Workers from a rival outfit kill a member of the Communist party. The victim's party colleagues exact revenge - eye for an eye. Sounds like a familiar story? In a state that has seen its fair share of revenge and political killings, the story is bound to sound too real.
'Kothu', directed by veteran filmmaker Sibi Malayil, captures this political scenario quite realistically, though it may be questioned for the lopsided narration of the tale of violence.
Despite being a political drama, the film dwells deeply on human emotions, catching you unawares in the most unexpected places. This is the strength of the movie. It's nice to see Sibi Malayil back to his forte, though many may question his choice of diving deep into politics.
The film is set in modern-day Kannur, where the Communist party flag flies high. Asif Ali, plays Shanu, an event manager and a loyal party worker. We are told he has a tragic past which is revealed in the later part of the movie's first half.
Balanchandra master, played by Ranjith, has a great influence on his life. Shanu's duty to his party is what defines the movie. It is through him, that we are told the grim realities of ground politics and the life of a worker who agrees to toe the party line. Sibi Malayil, in a recent interview with Onmanorama, had said the movie offers Asif Ali a space to perform. In 'Kothu', we get to see Asif performing to his heart's content, both as a lover and a party worker.
Roshan Mathew, plays Sumesh, a strong and loyal friend. He drives most of the emotion in the movie. Roshan emotes his scenes with breathtaking sincerity.
Nikhila Vimal essays her character (Shanu's wife) with ease. Sreelakshmi, Vijilesh Karayad, and Renjith also play prominent roles in the film. The comedy is spot on. Screenwriter Hemanth Kumar needs to be commended for trying to call a spade a spade, though some of the situations seem forced towards the end. Some of the scenes also may seem illogical, but that is forgivable, as it happens only in bits and parts. In an industry that has churned out several political thrillers, 'Kothu' makes its politics clear without attempting to sugarcoat the truth. It also attempts to expose the sufferings of families, especially women and children, whose husbands and fathers are martyred for political reasons. The songs by Kailas Menon, the score by Jakes Bejoy and the cinematography by Prashant Raveendran do justice to 'Kothu', which pulls at your heartstrings with its thought-provoking message.