Story: Koshy, a retired havildar gets into trouble with the law under SI Ayyappan Nair's jurisdiction in Attappadi five days before Christmas. Before going to jail, Koshy tells Ayyappan Nair that he will get back at him the moment he gets bail. Will this be the beginning of a battle between the duo?
Review: At a crucial moment in the movie, Ayyappan Nair, SI of Attappadi police station tells the circle inspector, ‘Pidippum swadeenavumullavarodulla pedi nammalepollulavarude pidippu kedanu’. Is it necessary for a cop to think twice and consider the names in the culprit’s phone contacts to take action against someone who breaks the law? This is what Sachy asks through his latest movie, starring Biju Menon as Ayyappan Nair and Prithviraj as Koshy Kurian.
Koshy is a retired havildar who is enroute to Ooty from his native Kattappana with bottles of liquor via Attappadi, which is a non-liquor zone. Ayyappan Nair's subordinates arrest him and the chaos begins.
The arrest bruises the ego of Koshy, who is the son of Kurian John (Ranjith), a typical toxic masculine Achayan from the high range. After having promised his wife and daughters that he would return home for Christmas, Koshy is now being jailed without bail for nearly two weeks. The moment he gets bail, Koshy begins working towards revenge. How things take a turn when his deeds question the clear service records of Ayyappan Nair, who was supposed to bag the police medal from the chief minister, make the gist of the film. This is basically a major ego clash between Ayyappan and Koshy, which is fuelled by Kannamma (Gowri Nanda), Ayyappan Nair's wife, and Kurian. If Ayyappan fight is for existence, the Kurian father-son do it out of a pride and arrogance. And the director manages to hold the audience in that compelling mood from start to finish.
Sachy, the writer and director of the three-hour-long movie, smartly scripts a story that explains the struggles of an honest police officer who values humanity above everything and how he transforms a rich, spoiled brat and brings him to down to reality. Though we have films such as Driving Licence and Vikram Vedha, it is good to see a commercial movie portray contemporary, socio-political situations, be it Maoism or struggles of the subaltern. The film is not only the war between Ayyappan and Koshy and their machismo but between classes, colours and attitudes in society.
The women in the film have the chance to voice their opinions and views amidst the toxic masculinity and machoism. They speak for themselves and the people around with their life experiences. However, a scene in which Koshy slaps his wife, indirectly implies that it's always a man's world. But we also get the feeling that the writer has consciously created situations for women characters to react to men, perhaps to garner claps in these times that are sensitive to feministic sensibilities.
Jakes Bejoy makes the film natural with his music by blending it very well with Sudeep Elamon's visuals, substantiating Mohandas' refreshing art direction that captures the greenery, and light and shadows of Attapadi. The folk elements in the BGM need a mention. Apart from a carefully written script with interesting characterisation, the casting is a bonus. While Prithviraj and Biju Menon enter the new decade with impressive performances, Ranjith gracefully gives life to Kurian John. Gowri Nanda portrays Kannamma perfectly and is a strong character. Kalanilayam Rameshan, Anil P Nedumangad, Sabumon Abdusamad, Dhanya and Anu Mohan too have made their characters remarkable.
At some point, from a humanistic point of view, one may wonder why the duo are locking horns only to satisfy their egos. Viewers may find it difficult to take sides and predict what they are up to next. While sitting at the edge of the seats, we are reminded of the famous dialogue from Kurosawa movie Rashomon, "In the end, you cannot understand the things men do”.
This is a movie of two men and their egos. If you need an adrenaline rush and enjoy larger than life images venting out animalistic urges, go for this. It is a good watch for this day and age.