Kilometers And Kilometers Malayalam Movie Review
For a travel movie, Jeo Baby's 'Kilometers and Kilometers' may not break new ground, but it finds fresh, respectable ways to tell a familiar story without many cliches. It is a story of Josemon, a handyman who finds himself stuck in Rajasthan with a foreigner and with many financial troubles running through his head.
The first few scenes of the movie shows how this Tovino Thomas character reaches the point of losing his house and Royal Enfield Bullet to settle his family's bank debt. Josemon is what most Keralites would term an 'Ossie', meaning someone who depends on others for his financial needs. He finds amoral ways to earn money, which even include messing up with the local church water motor so that he could return there to repair it. The thing that Josemon does in his native village, somewhere in Kottayam, even makes the church father tell him to no longer be in and around his parish.
Things take a turn for Josemon when he is called on to work as a tour guide for an American woman named Cathy (India Jarvis). She just wants to see India with her casino winnings, and he sees serving as a tour guide for her as a way to earn the money to repay his debt without selling the Bullet.
Kilometers and Kilometers is essentially a travel movie, which means the plot is wafer thin. Most travel movies plots are just about people finding a home on the roads and discovering themselves as human beings. So, it is rather unrealistic to expect dramatic things from movies of this genre. The travel movie narrative also means that there are bound to be moments where the plot does not really go anywhere. All of these issues are there in Kilometers and Kilometers too, but the cast and the plot's elements make it an engaging watch.
There is a message about the importance of relationships that the makers do not really do any wonders with. When Cathy tells Josemon that she is not that into relationships, he says there is one family man in every Indian household, using a Mammooty film to put across his point. When the duo get stuck somewhere in Rajasthan, without money and her passport, she realizes that relations matter more than materialistic pleasures. But this message is just conveyed with mostly dialogues, and no groundbreaking narrative transformation comes out of it.
Then again, Kilometers and Kilometers is also a story about a man who loves his Bullet so much that he cannot bear the pain of losing the bike. It is 2020's second movie after Gauthamante Radham that talks about this connection of a youngster and his vehicle. Like that Neeraj Madhav starrer, it is a good-natured film with likeable actors playing likeable characters in a serviceable plot. The man-and-his-bike part of the story is what I enjoyed more in Joe Baby's film.
The other aspect about it that I liked is the actors. Tovino Thomas is a charming actor, and Baby and team use the star's innocent persona and Manglish to relatively good effects. I laughed when he says broken English dialogues, especially the ones like 'Nothing Official About It'. I also identified the bond he shared with his Bullet. India Jarvis is a new face in Malayalam cinema, and she complements Tovino quite well. The actor speaks Malayalam in some scenes, and she conveys the emotion of her character well even there. But then again, they are playing sketchy characters having simple views about relations just like the rest of us. Sidhartha Siva is scene-stealing good in a sketchy cameo as Sunny, a Malayali who changes his identity to settle as a villager in Rajasthan for survival.
For a road trip movie, Kilometers and Kilometers makes us yearn for the long road, thanks partly to the coronavirus. Sinu Sidharth captures the heartland of Rajasthan and several other scenic locations. It is a pity that we could not see this movie on the big screen. Anyhow, one's medium bane is another medium's boon. This is to say, Kilometers and Kilometers is the first movie in Malayalam cinema to release directly on a TV channel (Asianet).