: An onscreen adaptation of Unni R's short story Leela, it's a movie about a middle-aged man's efforts to fulfil one of his kooky sexual fantasies.
: Director Ranjith has been banking on adaptations to make his films for quite a while, and it's not always that he hits the bull's eye. But with Leela, he has hit the nail on the head. The film is not a definite representation of Unni R's short story, and the plot is impressively tweaked to suit a movie experience. The candour of the film also might not go down well with all, especially with the family viewers and the 'moral policing' lot, as the story is interspersed with rough-hewn talks on aspects of sex, often.
Perched on a razor's edge between comedy and drama, Leela is packed with crisp humour, sentiments and amorous thoughts to entertain viewers. As many would be aware, the movie follows a libidinous yet compassionate Kuttiyappan (Biju Menon), who singlehandedly luxuriates in the fortune left by his ancestors. He is in pursuit of a desirable woman and a tusker, to fulfil one of his sexual chimeras. His Man Friday Pillechan (Vijayaraghavan) is also with him and many things fun happen during their journey. The quest is also dotted by a handful of intriguing characters that make some striking appearances in the course of the film.
Right from the initial credits, Leela is clothed with some likeable, raw but relatable freshness. Kuttiyappan's characterisation is immensely charismatic and how he views the establishments around him is winsome. When he belittles cliched prejudices with ease through one-liners, coolly chases what he desires than prowl after them and says Allah, Natha, Krishna, Guruvaayoorappa, Ponnu Dinka Rakshikkane, it's not a mere laughter that sprouts on the audience lips, but also the deep insight into the current hypocritical state of affairs. The title character's (Parvathy Nambiar) presence is brief, but probably what moves the audience most is the lanes her life takes her through, and how it draws to a close.
The director consistently manages to retain a comic tone without losing touch with the characters' dilemmas. The other key factor in the film's appeal is the array of supporting artists like Vijayaraghavan, Indrans and Jagadish who have played their brief yet composite characters extremely well. Almost all of them have made the film look authentic and enjoyable. The wistful fate of Leela can trigger some tears as the final credits roll, but that wouldn't take away the fulfilment of watching an eloquent, well-made film.