A Character Driven Cinema-Malayalam Movie Kappela
Cast: Anna Ben, Roshan Mathew, Sreenath Bhasi
Director – Muhammad Musthafa
The unexpectedness, the mistakes, that is what makes a life. More than a reminder, Kappela is a reality check on how moments and people can be deceiving. Our imaginations and expectations of ourselves leave a delusion that is hard to differentiate from the harsh realities of life.
And we feel this all through the central female lead Jessi (played by Anna Ben). We see her go through a myriad of emotions in a very short span of time. She is a happy-to-go girl with nothing much planned for her life apart from upgrading to a smartphone from a Nokia handset. Anna Ben brings out Jessi with an innocent charm and cuteness. With each performance, Anna Ben just tightens her seat belt as a promising actress.
To her life comes her unexpected moment, a misdialed number, uniting her with Vishnu, an auto driver from Kozhikode. A romance over a misdialed number may seem cliched and melodramatic but the screenplay of Kappela intentionally confines this cliché, making the audience accept the fairy tale romance. We are left wondering why is this stalkerish behavior portrayed as something romantic and beautiful. But all these questions are answered towards the end.
Roshan Mathew does a surprisingly brilliant job as Vishnu. He is so convincing as a young auto driver with a good heart. It is interesting to see Roshan Mathew do diverse roles recently, may it be Choked or Moothon, every character is safe in his hands. To play a character that is initially pleasant but has a shady element is indeed a task which Roshan Mathew pulls off quite effortlessly.
Sreenath Bhasi has now become the go-to person for unexpected and surprising roles in Malayalam movies. I’m still not over his limited yet highly impactful performance in Trance. His credibility as an actor is increasing exponentially.
Director Muhammad Musthafa does not refrain from making a limited appearance in the second half of the film.
Kappela is more of a character-driven film rather than script-driven. It is the three characters played by these fabulous young actors that make Kappela a content-rich cinema. It is interesting to see how the three lead characters draw the chemistry that is worth appreciation.
Roy is initially depicted as a rough short-tempered guy when he tries to grab Annie’s jewelry. Maybe it was a scene to show us that Roy is an angry young man, but we definitely aren’t convinced that he is still a nice guy (seriously after all this?) But apart from this, there aren’t any loopholes in the film.
Kappela also offers a visual treat of the exquisite Wayanad hills and as Jessie bids adieu to her friend, we feel the heavy rains as much as we feel a sense of tension. Is it a romance drama? Is it a thriller? We are given no idea until the end when the film tightens all its loose grips. The uncertainty dictated by curiosity finds satisfaction as the film closes with Jessie walking away, now much mature.
It is a bit unfortunate that Kappela could not savor a theatre success due to the pandemic but thanks to Netflix, a good film can reach a bigger audience and is garnering superlatives.