Once Upon a Time in Kochi Malayalam Movie

Feature Film | 2024 | Drama
'Once Upon A Time In Kochi' attempts to tackle the drug mafia's grip on the city through a non-linear narrative but falters with a cliched and chaotic script. Despite Arjun Ashokan's energetic performance, the film's predictable plot and poorly developed characters fail to engage the audience.
May 31, 2024 By K. R. Rejeesh


Set in Kochi, 'Once Upon A Time In Kochi' highlights the stronghold of drug mafia in the city and how they use youngsters as mules. Despite being a cliched thread, director Nadirshah ignores the possibilities of disrupting the story-telling format other than hinging on non-linear narrative initially. At the outset, the tepid events are flung into the world of crime and action, leaving little impact on the audience. In a bid to give a glittery touch to the narration, Nadirshah, who has also composed one song, pads out fripperies like songs, romance and action sequences; but neither of them helps build an engaging premise to the plot.


The script by Raffi never promises a comeback after setting the context of the tale. His writing style is mired in a sort of chaos when you reckon the intrusion of untimely humour in certain scenes which should have been conceived perfectly. The didactic approach to the theme sullies the possibility of generating fresh ideas in the tale other than creating the trite message of drug menace and a trapped youth in the trade.

The story begins with an incident at night witnessed by a few people including actor Ramkumar (Shine Tom Chacko) and tyre shop owner Chandrappan (Jaffer Idukki). The scenes of lovers Janaki Jayan (Devika Sanjay) and Haibi (Mubin M Raffi) running by lugging their baggage in the rainy night amplify the curiosity about the plot of the movie. At first, you witness a coalescence of events presented in a non-linear fashion giving sufficient innuendos about the nature of the movie. The disappearance of Sub Inspector Anand Das (Arjun Ashokan) crops up as the real conflict amid the drug mafia's effort to hide their goods from police.

Meanwhile, the story reveals the reasons behind the disappearance of Anand Das and his relation with Janaki. The romantic episode of Hibi and Janaki also has been placed in the proceedings, supported by songs. Only Arjun Ashokan gives an impression as the protagonist exudes ample energy and flexibility with zeal. His presence helps overcome the shortcomings of the fragile script to an extent. Here, debutant Mubin M Raffi is hardly facing a notable task in the movie to stay afloat. He also plays a role not so far from what his peers can do. As a performer Devika Sanjay finishes off things with ease and confidence. But a room for performance eludes her in the film despite Janakai going through various emotions in her attempts to study in the UK after getting rid of the clutches of drug mafia.

Even the presence of an ensemble cast fails to save this fragile script that quite often becomes an exaggerated drama, besides trying to portray the so-far ruthless villains as just dim-wits. Raffi appears as Usthad, a character who seems to be sans any individuality, and the character is stranded between sober and humour terrains. The intermittent songs properly extend the boredom while the viewers wait for a predictable climax. As a whole, 'Once Upon A Time In Kochi' offers a regulation tale in a package of crude events that fail to evoke any emotions.

K. R. Rejeesh