The Kaapa Act was introduced in Kerala to rein in bloody gang wars that once rocked the state, especially the capital city. And to an extent, it has been effective at keeping gang rivalries at bay.
What the Act has achieved over the years, however, does not form the context of Shaji Kailas's latest outing 'Kaapa', unlike the title. Rather, the Prithviraj-starrer's focus is giving you a taste of the dreaded criminals ruling the alleys of the city and the bitter rivalries.
Gangster movies like these may not be new to Malayalis, but the director has managed to invoke our curiosity with unconventional twists.
The credit goes to G R Indugopan's script as the movie is largely based on his novella 'Shankhumukhi'.
Indugopan does not hold back dialogues laced with Thiruvananthapuram slang and peppered with curse words, but he has to be credited for keeping it neat, despite the foul language.
Kotta Madhu, played by Prithviraj, gains control of the streets of Thiruvananthapuram by murdering another gang leader. But his actions haunt him even after he lords over the gangsters in the city.
Meanwhile, Anand (Asif Ali) is trying to clear his wife Binu ( played by Anna Ben) from the Kaapa list, though she is unaware that her name figures in it.
This triggers an interesting twist. The action is mass though a bit tiresome, but what else can you expect from a film that revolves around gang wars? The scenes can also get gory at times, something that you need to keep in mind before heading to theatres.
This is easily Prithviraj's best action thriller this year, and he has nailed his act much better in 'Kaapa' than he did in 'Kaduva'. It has definitely been an interesting year for Prithviraj, who donned several roles across genres this year. Though his critics may deem him unfit to play comical or sentimental roles, he shines in delivering mass movies. His first film with Shaji Kailas, 'Simhasanam', may not have created magic in the box office, but the collaboration seems to be aging well, like fine wine.
Shaji Kailas seems to be getting a better grip of how modern mass entertainers work. In the 1990s, the director had won laurels as a commercial filmmaker, but, somehow that magic faded in the 2000s. Even his most recent work 'Kaduva' had remnants from the 1990s.
If Shaji Kailas's earlier work 'Kaduva' was just a mass entertainer, 'Kaapa' is a step ahead, both in terms of the story and emotion. The storyline gets predictable in the second half but the emotions and motives are compelling.
The female characters have enough space to perform and have broken some of the shackles of misogyny, which had marred Kaduva in many ways.
Jagadish is breaking free from comical roles like his counterparts Suraj and Indrans and has landed a meaty role to prove his calibre after Leela.
His Thiruvananthapuram dialect is spot on, though this is not the case with most characters in the film.
Overall, it is clear the Shaji Kailas- Prithviraj combo has worked, thanks to Indugopan’s crafty script writing.