Cast: Indrajith, Thalaivasal Vijay, Aniruddh, Ashokan, Manikuttan, Vinay, Nithyamenon, Kani, Padmini Kolhapure, Babu Namboodiri.
Direction: V K Prakash
Beautiful was one of the most lauded movies of last years. As it is celebrating its hundred day run, the lovers of good cinema are natural to flock around the theatres that are screening its director V K Praksah’s next ‘Karmayogi’. As it was publicised as the desi take on Shakespeare’s Hamlet’ and as it earned good reviews in the last year’s IFFI at Goa, expectations were sky high on the movie to create some sort of classic in its league. Did the movie live up to its prospects? Before answering that, the first things first.
‘Karmayogi’ deserves accolades for recreating and placing the classic to the geographical and cultural milieu of the state, among the yogi tribes. Balram Mattannur famous for his ‘Kaliyattam’, has enmeshed the tale with plenty of myths and legends of Malabar to give it a desi look. Apart from some clear slip in costume selections ‘especially that of Nithya Menon, everything else falls in place for the period drama.
The movie has Indrajith as Rudran (Indrajith), who is seeking the truth behind his father’s untimely death. Following the tradition of the yogi community, his mother Mankamma (played by Padminee Kolhapurie, debuting in Malayalam) has already married his father’s younger brother Bhairavan (Thalaivaasl Vijay). Rudran who is a scholar in martial arts develop indecision and mistrust as he starts to see his father’s ghost (Indrajith again) trying to communicate something to him. Rudran now starts to behave in non characteristic manners and move about with ritualistic ‘bhikshadanam’ and tries to stay away from his shortlived romance with his childhood sweetheart (Nithya Menon). On realizing the plot behind his father’s murder, Rudran decides to have his ultimate vengeance. And how he has it forms the rest of the story.
Indrajith as usual, plays to the demands of the intricately woven role of an young man torn between love and desperate need for revenge. He seems to have worked overtime to get the difficult physical exercises right. Thaalaivasal Vijay as ‘Bhairavan’ slips into the tailor made role. Padmini Kolhapurie, in her first outing to Mollywood, impresses with the complex character of Mankamma. The rest of the cast from Ashokan, Saiju kurup and Nithya Menon are also appreciable in their shorter roles.
The technical side of the movie is top notch with well cinematographed sequences by R D Rajasekher. With the backing of plenty of keralaic art forms from Kelipatram, Kalarippayattu and Poorakkali, to that old-world charm of period settings and ambience, ‘karmayogi ‘has all the shades of a classic.
But it’s the direction by V K Prakash, which shows a strange dejavu of sorts as the technocrat director seems undecided whether to stick to formats of commercial cinema or to attempt a differently done art house flick. This indecision, similar to that of its lead protagonist, is visible all along the movie. He has attempted the songs including the duet with Indajith and Nithya as if in a commercial pot boiler. Though the dialogues are impressive the screenplay by Balram Mattanur lacks depth and appears disjointed and lacks logic, at times. The climax is also pictured without clarity and remains another unengaging episode of the movie that comes to sudden halt.
The songs and soundtrack by Ouseppachan is one other thing that stands apart, from the overall flow of events, giving some energy to otherwise leisurely narratives. His B G and songs like ‘Malar manchalil’and Sakthi siva shakthi ‘are quite classy compositions and match his stature of a National award winner.
Altogether, ‘Karmayogi’ is one another attempt, though based on a classic work fails to end up as another, due to it’s shoddy direction and poor treatment.