Riding on monumental expectations and hype, Kayamkulam Kochunni has landed amidst viewers who have grown up hearing tales about him at bedtime and watching series about him. This time, the makers couldn't afford to compromise on the research or execution, with the kind of scale and star cast with which his life story was attempted to be narrated on the big screen. As you leave the movie hall after the 2 hour 50 minute long film, you can't but credit the creators of Kochunni, for making a movie in which the content and presentation have been beautifully married to each other.
Rosshan Andrrews' Kayamkulam Kochunni narrates the highwayman's tale right from his childhood. It shows what pushed a father and his son into thieving, the casteist social order of the day and how Kochunni’s mind was set on helping the poor. The film also touches on how his many aides later betrayed him and how he managed to ride into our legends and hearts, generation after generation.
The makers have given the disclaimer that the film is fictional and have clearly taken some creative liberties about the story, that keeps you on the edge of the seat in every scene. Though the core story is something most Malayalis know, what makes the film engaging is how the various sequences of events get unravelled at an even pace. It drops at certain junctures of the story, but only to give the viewers that ultimate adrenaline rush towards the end with some high-octane action. Mohanlal's Ithikkara Pakki makes an entry at the right time and peppers the film with the right amount of excitement. Gopi Sunder's rousing music adds magic to each of the frames. The action sequences do justice to the genre and there are enough moments for viewers to be entertained, gasped in disbelief.
Nivin Pauly impresses by living the character effortlessly, both as the young, innocent braveheart and the animal-like highway man. The role of the villain Keshavakurup was safe with Sunny Wayne, who played it with the right amount of maturity. Babu Antony as Thangal and Priya Anand as Janaki have also played their roles well. The brief dance sequence that Mohanlal's character does midway through the tale are uncalled for, though, and adds no zing to the tale other than may be a round of claps from his diehard fans.
You might have heard this story n number of times, but it is worth your time and money, all over. The film has what it takes to bring alive all those visuals you had in mind, when you heard or read the story wonderstruck as a little kid.
Kayamkulam Kochunni Story:
Kochunni leaves his poverty-stricken home during childhood to lead a life of dignity. But the local chiefs, the social order and his own destiny coerce him to do what he is known for best - a heroic outlaw and Kerala's Robinhood