Kamala (2019) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen


There is what seems like a shroud of mystery all over Ranjith Shankar’s ‘Kamala’  – at least initially – that dissipates as the film progresses beyond its first hour. Eventually, it strikes you as an odd mix in which a social issue has been almost forcefully interspersed into a thriller format, but where it juts out almost like a sore thumb.


There is what seems like a shroud of mystery all over Ranjith Shankar’s ‘Kamala’  – at least initially – that dissipates as the film progresses beyond its first hour. Eventually, it strikes you as an odd mix in which a social issue has been almost forcefully interspersed into a thriller format, but where it juts out almost like a sore thumb.

Safar (Aju Varghese) has his eyes fixed on a slimy land deal, in which he had almost persuaded a group of tribals to give up their abode to Ravi (Biju Sopanam), a businessman who hopes to come up with a resort on the forest land. On the day of signing the contract, Safar decides to meet up with Kamala (Ruhani Sharma), a woman whom he had previously had an acquaintance with, hoping that the meeting would lead to something more.

Kamala’s arrival turns the tables around, and while Safar is lured away into the forest by her, the land deal goes kaput. When Kamala disappears the following day, leaving a trail of questions behind her, Safar and his friends have no other option but to follow the string of clues that would untie the knots that she has left all over.

It’s surprising to see a script that gets shakier as it moves ahead, and the latter half of ‘Kamala’ is all over the place. Part of the commotion is (non) courtesy the two business men whom Safar has been dealing with, and their loud performances are perfectly complemented by their louder wives. The scene that involves Kamala and these women and the one preceding it that has Kamala displaying her agility to the men,  are caution signs of what lies further ahead.

You don’t need to be a sorcerer to guess where things are headed thereon, and it pretty much sticks to what you have in mind. There are several social issues that it skims over, displacement and police encounter murders being just two among them. But it makes no move to dig deeper and remains content with mostly peripheral observations.

There are no brain teasers in store here, and the plot after a while appears overdone and at times even overindulgent. Safar’s ex who appears initially as a voice over the phone and later as a face over the television is one such hollow character who gets to utter a few jaw dropper dialogues like the one in which she asks if he would like to have a girl’s number because she happens to be an orphan like him!

As harmless as Aju Varghese’s performance in ‘Kamala’ might seem, it also remains that it could hardly have made any difference had it been any other actor in Aju’s place. Safar does not strike you as a character that pushes Aju’s limits, unlike another role that we had seen him recently in, and while Aju does a neat job of it, there are hardly any moments of his that you would carry back home with you.

The title role is played by Ruhani Sharma, and it would remain a greater mystery than the story itself as to why a non-Malayalam speaking actor was cast in the role.  While Ruhani’s performance is intermittently convincing,  her speech robs it of the grace that it should otherwise have had. There are supporting performances from actors as Anoop Menon, Biju Sopanam and Sunil Sukhada, just to mention a few.

‘Kamala’ is in many ways a no-show, and though it tries its best with a story that finds it difficult to hold itself together, the cinematic experience that it provides is far from impressive. And it’s hard to believe that it comes from a film maker who had gifted us with a handful of charming films in the not so distant past.


Verdict: Average


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