Ranjith Sankar has an uncanny knack for marketing and he used those skills to convince us that elephant dung is a perfect raw material for incense sticks in Punyalan Agarbathis, and prompted homemakers to dream about freedom and indepenence in Ramante Eden Thottam. But his latest offering appears to be an aberration, as he has failed to convince us the mystery of Kamala. The Aju Varghese-starrer looks more like a planned story, a suspense thriller shot because the director wanted to make one.
Aju Varghese plays the role of a real estate and property broker named Safar. He is the perfect choice for the typical Malayali male character. Though he has done his level best to convey the mystery-thriller mood of the movie, at times, Aju's performance appears artificial. It looked like Aju was intentionally limiting his spontaneous expressions and responses to look serious.
Kamala, a solo traveller whom Safar meets during an internet business transaction, drops in at his friends' resort in the middle of Athirappilly forest with a hidden intention. She spends some time with Safar and leaves him on a fine morning. The movie progresses through Safar's search to find out Kamala's details.
The first half of the movie has a light-hearted romantic mood where Safar and Kamala travel and explore nature together. Post interval, the movie takes an acute turn and starts narrating the tales of tribal movements, identity politics, racism and armed revolution. The movie gradually unravels the mystery surrounding Kamala and her intentions. The filmmaker makes the audience seek Kamala along with Safar until a point in the second half, where he finally solves the puzzle for the audience. Since then, Safar is alone in his search.
Kamala's intentions and her spirit were only partially conveyed to audience as her back-story was narrated by a journalist, Sreeja Syam, to Safar over phone. Lack of enough visual representation and underpresentation of tribal issues and their cause made the movie a bit lagging and monotonous.
Ruhani Sharma has delivered a nice performance as both Kamala and Nidhi. Her sharp facial features, hooking eye-contact and dialogues maintained the dark hue over her character till climax. Anoop Menon has played a pivotal role in the movie. Biju Sopanam and Sunil Sukhada look natural as two rival businessmen. Sruthy Ramachandran's husky voice was perfect for mysterious Kamala.
The movie has captured the beauty and enigma of Athirappilly forest range. Excellent background score, which sustains the suspense element all through the movie and stunning camera and cinematography add to the overall feel offered by the movie.
The beauty of Ranjith Sankar movies is that, each of them has a fire, a cause which audience could take back home, ponder and get inspired from. As a suspense thriller, Kamala opens and closes her chapter in the theatre itself, leaving the audience blank once the movie ends. Overall, Kamala is a puzzle that the makers are yet to solve completely.