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Leela Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Saturday, April 23, 2016 • Malayalam ]
Leela Review
Biju Menon

A male version of the eponymous Miss Havisham from some angles, Kuttiyappan sure is intriguing, but does Ranjith's 'Leela' mould the full picture well is a question that can lead to considerable thought. Of course, one would 'think' about this movie. Afterall there is women, sexuality, eccentricity and a whole lot of booze. There are elements of satire and contemporary Keralam interspersed in the narrative that are engaging. There is also a kind of odd lyrical quality in the narrative. But often the eccentricities get the better of the rationale, leading to confusions. At the end of it all, confusions, expectations, testosterone and an unusual storyline leaves 'Leela' in a halfway-there maze.

'Leela' has all these chunks that stays. Kuttiyappan's room, his prayers to Gandhi, his jeep and certain dialogues like "kittiyaruno" (did you get it) and his 'secular' greetings. There aren't frames without Kuttiyappan in it. He owns the movie. This man with time and money in his hands whips up a colourful life. His eccentricities go beyond women. His need to have some change in his life makes him do things only he can. The tea by ladder, honouring ex-sex workers and horse riding to avoid alcohol detection by police and what not. But the problem is that these chunks stay individual.

Like the darkness that surround Kuttiyappan, night is a happening time in Kuttiyappan's life. The movie begins at night time and ends by night. These nocturnal times are pivotal in the narrative. There are women doting Kuttiyappan's horizon. A whole load of them are sex workers or girls trying a hand to get into the 'field'. While on one hand many of them (married too) are happy to throw themselves at men, many looks sorry to be in it. This dichotomy is not explained well and the director seems lost on how to fit in the many faceted women in his story.

There is also the element of fantasy with the angel and his sexual fantasy with the girl on the elephant. While the angel is made interesting, especially the wing on the electric line the other dream like sequence is the least expected and seems like an intrusion in the concluding part. Nature is beautifully brought out and the wilderness looks stunning.

Biju Menon has lived the part and conveys well. As a man who doesn't have a care in the world, but is well-versed in things, he is beyond skeptical. While on one hand the indifference is pronounced, there are moments of emotions that Kuttiyappan displays that Biju Menon has handled well. Maala Parvathy and Vijayaraghan too takes the cake for a classy performance. Parvathy Nambiar has also emoted well and so has Jagadish in the evil role.

While the camera angles leer at the women 'victims', the dialogues have constant reference to the male anatomy. This depiction of sexuality is stilted and affects the movie big time. The aerial shots are captivating and so is the wilderness. The concluding shot of nature, night, fantasy and woman in a single frame is compelling. But though the intention seems otherwise, the vices of men seems glorified in all the angles.

Music blends in with the narrative and supports the movie well. Unni R's story is artistic on paper and one can read the movie like a story and I feel it should have stayed that way. But he has added interesting dimensions as with the political references, George and Koya, and dialogues that bring in a chuckle. Now director Ranjith's craft is sound, but it is his ideological framework that threatens the overall outcome. Bound together, 'Leela' fails to grip you or make much sense.

Rating: 2.50 / 5.0


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