22 Female Kottayam (Malayalam): Disturbing, Visceral and completely engrossing. Very well done for the most part.
Written and directed by Aashiq Abu
Release: April, 2012
Malayalam cinema is rejuvenating since 2010 and 22 Female Kottayam is yet another impressive attempt by an young team. The plot, dialogs, characters and situations are completely different from the conventional typo Malayalam movies. Good to see Malayalam cinema getting into the right track after a poor display of art for more than 10 years. We don't used to see many female-oriented thriller movies from India, note, that this is the same year we got Kahaani (Hindi). 22 Female Kottayam is an intense psychological drama with too much of violence and less blood.
Plot: Tessa, a beautiful typical middle class girl from Kottayam is trying to get a work Visa to Canada. Syril, a Visa consultant helps her to get Visa. Soon, they get closer and closer. Life looked so smooth and beautiful for her, but an incident turns her life upside down. From the dark side, the poor girl has to start her life all over again..
Can we justify a bad action for another bad action! Is there a right or wrong in revenge?! 22 FK is a powerful and disturbing look at a place anybody might fall. The story is intense that you will feel hard to avert your eyes from the screen even for those scenes where you think you might have to. What will happen if an innocent-poor victim of torcher, starts to react!. There are few classy similar-genre films in recent years such as: I Saw the Devil (Korean) & Yudham Sei (Tamil).
* Almost all the characters which looks good outside is shown with dark shades while the characters which looks dark outide are shown as people without or with lesser dark shades.
* Characterization of DK.
* Characterization of Ravi uncle, the Tamil lady and the girl from Singapore.
22FK is a film that is disturbing and so excellent in its execution. This is one of those films that need enormous courage to make. Hats off to Aashiq Abu for his daring and sincere attempt. His narration style is excellent. Few scenes and camera movements strikes hard. The way the script develops the characters are superb. There are scenes / moments when I really didn't want to be there, never before a rape scene from a Malayalam movie had effected me like this. The rape scene is not vulgar as in Irreversible (French) nor violent as in Paruthiveeran (Tamil) but is still one of the most disturbing and confronting scene, because the character of Tessa already have touched viewer's heart. The film forces audience to think again. If movies are suppose to emotionally effect the viewer then this movie is one of the best.
Dialogs are something to note about, its freak and good. I had always argued about the way the dialogs are written in Malayalam films, they are cinematic or can say dramatic instead of being natural. Dialogs in this movie doesn't look like a drama, its more close to natural, at the same time it keeps hold with few catchy lines. Eg: '... I think, I will miss me'.
The cinematography (Shyju Khalid) and editing was masterful. Songs are good but resembles the tracks from the music band's earlier works like the music from 'Second Show' (2012).
Performance of Rima
Everything about this movie is strong. I add Rima Kallingal to the list of few Malayalam actresses like Manju Varriar (Kannezhuthi Pottumthottu) and Meera Jasmine (Kasthuriman) who can afford heavy characters. She suits perfectly as Tessa, that makes us feel the script was written with Rima in mind. Her typical Kottayam-look is a big plus for the character. I was already impressed with her small small expressions and eye contact in her previous movies like Rithu, Indian Rupee and Nidhra. Look at the fear in her eyes when she sees the person who changed her life. (Post interval scene) Incredible!. Surprised and utterly impressed with her performance. Rima got a good supporting cast too.
* Major draw back is the background music which at times takes away the actual feel from the well presented visuals.
* Overall, it reminded me of two movies. 1: Hard Candy (2005) and 2: Ek Hasina Thi (Hindi).
Finale: 22FK gets inside of you.
Thanks to Aashiq Abu and Incredible Rima Kallingal.