That romance never loses its sheen is proven through art and literature time and again and RJ Mathukutty makes no mistake in capturing its essence in the medium where both culminate. 'Kunjeldho' written and directed by Mathukutty conjures the magic of youthful vibrancy and romantic fervour while telling a poignant love story.
Though we have umpteen campus tales in Malayalam, this one is never an overdose but evokes a sense of nostalgia for those who have gone long past the college years and a sense of being one with the premise for those who are still in their college days.
Though it has a shaky start, the narrative whizzes past engagingly as it moves on. The whims and fancies of innocent young adults keep the viewers absorbed inside the classrooms, campus and playgrounds. At times the gags are jerky but there are enough elements throughout the movie to generate genuine guffaws.
And when crises befall the lovers the business gets intense and serious and there is no way but to wait and how it pans out eventually.
Asif Ali, as Kunjeldho, stages a brilliant piece of performance, in fact, the best of him so far. As a romantic youth, he marvels in exuding innocence, emotions and helplessness. Keeping Kunjeldho company as his pair in the movie is Nivedita, played by Gopika Udayan. The maturity and meticulousness with which she essays the role are beyond words. Siddique as Prof Geevarghese excels in nailing the character as a significant part of the story - slightly wacky yet not losing the balance.
Rekha, Sudheesh, Aswathy Sreekanth, Jasnya Jayadeesh, Kritika Pradeep, Arjun Gopal and Akku Melparamba all are outstanding in making the journey a wonderful experience.
The cinematography, by Swaroop Philip, is a magnificent example of how a camera can be an effective storyteller by toying with the campus bustle, capturing human emotions, taking wings to sense peace and so on. The music by Shaan Rahman and the songs penned by Santhosh Varma, Ashwathi Sreekanth and Anu Elizabeth Jose play equally remarkable roles in elevating the mood of the ambience.
Brilliance of Mathukutty in throwing tiny bits of casual scenes and dialogue that drill deep into the senses making the eyes wet and keeping a lump in the throat is worth mentioning.
The makers have tried to narrate the story realistically, but some missing details make it fall short and that is what makes it less of a classic. Meanwhile, Kunjeldho will remain an aesthetically driven and brilliantly narrated love story.