Kadhikan Malayalam Movie

Feature Film | 2023 | Drama
'Kadhikan' revolves around a teenager's endeavor to master Kathaprasangam under the guidance of a former maestro. Mukesh's exceptional performance saves to an extent this overly dramatic movie, despite its narrative shortcomings and lack of originality.
Dec 8, 2023 By K. R. Rejeesh

This serves as a homage to the traditional art of Kathaprasangam (storytelling), once a dominant force on festival and cultural stages throughout Kerala. 'Kadhikan' fondly revisits the bygone era when this form of storytelling introduced literature to the common people. Filmmaker Jayaraj delves into the world of Kathaprasangam, spotlighting its societal influence before fading from the limelight. The narrative centers on a teenager from a child care home, endeavoring to master Kathaprasangam-an amalgamation of music, song, and acting. The story unfolds as the protagonist from Kolkata discovers that his poignant life experiences enhance his performance in this art form.

Jayaraj also weaves in the life of a former Kathaprasangam artist alongside the main plot. However, the storytelling loses its coherence due to an excess of dramatic sequences that dampen the overall impact. Mukesh portrays Chittarimangalam Chandrasenan, a former Kathaprasangam artist, whose life influences the juvenile Mithun Chakravarthy (Krishnanand) in a care home in Kollam. Despite attempting to draw parallels between Kathaprasangam and Mithun's life, the film suffers from a disjointed narrative. The relationship between Chandrasenan and Mithun is a pivotal aspect but unfolds in an overly theatrical setting.

Mukesh delivers a standout performance, undergoing a remarkable transformation into a former Kathaprasangam artist now working in a sawmill. His vibrant portrayal on stage lends credibility to the film's concept. As the narrative progresses, Chandrasenan is enlisted to teach Kathaprasangam to Mithun, who aspires to participate in a youth festival competition. The film attempts to depict the struggles of marginalized individuals, like juveniles, to find confidence in mainstream society. However, these sequences come across as contrived and lack depth.

Mithun, with a troubled past fleeing Kolkata at a young age, gains confidence under Chandrasenan's guidance. The tale of 'Othello' triggers memories of his dancer mother (Ketaki Narayan) in Kolkata. Krishnanand portrays Mithun convincingly within the melodramatic context, while Unni Mukundan's role remains limited.

Despite its flat presentation and artificial dialogues, 'Kadhikan' gains some dramatic intensity in crucial scenes. The director's attempt to establish an emotional bond between Chandrasenan and Mithun gets entangled in conventional sentimental patterns, failing to make a significant impact. Musician Sanjoy Chowdhury contributes delightful tunes. While 'Kadhikan' showcases Mukesh's versatility, its plot struggles due to unimpressive storytelling, resulting in a superficial impact. Mukesh's stellar performance salvages this overdramatic film, albeit one lacking originality in its narrative.

K. R. Rejeesh