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Times of India
Yakoob owns a small town theatre Kanyaka Talkies that mostly plays soft porn films. A series of personal tragedies force him to hand over the property to the church. The building is converted to a chapel with a young priest as its vicar. Strangely enough, the priest starts hearing bizarre, disturbing noises from the building, and its disreputable past begins to intrigue him.
Small-town theatres thriving on soft porn movies were once ubiquitous in Kerala, wiped out after the advent of the internet. Kanyaka Talkies attempts to pay tribute to these almost-extinct joints, besides exploring the link between religion and sensuality.
Located in a sleepy suburb, Yakoob's (Alencier Lee) time-worn theatre Kanyaka Talkies survives by screening soft porn films. After a slew of personal misfortunes, he hands it over to the local Christian diocese for free. The theatre becomes a church, and young priest Michael (Murali Gopi) takes charge. Soon, noises with an element of sexual innuendo - reminiscent of the building's sordid past - start haunting him.
The film attempts to explore the nuances of desire, hypocrisy, guilt and religion. Despite age-old efforts to compartmentalize raw, unadulterated human emotions and religious morality, time and again we are reminded of the connection between them, be it through our fallibility or through irrational experiences. Isn't the biological drive of desire - often interpreted as sinful by religions - an integral part of who we are, regardless of all the efforts to be in denial? How easy is it to forgo sensual pleasures in a world bombarded by avenues of its availability? Watching Kanyaka Talkies, some of these questions pop into your mind.
It is refreshing to see Murali Gopi in a non-macho avatar as opposed to the bad boy roles he plays in M-Town, and he does justice to the character. The rest of the cast, especially Lena and Alencier Lee, also deliver commendable performances. Kanyaka Talkies triggers genuine curiosity on certain aspects of life and is fairly engaging. Check out this movie if you're in the mood for some insightful cinema.