Nna Thaan Case Kodu review: Kunchacko is marvellous in this enjoyable satire

Director Ratheesh Balakrishnan Poduval’s third film is beautifully scripted, hilarious, and has some interesting performances.
Kunchacko in Nna Thaan Case Kodu
Kunchacko in Nna Thaan Case Kodu
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Perpetually tanned, with a protruding lower jaw and a tendency to break into an unusual dance, Rajeevan can easily endear himself to an audience watching his story unroll. He belongs to that breed of men who had once thieved and then turned a new leaf with a budding relationship and a promising life. But like it happens to those who had once done unlawful things, Rajeevan struggles to clear his name in another mishap. Nna Thaan Case Kodu plucks a lesson from films that have stubbornly engaged in the unravelling of a simple incident around one man’s life and works wonders with its telling. Ratheesh Balakrishnan Poduval’s third film is a thoroughly enjoyable piece of work and Kunchacko Boban as Rajeevan is simply a marvel to watch.

Kunchacko’s growth as an actor in the last 25 years has been much commented upon, but little else can say it like Nna Thaan Case Kodu. It is the ease with which he becomes Rajeevan, with absolutely no trace of the glamour he is known for, that makes it so impressive. Almost defiantly, it’d seem, he rejects style and comfortably becomes the man who is at first a petty thief and then a labourer, moving with the flow of life.

Ratheesh, apparently still wanting to stick to the northern bit of Kerala with its adorable Malayalam slang, sets his script in Kasargod. Most of the actors are carefully chosen and new, speaking the language comfortably and unafraid to be in front of the camera – courtesy the work of Rajesh Madhavan, a wonderful actor and casting director. Rajesh is also in the film, among a slew of others, each a treat to watch with their most casual and hilarious dialogue delivery. But you have to be attentive, the humour is quick and passes by quietly, letting you catch up and laugh heartily later on.

Watch: Trailer of the film

It is not entirely silent in the background. There is a lovely song soon after the movie begins (music by Dawn Vincent) and Gayathrie, the female lead, saunters in, bringing love and romance. But it is so soon and sudden that you are left wondering about the film’s pace, before realising that the crux of the story is only coming. That happens on the night of that dance – which went viral showing Kunchacko, known to be a good dancer, throwing his shoulders and hands about like a machine that is out of control. It is a festival ground and the spirit is one of joy and camaraderie, Ousepachan’s old masterpiece ‘Devadootha’ on everyone’s lips.

The film takes the tone of a satire as a politician and his cronies sing along and ride home late. That’s when Rajeevan springs up at the wrong place and time, and gets mixed up in a case. Most of the rest of the film is set in a courtroom, but without the usual drama and with a lot of entertainment. Ratheesh has neatly scripted the characters popping up as bored and cunning advocates, clueless witnesses, and a really adorable judge (PP Kunhikrishnan). Rajeevan files a counter case, wanting to sue those responsible for his misfortune – a dog-bitten bottom and inability to work and, most of all, an injured dignity.

The script opens more plot lines, making it about the larger issue of potholes and poor roads and politics, but the underlying tone of satire never fades. Interestingly, Kunchacko’s recent success, Bheemante Vazhi, also dealt with the problem of narrow lanes and congestion.

There are many characters and sub stories (including one of two old women at a police station dressed for Sabarimala, while in the background are three burqa-clad women, all five of them in black), none taking away from the spirit of the film. The only bit of insensitivity comes in reducing an accidental death to a joke. If you have to find more flaws, you can point to the string of coincidences that bring the people that Rjaeevan looks for in front of him, or the ease with which he can convince others, or the unusually weak opposition. Or you can wonder why Rajeevan is given that protruding lower jaw. But the film is a beautifully crafted work for such nitpicking.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the series/film. TNM Editorial is independent of any business relationship the organisation may have with producers or any other members of its cast or crew.

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