It’s indeed tricky to review a film like Blessy’s ‘Kalimannu’. Yes, the topic of discussion is indeed noble but the real question is whether this movie can strike a chord with the viewer?
Meera (Swetha Menon) is a Bombay based bar-dancer turned Bollywood item dancer, who is making her debut as a heroine in a new film. Her husband, Shyam (Biju Menon) is a taxi driver, who is brain-dead after a fatal accident on the day of the film’s preview. How will she cope up with the tragedy is what the film deals with from then on.
With a lazily written script, the director uses every clichés and gimmicks in the book to attract the viewer. From the announcement of the film, the efforts have been to market Swetha Menon’s real life pregnancy and delivery.
The original scenes showing her pain, feelings and love while giving birth to her daughter is absolutely riveting. Those moments can leave you moist-eyed. But the rest of the story is a sham.
It is evident that this thoroughly unconvincing story was just created when the actor’s willingness to appear before the camera, as she goes through the greatest moments of a woman’s life, was known. Some masala item numbers have also been added for titillation.
Then there is some smartly woven in-film branding where some hospitals and medical equipment get “special mention.” There are some talk shows where the plight of hapless women are discussed and the inhuman nature of the media while looking for spicy stories come under the scanner.
The catch here is that most of the viewers may not dare criticize all these smartly packaged pretentious sequences. The messages can be accepted and the concerns can be shared for sure. The issues here are topical, but are we at the theatres to watch a sheepish docufiction?
Even if one is ready to listen to the sermons, the hypocrisy of the writer-director in selling virtues without any conviction looms large. The intimate feelings of the wife or the mother barely get any screen space as the director desperately tries to sell emotions in a superficial way.
The visuals by Satheesh Kurup and the tunes by M Jayachandran are top notch. The melodious song ‘Lalee Lalee…’ can melt your heart.
Among the performances, Swetha Menon gives her heart and soul to the film with an amazing boldness. Though she sleepwalks through the rest of the scenes, you can watch her only in awe as she goes through the various stages of her delivery. The rest of the cast, including the husband played by Biju Menon and a friend played by Suhasini, has nothing much to do.
Kalimannu definitely leaves you in an emotional mood but this one lacks sincerity. Director B Unnikrishnan, who appears in a cameo, asks the crowd on why they were silent when a young girl was raped in Faridabad days after thousands lines up lighting candles for the Delhi gang rape victim.