Ayyappanum Koshiyum Review: Biju Menon and Prithviraj pull off terrific acts in this unusual mass entertainer
‘Ayyappanum Koshiyum’ opens with a journey through the forest roads of Attappadi. Accompanying the visuals, is a folk song ‘Kalakkatha’ rendered by a tribal woman named Nanchamma. The decision to rope in someone from that background to lend more authenticity is there right throughout as writer-director Sachy leaves hardly any stone untold to make the film realistic yet completely entertaining.
Koshiy Kurian, a retired havildar from an prosperous background with high level contacts gets into a legal tussle with the police force in Attapadi lead by Ayyappan Nair. It is this conflict between the two lead characters that takes the film to some terrific moments back to back before it all concludes in a violent climax showdown. Though the plot might sound very thin, it is not. It is an intricately woven tale of revenge with a lot of important socio-political issues addressed.
Sachy’s compact writing is the biggest asset of the film. The fact that he was an advocate by profession helps big time as the narrative, here, mostly proceeds through legal conflicts. There is also a political subtext where issues like class divide, how bureaucracy is influenced by the affluent and the injustice faced by the tribal community are exposed.
The two titular characters – Koshiy Kurian and Ayyappan Nair – are in stark contrast to each other. They both come from entirely different backgrounds and that reflects on their character traits as well. Koshiy is a spoiled brat whose one act of vengeance triggers a series of events that almost leads to a disastrous ending. He comes off as an alpha male with an attitude problem, that’s majorly due to his upbringing. He has this innate toxic masculine nature but follows his own ethics and rules within the duel.
Ayyappan Nair, on the other hand, is a veteran cop with an unblemished record. He is married to a tribal woman and is revered by the local community. But beneath the khakis is a shady past, which eventually is woken up when he is pushed against the wall by his rival, Koshiy.
Though both the characters have equal importance, the narrative is structured such a way that the audience are likely to feel more inclined towards Ayyappan Nair. However, there are moments when he comes off as a real monster. There is a constant shift as they both try to outsmart each other with their sheer masculinity.
With ‘Ayyappanum Koshiyum’, Sachy has grown leaps and bounds as a writer and as a filmmaker. Just like any other mass entertainer, the film has some powerful dialogues but they are not just for the sake of it. Most of the dialogues are hard-hitting and real. They paint a clear picture about a character without being overdone.
Another telling aspect of the film is the presence of strong, well fleshed supporting characters. Koshiy’s father Kurian, Ayyappan Nair’s wife Kannamma, Circle Inspector Satheesh, CPO Sujith, the woman cop Jessy, driver Kumaran and advocate Rahim are all examples of well defined characters. It is not often that you see so many strong supporting characters in a so-called commercial film.
Commendable performances by all the supporting actors, especially Anil Nedumangad, Gowri Nandha, Anu Mohan and Kottayam Ramesh. Ranjith’s Kurian was a solid character with grey shades but the filmmaker-turned-actor could not pull it off easily. He was really good in some scenes but on most occasions, ended up being too loud. Another seasoned actor would have definitely brought much more to the table.
On the technical front, Sudeep Elamon has done well in capturing the length and breadth of Attapadi, a terrain hardly explored in Malayalam cinema. His organic camera movements while following the actors closely adds to the tense drama. The climax action block is among the most realistic shot fight sequences in recent memory. Jakes Bejoy’s music in this film is a revelation. As Prithviraj had earlier said, Jakes has composed one of the most unusual soundtracks for a mainstream film in Malayalam. The usage of folk songs and real artists adds to the local flavour. Director Sachy deserves credits as he has treated the terrain itself as a character as the geography is very important in this plot.
So basically, ‘Ayyappanum Koshiyum’ is what you call an unusual mass entertainer. With terrific performances from the two lead actors and a lot of freshness in the treatment, this film deserves your time and money.