Life is not always either black or white. There are different shades that need to be accounted and addressed, even if it means breaking free from conventions. Mammootty Kampany's 'Kaathal The Core' takes that plunge, choosing a less trodden path to address an issue that rarely finds its way to mainstream Malayalam cinema.
In 'Kaathal The Core', Mammootty plays Mathew, a respectable person in society who is fielded as the Left party's candidate from Theekoyi panchayat in the elections. He is a man of few words and, seemingly, has a practical approach to life, without indulging in any drama. This is evident when he steps in to defend a young couple in love. 'All you have to do is make two extra chapathis for the boy ,' he tells the girl's mother, implying that barriers can be broken by a little acceptance.
Acceptance is a recurring theme in the movie that dwells mainly on family relationships and homosexuality. What are the consequences of being revealed as a homosexual? Are families still willing to understand and be more empathetic to the LGBTQ+ community, despite the historic decision to decriminalize homosexuality? All these elements are discussed in the movie.
Mathew's life turns upside down when his wife Omana files a divorce petition citing mental torture. This changes everyone's perspective of him. But what has truly changed? Is Mathew Devassy the man he professes to be or does he harbour dark secrets?
Just like the protagonist, the film also does not indulge in much drama, which may dishearten a few. Probably, this has to do with the matter-of-factly approach of the film. Except for filing a divorce petition, there are no dramatic or tense moments in the film. This is very unlike most movies and sops that handle family issues. All the same, Jeo Baby, in his own masterful way, manages to keep the movie going, with few flaws.
The scriptwriters Adarsh Sukumaran and Paulson Skaria deserve kudos for their mature handling of a sensitive subject. Mathews Pulickan's music is the biggest highlight of the film. His tracks fit in like a puzzle, beading a few scenes that would have otherwise been just bland.
The performances of the actors are impressive, but it is Mammootty as usual who takes the cake. That he chose to play an unconventional character at the zenith of his career is no less commendable. He owns every single frame. Jyothika too shines as Omana, Mathew's wife. Sudhi Kozhikode who plays Thankan, Mathew's friend, is truly amazing. Just like Nivin Pauly and Geethu Mohandas's 'Moothon', 'Kaathal The Core' will be remembered for its unconventional theme and for lending Mammootty one more praise-worthy character in his illustrious career.