Language : Malayalam
Director : Jeethu Joseph
Writers : K.R. Krishna Kumar
Cast : Asif Ali, Jaffer Idukki, Renji Panicker, Abhiram Pothuval, Baiju.
Genre : Drama | Mystery |Thriller
Streaming in Theatres near you.
Slight spoilers ensue: Regarding the nature and characters of the film.
There has always been a discourse among film enthusiasts regarding the kind of films that are superior. For some, it’s character-driven while others are fans of plot-driven cinema. I’m someone who roots for and enjoys watching films that belong to the former. Jeethu Joseph’s latest, Kooman, is one such film that smartly explores the psyche of its lead character to deliver a neat thriller.
Giri, played by Asif Ali, is someone who takes everything; a small comment or a big insult, very personally. He’s not an overthinker nor an introvert but his mindset is such that he needs to exact revenge for even the smallest of incidents; something that turns into an obsession later. Writer K.R Krishnakumar explores this peculiar trait of Giri during the first half of Kooman to lure the audience into its unique premise. The screenplay wastes no time in introducing us to Giri and exposes his dark side through several episodes. Giri is never shown in a negative light but the writing also steers away from taking a soft stand towards his actions. By focusing on Giri and his uncontrollable obsession, Kooman builds up a lot of momentum that reaches its peak during the interval point.
Post interval, the film starts on a promising note but soon loses steam, once it enters into the thriller zone. While these portions are decently executed, the writing fails to incorporate the personal traumas of Giri effectively into the investigation bits. The focus of the film shifts from him as it proceeds toward the climax, and as a result, the subplots are not provided with adequate closures. It’s admirable that the film addresses a piece of recent hot news that took place in Kerala but the impact it creates on the viewers is limited. There are a few convenient stretches in the second half that only act as a tool to ease up proceedings for the protagonist. As a result, the second feels overlong and never really achieves the highs of its first half.
Jeethu Joseph’s treatment of Kooman is appreciable. He keeps it in the noir zone right from the beginning which benefits the film once it shifts into the mystical phase. It also doubles up to create a sense of tension throughout as Giri gets embroiled in a number of unforeseen incidents. The night shots play a prominent role in Kooman and Satheesh Kurup’s cinematography does enough to generate a feeling of dread when the sequences play out. The climax sequence has been shot and executed well within the confined space. Vishnu Shyam’s background music sticks to the mood of the film and elevates some of the key sequences.
Asif Ali is an actor who keeps pushing himself to do challenging characters and his recent filmography is a clear indicator of the same. Even though box office success has eluded him for a while, the man has kept pushing his acting boundaries. Giri in Kooman is probably his best to date and he gets to play a wide range of emotions and delivers them with finesse. It’s a character one can easily despise but Asif succeeds in making us root for Giri despite his troubled personality. Being a character-driven film, Asif being able to convincingly pull off the role was critical to Kooman’s success and he has nailed the part. From start to finish this is an enticing Asif show. Jaffer Idukki, with his excellent dialogue rendition is the next noteworthy performer.
Overall, Kooman is a well-executed thriller drama that conflates a few genres into its narrative. It’s not devoid of genre cliches and other shortcomings but the positives outweigh the negatives to ensure a riveting experience at the theatres. Asif Ali’s stellar performance is another factor why you would want to watch Kooman this weekend.
Verdict : 4/7 stars