It is still a start of the week and while we deal with our Monday blues, there is a new Malayalam movie in town. With that I finished watching Kuttavum Shikshayum on Netflix last night. I had been getting quite a few recommendations about this film even from my Youtube subscribers. But what caught me off guard was the low imdb rating of just 5.3 over the weekend. I was wondering why would a film with such a low imdb rating be recommended to me for a review. But such is the case with Malayalam films for me that they have a certain quality tagged to them. Even a “weak” Malayalam film is way better than any of the other “good” films lately and that trend has continued for over two years now. To top it Kuttavum Shikshayum is directed by Rajeev Ravi whose previous work Kammatipaadam was quite a good watch. So with much hope, I ventured into the film Kuttavum Shikshayum. And here are my two cents on it.
Story & Screenplay
Based on a true incident of a robbery in 2015, Kuttavum Shikshayum follows the story of 5 police officers from the Kerala force who risk their lives to nab the culprits. The story is a proper investigative drama which unfolds step by step. There is no extra drama which wraps around the main plot. It is a thorough procedural with the audience being a silent spectator right throughout the investigation. The screenplay standing at 135 minutes is just right and it ensures that the drama does not drag.
The screenplay is a slow burn. It opens with a flashback featuring an officer who is suffering from depression. Soon, there is a robbery at a jewelry store and the investigation kicks in with a bunch of police officers. Each event and suspect is tactfully presented at the very beginning. The way of elimination seemed very organic and it is here that you are completely invested in the drama. The proceedings are consistently interesting and you are thoroughly engrossed in the film.
Once the drama shifts to Rajasthan, the genius of the writing kicks in when the drama goes beyond the usual investigation bit. The plight of the police officers and the facilities and conditions which they have to work in is well packaged as a part of the social commentary. This while the investigation continues with several thrilling moments along the way. However, I felt the final act was a tad underwhelming in otherwise what was a splendid screenplay. But the final act also makes you think on the purpose of nabbing the culprits in what is a fine social commentary.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues definitely packed a punch and managed to create an impact. Also, the dialogues are true to the area where the drama is set in particularly in the second hour. The movie is devoid of songs and the sparingly used BGM gives makes this drama look real. The cinematography capturing the dusty and rustic landscapes of Rajasthan give a raw vibe to the drama, all of which adds a good amount of ambience to it. Director Rajeev Ravi does a splendid job here. You do see shades of Anurag Kashyap in his direction particularly in the second hour where the drama goes beyond investigation. The direction is top notch.
The performances are outstanding. Pooja Gurjar and Maheshwari Shekhawat have their moments to shine. Srindaa is pretty natural here despite a limited screen time. Senthil Krishna is outstanding as is Alencier Ley Lopez who is equally brilliant. Sunny Wayne is so refreshing in a role which was unlike anything that I have seen him in. His smaller nuances to his character including the scene where he breaks down really makes you empathize with his character. Sharaf U Dheen is outstanding and does a fine job. But it is Asif Ali as Sajan who yet again proves his mettle as an actor. He is absolutely convincing as the cop and does a fine job in commanding your attention. His “depression” angle could have been tapped a little more but it is a towering performance by him again.
Kuttavum Shikshayum is a perfect investigative drama which is raw and real and worth every minute of your time. Available on Netflix and Highly Recommended!
PS : Do not always follow the imdb rating. There maybe a chance where you would miss out on gems like these!