Director: Mushin Parari
Production Co: LJ Films Pvt Ltd
Music Director: Bijibal
Cast: Unni Mukundan, Mamukkoya, Shine Tom Chacko, Aju Varghese, Sreenath Bhasi, Ahmed Sidique, Saiju Kurup, Neeraj Madhav, Aneesh G Menon, Lukman Lukku, Ashra Mohammed, Chandini Sreedharan
While the flashes of a directorial talent are very much obvious in Muhsin Parari’s filmmaking debut, ‘KL 10’ fails to pull together its countless characters and shape itself into a coherent whole. Visually engaging without doubt, ‘KL 10’ for all the experimentalism in its execution makes a totally undemanding watch.
Aftab (Neeraj Madhav), Faizal (Aju Varghese), Ajmal (Saiju Kurup), Yousef (Aneesh Menon) and a few others head straight for Calicut on a jeep, one fine morning, from their village called Thottintakkara near Nilmabur. There mission is to find Ahmed (Unni Mukundan), brother and fellow player on the football team, who has set off to register his wedding with Shadia (Chandni Sreedharan ) much against the wishes of their parents.
There is a craving to cram the two hours plus running time in ‘KL 10’ with characters and dialogues, that the viewer feels like a five year old who his estranged from his family on a fair ground. With nothing better to do, he merely roams about taking a look around, at the sounds and colours that make up a spectacle, not having a clue as to what the hubbub is all about.
The romantic strain that is expected to make ‘KL 10’ a diverse cinematic experience, is quite disappointing, in that the it seldom reaches across and creates a flutter. If the lovers – Shadia and Ahmed – strike you as indifferent at the beginning, it doesn’t much change, even after the flashback that reveals the process of falling in love.
The umpteen frames in slow motion with almost everyone around moving about lethargically, sets a languid tone to the entire film. It’s almost as if ‘KL 10’ has got all the time in the world to recount the story that it has in mind, and it takes what seems forever to set the ball rolling in its court.
The occasional attempts to bring in a philosophical air almost backfire what with the viewers wondering about the significance of the discussions in the immediate context. Ahmed asks his professor as to what the difference between Ishq and Mohabbat are, and gets the reply that one is selfless while the other isn’t. On hind thought, I shouldn’t also forget to mention the Jinn Jango (Sreenath Bhasi) who is the odd narrator in the film.
It is then that we realize that Ahmed is no village bumpkin with an uncharacteristic affection for football. He is one who is well versed in issues as religion for instance, and engages in dinner table discussions with Roshan (Ahmed Siddique) that often turn out to be quite ear-splitting. He is also a man with a distinct political ideology, who can make efforts to accept a different thought as well.
Despite all this, the protagonist in ‘KL 10’ is as confused as the film itself, and even at the end of it, it becomes impossible to chalk him out in precise terms. Just as you convince yourself that there might be strains of maturity in the young man, his juvenile behaviour notwithstanding, he springs a surprise on you with an answer to a friend’s question as to what has saddened him the most in life, which draws the final line on Ahmed and his story – neither of which need to be taken seriously.
Unni Mukundan just about makes do with his act as Ahmed, and the bewilderment that is a key characteristics of the character, seems to have spread over the actor as well. However, ‘KL 10’ will probably be noted for its very confident heroine Chandni Sreedharan, who makes a sparkling debut in Malayalam films. The rest of the cast including Saiju Kurup, Aju Varghese, Neeraj Madhav, Neena Kurup and Ahmed Siddique asre strictly adequate in their respective roles.
There is an inviting softness to ‘KL 10’ that cannot be ignored. But lacking a strapping centre of gravity it emerges as a futile exercise that is far from an inspiring experience.
2 out of 5 (Okay)