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Times of India
Story: The film essays the course of developmental projects and the kind of impact it leaves on human lives.
There is something remarkably genuine about the way Mammootty plays shopkeeper Kunjananthan in Salim Ahamed's
. His face is marked by a perennial gloom. Often he is dour, detached and dissatisfied. His shop is his sentiment, perhaps the lone feeling that keeps him alive.
While playing Kunjananthan, Mammootty doesn't condescend, he rather connects and he does it masterfully at times. In one of the scenes, Kunjananthan, torn by the knowledge that his shop is going to be taken over for road development, watches his shop from a distance in the middle of night. A street light flickers and crackles in the patter of the rain. Mammootty's face is still as ice that could melt any time. He doesn't bat an eyelid and what could otherwise be a passive glance turns out to be a fleeting moment of poignancy.
Undoubtedly Mammootty owes it to a script brilliantly laced with stirring dialogues and deeply evocative moments. The film holds together human lives entangled in development projects. An ambitious road project threatens to derail the peaceful lives of a few shopkeepers in a village. Salim Ahamed adroitly balances issues and emotions with poise.
No downright statements are established, no myths are broken, Salim confines himself to a simple purpose; telling a beautiful tale earnestly. In between he lends supremely human touches to his characters. They are not overburdened by virtues; but the characters in Kunjananthante Kada are pure human beings prone to follies of their own.
Chithira, the unhappy wife of Kunjananthan is wide awake every night, her eyes glued to the luminance of her cell phone, while her husband, attached to his own sentiments and disconnected from his wife, walks off to watch over his shop. "If one has to feel sad or angry about a person, the other person should have a space in one's mind. When there is no space, there is no feeling," Kunjananthan tells himself, sitting amid sacks in his shop, during one of his midnight monologues.
Without deliberating too much on emotions or politics of development, the film gives out a faint appeal to snap off from the cobweb of sentiments and embrace the future. Nyla Usha who plays Chithira brings in an element of boldness which gives her character an irresistible identity. The fact that, this is done with a touch of subtlety makes
a film Salim Ahamed can be proud of.
'Kunjananthante Kada' is a moody, character driven drama that does have its fare share of sparkling moments. However, it falls short of being a classic on account of a sensory overload that scatters its themes all across.