Daivame Kaithozham K Kumarakanam: A flawed satire
The satirical elements blend well into the narrative in the first half but lose steam in the second
The origin of every discourse on gender politics happens at the micro level, between a husband and his wife. That is the arena where the most potent of debates on gender equality occurs. Salim Kumar's Daivame Kaithozham K Kumarakanam is a take on this equation, or that's the hint we get from this endeavour, where the narrative, for the most part, is lost in translation.
Director: Salim Kumar
Cast: Jayaram, Salim Kumar, Anusree
The plot is basic. Krishna Kumar aka K Kumar (Jayaram) is a male chauvinist personified, and his wife Nirmala (Anusree) is a dutiful wife, who fights over their dominant-submissive roles. Like the plot, the issues they raise are basic, like about household chores and how he expects her to rear four children and four cows like his mother did. Amidst this melee arrives a guest, 'Daivam' (Nedumudy Venu). Once between a war of words, both ask the god for a role reversal. Their wish is granted. But, things clearly don't go as they planned.
There seems to be enough raw material for a sharp satire, but before our expectations climb, Salim Kumar disappoints us with a pointless narrative, before closing up with a vague conclusion. It begins well enough, though. Salim Kumar leaves nothing behind when he takes a dig at typical Malayali psyche, the patient queue before the liquor shop, the migrant labourer influx, blind belief of age-old superstitions and 'bribing' the gods. His own character of Gopi Karimannur, a jewellery shop owner, is fun too.
The satirical elements blend well into the narrative and such potshots make the first half of Daivame Kaithozham K Kumarakanam a good watch. But, when it comes to the bigger picture, Salim Kumar fails to display the same fervour. Many times, the irony is hard to miss, like when Nirmala, after a few days of doing her husband's job, confesses to being ill-equipped for the task. Even the characterisation of Nirmala is flawed with her never getting out of the dutiful wife mode.
The second half is devoted to how the couple tries to come out of the mess, and with it, the film loses its form by compromising its satirical nature. Most the sequences in the second half are cringe-worthy, doing nothing much for the cause of the film.
However, one of the strong points of the film is Jayaram, who enacts a role that we identify him with. He reminds us a lot of the character he played in Veruthe Alla Bharya.
Daivame Kaithozham K Kumarakanam is entertaining in bits, but it can't be taken seriously, for the careless way it deals with a relevant issue. But, as simple satire, it does a pretty decent job.