Kappela - When there is more than what meets the eye!
When the crux of the film is about the protagonist getting into a dangerous situation, most filmmakers tend to rush to this point and focus all their energy on what happens at this point and henceforth. But what is the point if you are not invested in the characters who undergo the turmoil. Following Helen, this is another Malayalam film that gets the most important aspect of putting the characters that you care for in a precarious situation.
Kappela doesn't make a slow start as I saw in many tweets and posts in social media. In fact, the random missed call whick kick starts the plot point happens within the first few minutes. Jessy (Anna Ben) and Vishnu (Roshan Mathew) who are at the opposite ends of the line in this call begin falling for each other. Kappela doesn't just stick to these calls but these portions are interspersed with scenes that lets us know more about the kind of girl Jessy is and the characters that surround her. We get glimpses of what is happening around Vishnu as well. So by the time these two characters decide to meet each other, we are already invested in them and are rooting for them to be together.
The film turns into a thriller of sorts midway with the entry of Roy (Sreenath Bhasi) who is a stranger to the couple as well as to us. The three of them get into a mini maze of sorts and you are as desperate as Jessy hoping that she gets out of it. The performances are terrific and on point and mostly as real as possible. So is the staging of the scenes. Consider the scene where a family comes to Jessy's home with a marriage proposal in mind. Jessy is yet to tell her parents about her love and is panicking but the entire scenario plays out without any exaggeration ( with the exception of the guy's mother Saramma but even this is because her character itself is sketched that way ). Take the other scene where Jessy gets inside a public restroom to make a call as she feels safer there away from all the prying eyes but the camera at this point focuses on her from the top and you get a feel that she is under constant watch.
I am not able to particularly point out why but the film's closure felt a bit underwhelming.
(Mild spoiler ahead)
I don't have any issue with the film as such nor do I find it problematic but I do have a concern on how it can be perceived in general. While a girl can fall for the wrong guy, can films of this type subconsciously further reduce the say a girl can have in choosing her partner? I did not find it problematic in the film because before Jessy sets out to meet Vishnu, we are shown how conservative her parents are and how her father doesn't think twice before physically hurting his younger daughter (a school kid)for sitting behind a guy on a cycle. The danger that Jessy lands herself on would have never happened if there was freedom in her house for her to speak her mind freely. But she isn't even asked for an opinion about the proposals that come to her parents. But would the public at large see it this way?
Another Malayalam film that takes a simple one liner and makes a compelling watch out of it.