year. With an uncharacteristic control over the atmosphere, Sanal Kumar Sasidharan with 'Ozhivu Divasathe Kali' establishes that at times, by daringly abandoning the conventionalities, brilliance is found.
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