May 3, 2019 5:51:34 pm
K13 movie cast: Arulnithi, Shraddha Srinath, Yogi Babu, Gayathrie Shankar
K13 movie director: Barath Neelakantan
K13 movie rating: 2 stars
It doesn’t hurt to watch a bad film. But what really hurts is seeing a potential piece of creative work getting diluted midway—without achieving what it wanted to accomplish. Looking at the trailer, one could fairly understand what K13 was all about. In general, gripping thrillers make you feel the clock ticking with every dialogue, thought and emotion rushing through the characters, but K13 doesn’t do any of that. It moves at an unhurried pace with a lot happening beneath the surface.
Good things first: Debutant director Barath Neelakantan does away with unnecessary forced comic episodes despite roping in Yogi Babu in the blink-and-miss role of a courier boy. Further, he extracts neat performances from Arulnithi and Shraddha. K13 isn’t a complete disaster, but it’s a confusing film.
Aspiring filmmaker Madhi (Arulnithi) meets writer Malar (Shraddha) in a pub. Both are fiercely passionate about what they do and will go to any extent to bring characters to life. What Madhi does when he eventually finds Malar dead in her apartment forms the rest of the story. Madhi and Malar aren’t simple people. They come with their own baggage. Though the premise may sound interesting, it isn’t pieced together in a coherent manner. Somehow, you never want to quite sit up and wonder what’s next. K13’s narrative, which keeps moving back and forth in time, confuses instead of adding to the viewers’ involvement.
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For a long time, we are treated to Madhi’s helplessness. If the writing and staging were done effectively, K13 should have worked.
I did like a few things, though. In particular, I liked how Malar is unapologetic about her choices. Be it initiating conversations with Madhi or inviting him to her place. I equally liked this specific scene where a random guy says, “This girl comes home late every day”, and the police character immediately retorts, “so what?”
Finding films that accurately depict mental illness can be a bit tricky. In addition to portraying depression in a humanising way, K13 strives to show everyone is struggling with something. It is not easy to find characters in films that seek support from mental health professionals often because we think it is a sign of weakness to do so. It is not as if mental health issues were never touched upon by the present generations of filmmakers, but K13 doesn’t glamourise or oversell them.
The problem is perhaps the nature of storytelling. For example, when you find a dead body, you don’t ask questions to yourself. You run from the spot. You don’t plot something to escape from the situation. You see, the writing never convinces us: this situation is real, these people are real.
As an audience, I would prefer coming out of a thriller with questions in my head rather than a neat picture of all the loose ends.
When I left the theater, I wondered if my expectations were the problem. I think it was.
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