Kadina Kadoramee Andakadaham Movie Review: An emotionally stirring tale from a not-so-distant past
They say half the job is done if you get the casting right. KKA stands as a testament to that.
Exactly two years back, it was during this time that the pandemic situation started worsening and we were all just getting used to the 'new normals'. Masks were a must and the words 'lockdown', 'quarantine', and 'containment zone' were becoming a part of our everyday vocabulary. Although the world is a much better place today, the scars from that dreadful phase are still fresh among many. Muhashin's debut feature, Kadina Kadoramee Andakadaham (KKA), takes us back to those days with the story of Bachu (Basil Joseph) and a few locals from coastal Kozhikode. It is a documentation of a period when life in this andakadaham was truly kadina kadoram.
Cast: Basil Joseph, Sreeja Ravi, Binu Pappu, Indrans, Swathi Das Prabhu
Basheerudheen aka Bachu is the representative of a large section of the Malayali youth who are forced against their wish to move abroad for a living. Bachu, though, is against the idea of toiling hard in a foreign country like his father. Initially, it might seem like he is just being lazy and irresponsible, but it is later during an emotional conversation with a friend we realise why he resists. To prove himself, he tries his hand in small-time businesses but ends up piling up debts. Just when we think KKA is about Bachu and his financial struggles, comes an unexpected jolt. And what's more unexpected than death?
In his previous films, Unda and Puzhu, Harshad spoke about the discrimination faced by the marginalised—tribals and Dalits in Unda, Dalits and Muslims in Puzhu. Both these films had a wave of raging anger against the system. In KKA, he is once again critical of the system as he attempts to showcase its apathy towards the common man. The perfectly placed tail-end drives home the point smoothly. Director Muhashin also succeeds in getting the treatment right without going overtly loud and preachy. The debutant shows sparks of subtle filmmaking at various points like this fleeting moment when we see a shot of Bachu's Whatsapp chats with his father. There are dozens of voice messages from the dad, but not one from this end. A lot is communicated without any dialogues. There's another beautiful scene when Bachu holds his ex-girlfriend (now a divorcee) close, with her son resting on his shoulders. Lion's share of credits for enhancing the poignancy of these moments should go to composer Govind Vasantha.
In filmmaking, they say half the job is done if you get the casting right. KKA stands as a testament to that. With his guy-next-door looks, Basil is apt for playing a character like Bachu, who is ambitious, vulnerable, and flawed. But not as flawed as Rajesh of Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey. The filmmaker-turned-actor understands this and is mostly restrained. Though he is bettering himself as an actor with each film, there are still a few portions in KKA where he was found wanting.
Harshad's script also offers space for some other interesting characters, including three well-etched women — Bachu's mother, sister, and ex-girlfriend. Sreeja Ravi as Bachu's mother is fabulous as she switches her emotions effortlessly. Sreeja, who has been acing the voice act for years now, finally gets a role to prove her mettle. An absolute natural, Sreeja is at her best when she portrays the longingness of an expat's wife. There's also a subtle romantic touch to their relationship, which is not something we get to see often for middle-aged couples in our cinema.
KKA also explores friendships among different sex and age groups. Azi (Thallumaala-fame Swathi Das Prabhu) always has Bachu's back, but doesn't hold back from calling out his selfishness. Their fathers too share a thick bond, which is indicated through a few dialogues. Indrans, with his poignant act, takes care of conveying its depth. Similarly refreshing is the friendship track involving Bachu's sister, Bushara, and her childhood friend, Vijeesh (Nirmal Palazhi). Bushara's marriage is in shambles for helping Vijeesh financially without the knowledge of her husband, but she stands firmly for her rights. In a judgemental and regressive society that's quick to slander a woman, she is resolute to not let anyone character-assassinate her. Fara Shibla efficiently handles the character. Binu Pappu as her husband also gets a good part as the typical Malayali with a bloated male ego, who is also humane enough to be with the family during a period of crisis.
It's heartening to see an actor like Nirmal Palazhi, who has often been sidelined in dumb, side-kick characters, in a noteworthy role. Veterans like Indrans, Sudheesh, Jaffer Idukki play brief roles but ensure they make a lasting impact. Another character that lingers long is Bachu's father, whose face is never shown in the film. One can't help but imagine him as Mammootty's Pallikkal Narayanan from Pathemari as the struggles and closure both these characters get are almost similar. The similarities don't end with the characters, it extends to the audience watching these films as well. The tears will invariably flow, no matter how kadina kadoram your heart is.