If you have been following Popcorn Reviewss for a while then you would know that we like to accomodate and review movies from all languages. So this week got me thinking that we haven’t reviewed an Assamese film for quite a while now. And with SonyLiv coming up with a few critically acclaimed Assamese films a couple of weeks back, we just couldn’t thank our stars enough. With that I finished watching the 2016 Assamese film Kothanodi on SonyLiv which is in the fantasy horror genre. And more importantly, this film is directed by Bhaskar Hazarika who had later gone on to make one of my favourite films of 2019 Aamis. So naturally I was looking forward to this, does it live upto my expectations, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Kothanodi literally translating to The River Of Fables, follows four stories intertwined with each other with an element of folklore and horror to it. The story is niche and peculiar yet shocking and brilliant. The screenplay catches you by surprise too. What starts off as a fable where you warm up to the unusual stories, you marvel at the fact that they are bizarre yet engaging and interesting. To give you a perspective, I had watched and reviewed the French film Titane a while back which had an unusual story. I wondered whether such bizarre stories would ever be made in India, oblivious of the fact that there are films made which I may have missed. The subtle twists and the elements of mystery definitely keep you invested in the drama here. But, you just cannot be prepared enough for the final 30 minutes. Like in Aamis where the final 30 minutes had turned the tale on its head, here as well you will notice your jaw drop as each of the four stories reach its conclusion. The horror element is prevalent here and is potentially at its peak too. And there is one jump scare that commands your attention. Also, there is some level of gore that may not be for the faint hearted. But overall, the screenplay is an absolute winner here. It might seem peculiar but it is well worth your time.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are sparingly used with a good use of silence(or as we call it fillers) that add to the atmospherics and make a lasting impact. The music is good and so is the BGM. The cinematography is truely top notch and captures the nature beautifully. Director Bhaskar Hazarika is a legend, I cannot impose it enough. If there are any budding filmmakers out there and wish to do a case study on direction then please do study his work. Notice his story telling technique and how he keeps a few cards to himself before the final showdown that leaves you shell shocked. The direction is absolutely top notch!
The performances are excellent here. Kopil Bora as Poonai as a nicely layered role with a lot of mystery to it and he does a swell job. Asha Bordoloi as Malati is exceptional with her expressions and she does a fine job. Kasvi Sharma as Tejimola has the most empathetic role. You truely feel sad for her and her pain and she is simply terrific. Urmila Mahanta as Keteki is stupendous here and even in scenes that just requires her to emote she does a fantastic job. Zerifa Wahid as Senehi had the best written role here. Such a complex character and she is absolutely top notch, it is after a while that I have really enjoyed a performance to this extent. The veterans Adil Hussain as Devinath and Seema Biswas as Dhoneshwari are brilliant. They both are starkly different roles and they are absolutely breathtaking to watch.
Kothanodi might be niche and peculiar but it is shockingly brilliant and a film waiting to be discovered. I am so happy SonyLiv has picked it! This is a film Highly Highly Recommended from my end!