The ‘Uyare’ director’s latest film works when it patiently unravels its many layers, but spoils it with a convenient stitching-up towards the end
Somewhere along the process of scripting Kaanekkaane, Bobby-Sanjay might have thought about the kind of balance that they would need to keep between its thriller and family-drama elements. All through the intense first half of the film, the pull towards both these sides is evident, in what becomes quite a tightrope walk. This tussle in the structure is almost as engaging as the one within the story… until it lasts.
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At the centre of the story is Paul (Suraj Venjaramoodu), a Government employee, who is yet to recover from the death of his daughter Sherin (Shruti Ramachandran) in a road accident one year before. He is still pursuing the hit-and-run case in court. On a visit to the house of his son-in-law Alan’s (Tovino Thomas) house, who is now married to Sneha (Aiswarya Lekshmi), he feels that everyone else has moved on. But niggling doubts about the daughter’s death makes him pursue the case further.
- Director: Manu Ashokan
- Cast: Suraj Venjaramoodu, Tovino Thomas, Aiswarya Lekshmi
After his successful directorial debut Uyare, also written by Bobby-Sanjay, Manu Ashokan returns with a film which is somewhat different in its content and pacing. We delve deep into the minds of the central characters, getting a sense of the overpowering emotions that drive many of their actions. For a film in which a single event from the past has a bearing on almost all that is happening in the present, flashbacks appear seamlessly in the narrative, sometimes with the viewer taking some time to realise the fact. One or the other character slips into a memory from the past, and sees it in a new light from what they have learned in the present, as in the case of a New Year’s Eve celebration from earlier.
While on one side, we have Paul in dogged pursuit of one clue after another, on the other, there is Sneha, who is struggling with the indifference of her husband. The film, with its measured, comfortable pace, remains steady and engaging in these initial parts. The natural pull towards a happy ending starts just after the halfway point, when the mystery behind the circumstances that led to Sherin’s death is revealed. Although one gets a sense of the reveal having come a little too early, it also brings to us the expectations of what the writers will do with these characters in the remaining time. These expectations are belied when the film moves towards a rather tame climax, that also seems to be too forgiving of a heartless act.
There is also more than one case of characters behaving out of character, seemingly for the convenience of the narrative. The ever-dependable Suraj carries much of the film, but even his shift comes across as unconvincing in the climax. Kaanekkaane works when it patiently unravels its many layers, but spoils it with a convenient stitching-up.
Kaanekkaane is currently streaming on SonyLIV