Kaaval (2021) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen

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‘Kaaval’ might find great favor among Suresh Gopi’s fanbase, but might lack the knockout punch for the rest. I for one, at this point, would love to watch Gopi experimenting with roles that demand  the unexplored actor in him, rather than attempt a re-run of flicks that we have animatedly watched him in and applauded for, years back.


It almost feels like you have got aboard a time machine and travelled back to the nineties, and no, I am not talking of the time loop much discussed in Pellissery’s ‘Churuli’. Nithin Renji Panicker’s Suresh Gopi starrer ‘Kaaval’ is a trot back to familiarity, wherein all the major characters that make up the plot strike you as acquaintances.

One is reminded in particular of Joshi’s 1992 film ‘Kauravar’, a film that talked of a man who took up guardianship of three young girls of whom one is his daughter. The resemblance to ‘Kauravar’ ends there, though it should be pointed out that both adopt similar thriller modes and follow similar action designs.

It’s just another coincidence that Mammootty played Antony in ‘Kauravar’, while Renji Panicker plays a character with the same name in ‘Kaaval’. Antony Joseph has two children, Rachel (Rachel David) and Alex (Evan Anil), has lost a leg and is in dire debt. When loan sharks start hovering around his place with their eyes on something more than money, Antony senses danger and decides to seek help from the (only) one person whom he still trusts in the world.

The man whom he has in mind, is Thamban (Suresh Gopi) and the two have a bloody past to share. They had also managed to rub some real bad police men the wrong way, and with one of them committing suicide, a ruckus ensues that culminates in Antony losing a leg and Thamban shifting base to Palakkad.

The flashbacks over, Thamban lands at Kattappana with a thud, and takes Antony’s kids under his arms. There is an impressive line-up of antagonists at the other end, led by George (Jubil Rajan P Dev), Sub Inspector Madhu (Kichu Tellus), just to mention a few. In fact, this is quite a fertile ground that iron man Thamban arrives at with his steel suitcase, that sure looks way past its days.

Nithin Renji Panicker does get one thing right in ‘Kaaval’, and this is the wise way in which he cashes in on that angry-not-so-young-anymore man image of his leading star. While he is shown as being unsurpassable in his heydays,  he does take a thrashing or two this time, before bouncing back with vengeance.

What he doesn’t get right is the sorry plot that ‘Kaaval’ has that is as far from novelty as it could possibly be. In fact, there is hardly anything in it that you haven’t watched in umpteen thrillers before, and if you are one who is hoping for some miracle to throw in a few sparks into an otherwise lull plot, you will be disappointed.

There are also a couple of scenes that are appallingly middling, like the one which has a few militants wreaking havoc on the lives of locals and being taught a lesson or two in public relations by Thamban and Antony. The twist that awaits you at the very end is nothing brag worthy either, and if you have been real watchful, you might even spot the culprit from half a mile away.

‘Kaaval’ without doubt belongs to Suresh Gopi, and it’s a pleasure watching him in action in a role that he fits into with remarkable ease. The two young actors – Rachel and Evan – are remarkably good as well,  and so are the actors who play the baddies, especially  Jubil and Kichu. ‘Kaaval also has a couple of melodious songs set to tune by Ranjin Raj.

‘Kaaval’ might find great favor among Suresh Gopi’s fanbase, but might lack the knockout punch for the rest. I for one, at this point, would love to watch Gopi experimenting with roles that demand  the unexplored actor in him, rather than attempt a re-run of flicks that we have animatedly watched him in and applauded for, years back.


Verdict: Average


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