All things happen for a reason. The last month saw several power cuts due to the incessant rains. One evening we switched off the electric lights and fans running on inverter to save its power and went out into the porch in the evening. All the neighborhood lights were out. And then we saw the magic... Fireflies...on the trees, floating on to the ground, lighting up the area like a magical light show. The kids and I watched mesmerized by the simple beauty of it.
It was the same feeling evoked by Koode, the latest in the Anjali Menon canon...
After a long time and quite a few duds along the way, comes a movie that stays with you even after you leave the movie hall. I could have written quite a few scathing reviews in the meantime hadn't I taken a vow not to revile anybody's creative expression😄😄. But Koode took away all the bitter aftertaste of those movies.
Joshua (Prithviraj) is a lonely, shy young man burdened with the responsibility of wage-earning at the tender age of 15. Twenty years later he is desensitized, just going through the motions of life when a traumatic event happens. How the event breaks him out of the shell he has created for himself is the whole movie. The larva-like, vulnerable thing that comes out of it is not pretty and is very fragile. But as time passes, he comes to understand that the shell had not been a protection, but rather something preventing the full realization of his self.
Director Ranjith as Josh's father is a revelation. The whole cast has done a perfect job. Nazriya has effortlessly flowed into Jenny with nary a hitch after a sabbatical of four years from acting. Parvathy gets another tortured, repressed, brave character that she acts out with elan. Zubin, who plays young Joshua, is perfect for the role. As one of my friends put it, "He looks and moves just like Prithvi. It's as though the movie was shot while Prithvi was young and the rest as he matured".
As we have come to expect from an Anjali Menon movie, the supporting cast and their lives also enliven the background. Once our attention is finally turned away from the protagonists, we get to savor the humor and pathos surrounding the supporting cast. And there are subtle director touches everywhere... the dilapidation of Josh's house even though he's been earning well in the Gulf, the vintage vehicles, the toy train set, and one or two Easter eggs that compel us to watch the movie again playing close attention to the background and asking explanations from our fellow moviegoers.
I can go on and on. But that could spoil your viewing pleasure, so let me stop here.
Verdict: Very good. One for the collection!