Based on a real-life thief of the 19th century, Kayamkulam Kochunni, directed by Rosshan Andrrews and written by Bobby & Sanjay, passes by pretty easily. It doesn’t drag, there are no slow pauses, no sleepy lectures.
The film stars Nivin Pauly in the title role of Kochunni, a famed highwayman who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor during the British Raj in the early 19th century Central Travancore. Mohanlal makes an extended cameo appearance as highwayman Ithikkara Pakki.
Though the movie is on predictable lines, we should admit that it is an interesting fare, since it is a bio-pic and fictional elements cannot be added just for the sake of commercial compulsions.
The story here begins from Kochunni’s younger days. The village men mercilessly beat up his father, for stealing rice. That one event sets his moral compass, until it takes an about-turn many years later. In his youth, we see Kochunni gently advising a young boy who tries to steal banana from a shop, to never steal.
But society around him was such that he would turn into a thief in no time, one of the Robin Hood kind, who would steal from the rich upper caste families to feed the hungry.
It is a treat to watch as Nivin Pauly conveys the varying emotions in a superb manner. In a role which is quite different from what he has done until now, Nivin shines spectacularly well.
Priya Anand has a limited role to play. Babu Antony and Sunny Wayne are impressive. Mohanlal plays an extended cameo in mesmerizing style. He looks dapper and his character has been so well presented.
The music by Gopi Sundar, especially the background score whenever Mohanlal appears and the climax track elevates the scenes from being just a cliche. The climax sequence, reportedly shot by Nirav Shah portrays liberation breathtakingly and throughout it all, the martial art form Kalari underlines the role that power played.
Director Rosshan Andrrews and screenwriters Bobby and Sanjay have been extremely loyal to the comic book, adapting it for the big screen. The filmmakers have taken a very linear approach to narrating the tale of a flawed folk hero.
This is a film that is large in every conceivable way – large to look at and large of heart. Its strength lies in the fact that its soul overshadows the spectacle at each turn.
You might have heard this story n number of times, but it is worth your time and money, all over.
Kayamkulam Kochunni: Robin Hood in our midst
Director: Rosshan Andrrews
Producer: Gokulam Gopalan
Music Director: Gopi Sundar
Cast: Nivin Pauly Mohanla Sunny Wayne Babu Antony