Malayalam Reviews


Kappela has a brilliantly developed plot built on a simple thread, but takes a neutral stand on a socially relevant topic.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Kappela was a March-2020 release which had its theatre run halted by the lockdown imposed due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation.  However, this directorial debut of actor Muhammed Mustafa got much recognition from critics as well as the viewers after its recent release in Netflix.

Our heroine, Jessy belongs to a typical lower middle class family in Wayanad, and she is the elder of the two girls to her parents, who are pretty much stereotypical examples of any girl’s parent in our society. We can see them inflicting severe pain to Jessy’s younger sister who was dropped near her house by a boy while coming back from her school. Jessy’s otherwise uneventful life changes when she dials a wrong number by mistake with Vishnu, an auto driver from Malappuram on the other side. It turns out to be exciting for Jessy as their relation grows over phone and finally they decide to meet for the first time. But things don’t go as planned when Vishnu loses his phone at Calicut bus stand, where they planned their meeting. Things get more complicated when Roy, someone who came from Kannur to attend an interview at Calicut, gets his mobile. Roy is a mysterious character, who often shows rage and violence in his behaviour. Writer-director Muhammed Mustafa, brilliantly built on a small incident into an eventful 2 hour-running movie, discussing a socially relevant topic.

The screenplay expertly connects four places in Kerala – Wayanad, Malappuram, Calicut and Kannur. The calmness of the village and innocence of the villagers are captured nicely here. The use of local languages and Jimshi Khalid’s distinctive visuals of the four places give a fresh feeling in the treatment. The visuals of Wayanad especially are beautifully picturised. Sushin Shyam once again excelled with some fine scores.

  The acting department elevates the movie altogether. Anna Ben was sweet and adorable and she brilliantly portrayed the naiveness and vulnerability of the village girl, Jessy. Sreenath Bhasi has once again proved there is a lot to come from him through his versatility and Roy was very safe in his hands. Roshan Mathew depicted the duality of Vishnu’s character to superb effect. The young trio was in superb form while all other actors pitched in with some fine efforts.

***spoiler alert***

However, there were some striking instances which I didn’t quite sit well with me. The movie is handling a socially relevant topic which involves the love and relationship of a girl. Here, much to my dislike, the writer chooses to remain neutral and shows the story as is. Jessy’s parents are clearly part of a regressive society which never gives opinion to the girls when it comes to relationships. They are a part of the reason why Jessy gets excited at the prospect of better care and chooses to go out of her comfort zone to meet her lover. But with the climax, knowingly or unknowingly the movie is justifying those parents and their ways. Then there is Roy, who can be seen snooping at the couple sitting at the park and later turns out to be the good guy who saves Jessy from the clasp of a sex racket. Again, even though the movie doesn’t support moral policing anywhere, it indirectly ends up saying everyone who snoop into your private affairs are not necessarily a bad guy. And strangely, Roy certainly played like a pimp initially when he switched off Vishnu’s mobile after seeing Jessy at the bus stand, may be to keep the mystery alive. Even though a movie is subjective, these instances evidently affected my opinion on Kappela, which otherwise had a brilliantly developed plot from a very simple thread. When it comes to moral policing, the 2019 Ann Sheethal-Shane Nigam starer Ishq got its politics absolutely right.

At the same time, here there is no burden of blame put on the victim or loads of advises directed towards her. In the end, Roy’s girlfriend says to Jessy, “Not everything pans out as we expect” much to my relief and she even gets to fulfil her age-old wish of seeing a beech in one of the beautiful scenes of the movie. Jessy staring at the open see gives an everlasting impression at the end. It is Jessy realising the vastness of truth, when she comes out of the small world created around her dreams and beliefs.

Kappela is neither progressive nor regressive as it mostly takes a neutral stand. The idea is not novel, but the treatment is refreshing and the debutant Muhammed Mustafa expertly develops a simple thread into an eventful and touching movie.

Language : Malayalam Streaming on : Netflix

By sreenathjvm

I am a healthcare professional. An ardent movie lover. Writing about movies forever has been an obsession.

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