The social comment in Sanalkumar Sasidharan's Ozhivudivasathe Kali could well make it a success at the box office, feels Paresh C Palicha.
Drinking is the favourite pastime of Malayalis, and this has seeped into our films too. Not a scene passes without someone taking a swig from the bottle albeit with the warning that it is harmful to health.
Now, award-winning director Sanalkumar Sasidharan has dealt with the same theme in his film Ozhivudivasathe Kali, which was adjudged as the Best Film by the jury of Kerala State Film Awards.
The movie has been inspired by a short story by writer Unni R, in which a group of friends party together on an election day. The director has taken the liberty to expand the scope of the story to fit his cinematic vision. So, the short story that happens in a room of a lodge over a evening is shifted to a government guest house in the middle of nowhere on a rain soaked day.
Here, five friends from different backgrounds come together to enjoy an unexpected holiday due to a by-election for the local assembly seat.
In addition to them, the guest house has a caretaker and a young cook.
As the friends get intoxicated with alcohol, a friendly banter starts, which at times, turn into arguments. A few of them also try to woo the young cook.
An undercurrent of humour makes you laugh every few minutes but the unexpected and shocking climax makes you jump out of your skin.
Apart from taking liberties in changing the milieu from the original story, the most daring thing that the director has done is working without a bound script and giving the actors space to improvise. The actors, most of them with a theatre background, utilise it well.
The director has been frugal on the technical front too -- the camera handled by Indrajith S remains static most of the time, at a safe distance from the actors. It may be discomforting for some as we are used to seeing technical wizardry in the name of camera-work and multiple cuts even in long, one-minute scene.
Sanal’s previous work Oraalppokkam was an esoteric travelogue marking the inner journey of a commitment phobic man, high on artistic value.
In Ozhivudivasathe Kali, he tries to make a social comment that would be accessible to the common folk and that could make it a success at the ticket counter.