Kala Malayalam Movie Review
Kala is a thoughtful action film about man's natural need for revenge and one-upmanship. It has two characters who just love to get into a physical fight mainly to satisfy their primal needs. Much of this film plays out as an extended fight sequence between those two characters.
One of them, Tovino Thomas's Shaji, is a ruffian. Early in the film, Shaji tells his child that "boys don't cry". The child asks Shaji whether he or his father is the real owner of the property. Shaji says that it is in his name. His father, Lal's Ravi, does not like him much because he has spoiled much of the family's wealth on bad deals. Soon, we realize that not everything is right between the adult father and the grown-up son. The father's rude behavior to them makes Shaji's wife, Divya Pillai's Vidya, so unsettled that she decides to go home for some calm days there.
The film shifts gears when the woman in the family leaves home, plus Ravi goes to the hospital for a medical check-up. Shaji decides to stay back home to oversee some people who come to cut areca nuts at the family's property. All of those workers seem to have something burning in them and an air of mystery around them. One of them discloses a family secret that makes you wonder whether Ravi and Shaji are who they appear to be.
We initially view Sumesh Moor's character as a pervert for how he looks into Shaji's home through its window. But soon we realize that he has an old score to settle with Shaji. The motive for his need for revenge is so trivial that you would imagine it can be settled over just a cup of coffee. But these two do not believe in a truce. So, soon things get out of hand quickly as Shaji and Moor's character enter a physical brawl.
The word 'kala' means weed, an unwanted plant in the midst of essential crops. It is something you should get rid of. When watching Kala, you would wonder who the unwanted here really is. There is no conventional hero or villain in this film. It is not plot-driven and not for the faint-hearted. The film is 'A' rated, so it is not a movie you would find comfortable watching with your family. There are so many cuss words used so casually here.
Shaji is a fascinating character, and Tovino Thomas does justice to it. From his performance, we understand that Shaji is a miscreant and a bit of a control freak who sets a bad example for others. When the fight reaches a fever pitch, Shaji plays a Jackie Chan film for his son. When an accident happens at the family property, Shaji is more concerned about taking the bags of black pepper back to his father's cellar. There are some people who bring order to chaos, but Shaji is an antithesis to that character type. That is to say, he brings chaos to order.
Moor's character appears more decent than Shaji, but that is not to say that everything he does here is morally or ethically right. Technically, he is the one who invades Shaji's home. There is something fascinating about Lal's Ravi even in a brief role.
Ultimately, Kala is an immersive theatrical experience. You do not merely watch this film unfold. Instead, you would feel like being in the midst of these characters who bay for each other's blood. Writer Yadhu Pushpakaran and writer-filmmaker Rohith give us insights into man's need for retribution even in a film with more fights than anything else.
There is so much attention-to-detail here. Dawn Vincent's music lets us clearly hear even the sound of matches rubbing against the box. The same can be said about Akhil George's visceral camera work that lets us enjoy the hand-to-hand, wall-to-wall action at full tilt.