: Shadiya Akbar IPS, a renowned police officer, addresses a group of trainees by narrating a memorable instance from her career. The episode and the characters of the case offer her a valuable lesson in a current case, that extends beyond the litigation.
: ‘What the court needs is evidence. And without it, any hardened criminal walks scot free, and any innocent soul can turn a culprit.’
Time and again, this dictum has been repeated in our films, media and even some of the cases that rattled the societal conscience for the same reason, in the recent past. However, does relying on evidence alone help bring the unlawful to book? Can it ensure maximum justice? And if it can’t, what is the situation an ordinary, law-abiding citizen might end up in? 10 Kalpanakal, the directorial debut of editor-turned-filmmaker Don Max tries to explore these complexities in the system.
When she addresses a group of trainees, police officer Shadiya Akbar IPS (Meera Jasmine) recounts a case she investigated a few years ago and the characters involved in the incident. A case of repeated, gruesome murders of young girls in the State gets assigned to her and within no time, the officer nabs a man named Victor (Prashant Narayanan) as a sure suspect. While Shadiya and team have enough reasons to believe that the one arrested is the offender, the lack of solid evidences poses a hurdle to their inquiry.
A decent comeback vehicle for Meera Jasmine who was on a hiatus, 10 Kalpanakal has what it takes to keep the audience satisfactorily entertained through its length. At certain points the audience might foresee what is coming up next, but not how the story wraps up, for sure. Anoop Menon, who plays a prayerful forest officer, and Shebin Benson as his teenaged son give some convincing performances, but the actor who walks away with the trophy is the relatively lesser known actor Prashant Narayanan. The team should be given credit for the spot-on casting, while the actor proves them right with the precise portrayal of a character with grey areas. His expressions, dialogue delivery, body language and even the mere presence on screen enhance the overall story telling manifold.
In the meantime, a handful of portions in the film can come across as tad gruesome to those who can’t handle blood and gore on screen. Certain sequences are also not dubbed properly and over-dramatization of innocence and purity in quite a few scenes comes across as tedious. Also, how the title of the film is justified towards the end isn’t really tenable.
10 Kalpanakal re-treads lots of familiar essentials you have already seen in thrillers, but it has what it takes to keep you interested for two hours five minutes.