Varikkuzhiyile Kolapathakam (2019) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen


‘Varikkuzhiyile Kolapathakam’ makes for gripping viewing, and the atmospheric skill that the director displays in the film is admirable. With a brisk running time of not much more than a couple of hours, it unspools a tale of mystery that retains your focus right on the screen.


varikkuzhiyile-kolapathakam-malayalam-movie-review-veeyen

Some films, especially the ones that make it to the screens without as much as a whimper, take you by total surprise. Rejish Midhila’s ‘Varikkuzhiyile Kolapathakam’ is a far cry from the not-so-impressive debut of the director – ‘Lal Bahadur Shastri’ – that we got to see a few years back, and comes across as a film that takes a bold plunge into unexplored territory, thereby delivering an engaging experience.

Fr. Vincent Kombana (Amit Chakalakkal) is  much more than the parish priest at the islet of Arayan Thuruthu, where people look up to him in venerable , almost fearsome adoration. He has a say in pretty much everything that happens at the place, and manages multiple roles – that of a cleric, counselor, mediator, among a few others.

varikkuzhiyile-kolapathakam-malayalam-movie-review-veeyen

He is no ordinary priest either, and does not think twice before shoving his hard fist straight onto Jokuttan’s (Sudhi Koppa) face. Jokuttan had apparently locked up a young girl in a room, refusing to let her out, since her dad had refused to pay off his debts. Fr. Vincent also pays routine visits to the local toddy shop run by Joy (Dileesh Pothen) to ensure that no adulterated drink is served.

When news of Lissy’s (Lena) suicide reaches Fr. Vincent’s ears, the priest is shocked. Her husband Joy is devastated as well, and it is not much later, that the clergy man gets to witness a gruesome murder at night. The shrewd murderer realizing that the priest knows the truth, wastes no time, and arrives at the church requesting to offer a confession, and by doing so, ensures that the secret that the two of them share, will never be let out, as per the confidentiality that the Seal of Confession demands.

varikkuzhiyile-kolapathakam-malayalam-movie-review-veeyen

There is little suspense when it comes to the disclosure of the villain in ‘Varikkuzhiyile Kolapathakam’; rather what makes it interesting is the raison detre behind it. There is also the additional inquisitiveness that is brought in by not disclosing the one who has been murdered, and in this sense it is a film that works its way anticlockwise, with clues being dropped as to who the deceased could actually be! The monster for a change, is there for all to see, while the ones crushed under his stamp, lie veiled in the mud.

There is also some interesting detailing that is brought into the characterization, and the village hooker Shakunthala (Anjana Appukkuttan) and the electric post in front of her house, the bulb of which keeps being shattered by some person unknown are sketched with remarkable precision. There is a small crowd of the woman’s admirers who advance towards her place as the night falls, and they make an odd lot, lending a quaintness to this portrait.

This however does not mean that the script isn’t without its share of bugs, and the flashback that dwells on how the priest has earned his rogue image is one such. There is his dad (Lal) who dreams of seeing his son as a priest, and who agrees for a compromise of sorts on hearing his son’s aspiration to be a police officer. He suggests that the boy can choose the way of the religion after becoming a cop first; an offer that the boy readily agrees to, and we get to see him all set to don the police uniform, before throwing it all away in a moment of hasty retaliation.

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Amit Chakalakkal delivers a top-notch performance as Fr. Vincent Kombana, and is ably supported by a whole range of actors as Dileesh Pothen, Lena, Nandu, Nedumudi Venu, Amira Varma, Anjali Nair, Sudhi Koppa and Shammi Thilakan, only to mention a few. The musical score by Mejo Joseph is mellifluous, and Eldo Isaac’s frames strikingly beautiful, with those aerial shots of a coffin on a boat, with a fleet following close-by emerging as nothing short of spectacular.

‘Varikkuzhiyile Kolapathakam’ makes for gripping viewing, and the atmospheric skill that the director displays in the film is admirable. With a brisk running time of not much more than a couple of hours, it unspools a tale of mystery that retains your focus right on the screen.


Verdict: Above Average


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