29 March 2016


Siddharth (Dulquer Salmaan) is perpetually irritated and on a short fuse. There is nothing wrong with the world around him. It is just that his brain is wired in a peculiar way, he dislikes noise and even a casual chat beyond a point makes him uneasy. The only person who can keep a check on his mood swings is his wife Anjali (Sai Pallavi). They were lovers from their college days and have married against the wishes of their parents, so, they are leading a lonely and mundane life as any other young couple. But, we anticipate the worse to befall on them any moment because of Siddharth’s volatile nature.

This is the basic premise of Kali, the new film directed Sameer Thahir. This film runs a few minutes lesser than two hours and the first half is spent in establishing the characters and the plot. The writing by newcomer Rajesh Gopinadhan goes on adding layers to the characters thereby giving more substance to the subject as we move forward. 

Take for instance the fact that Siddharth works in a bank where he has to be in direct touch with the customers and his grumpy nature puts his career in jeopardy. This thing is further enhanced by showing Siddharth going into a car workshop after a minor accident and the executive there gives him the sad news that he cannot claim insurance and has to pay from his pocket, he says it with an accompanying laughter. When asked why he does not stop laughing even while giving a bad news? And, the reply he gets is; “I’ll lose my job if they don’t see me smiling while talking to a customer.”

There are many such instances where exclamation marks are given to bring a point home. Like there are loud drumbeats when Siddharth’s temper is boiling then there is silence if he gets it under control and we know that a crisis situation is temporarily averted.

It would be apt to say that this is a social film in the first half where a man with quirky personality trying to fit in the society by being ‘normal’ and by behaving in a socially acceptable way. And, in the second half, the narrative changes gear to be in a thriller mode by taking the form of a ‘road movie’. This transformation is smooth as we see the characters we care for getting embroiled in undesirable situations. 

Here too the teamwork of the writer and the director is highlighted as they time to build up the scenarios before making their characters jump into them.

As for the characters, they do have shortcomings and they are aware of that. Take the case of Siddharath, he understands that something is wrong with him and tries to improve or control it. He is not boastful of his righteousness or does not try to justify himself often.  Dulquer Salmaan is near perfect in portraying the character. Sai Pallavi brings a magic potion with her as Anjali that would make any man change for her if she tells him to. Chemban Vinod Jose does gives us goosebumps with his villainous act in the second half. 

All things seen and considered, Kali has the potential of becoming a rage with the viewers in the coming days.

As it appeared in Rediff.