Kammara Sambhavam movie cast: Dileep, Siddharth, Namitha Pramod, Murali Gopy
Kammara Sambhavam movie director: Rathish Ambat
Kammara Sambhavam rating: 3.5 stars
Malayalam actor Dileep’s Kammara Sambhavam feels like an effort to bring an equilibrium to the present atmosphere in the Indian film industry, where political films, especially biopics on some iconic leaders, have been the flavour of the season. The directorial debut of ad filmmaker Rathish Ambat takes a metaphysical view of history and its role in establishing legacies and making legends.
Pulikeshi (Bobby Simha), a hit Tamil film director, is asked by Francis (Vijayaraghavan), Bose Kammaran (Siddique), Surendran (Indrans), who are the members of Indian Liberation League (ILP), to make a film on the life of their party’s patriarch, Kammara Nambiar (Dileep).
ILP was a local militia that was formed under the orders of Netaji (at least according to the makers of this film) to lead a revolt against the British. But, post-independence, it has transformed itself into a political party.
Kammara Nambiar is an ailing old man, who is confined to his badly lit and furnished room. He is lonely and being mistreated by his family members. He is counting his days with his heart full of secrets and regrets. He is unable to sleep the last few days as he looks for ways to redeem himself, even though he knows it’s impossible for the things he has done in his life. But, thanks to his vengeful heart and cunning mind, Kammara has a reputation of a hero who fought against British imperialism. In the present day, not many know about his ‘heroics’. His friends and family members think his legacy is worth exploiting to achieve their political aspirations.
Hoping to take a load off his chest, Kammara lay bare the secrets of his life to Pulikeshi. In Kammara’s version of the truth, he is a vengeful person, filled with hatred for members of a lower caste and never thinks twice before backstabbing people who trust in him. He has no self-respect or morality that stops him from bending over backward to curry favor with his masters (read British).
Writer Murali Gopy, who has also played a key role in the film, skillfully employs the film-within-a-film device to make a point as to how stories from bygone generations can be spun to blur the line between fact and the fiction. When Kammara’s life story titled Sambhavam hits the screens, it is no where close to the truth.
The pathological liar and morally bankrupt, Kammara is the hero, who pulled Netaji to safety out of World War trenches and the man who averted an assassination attempt on Mahatma Gandhiji. Othenan Nambiar (Siddharth), who fought in the Indian National Army under Netaji’s leadership, becomes a traitor baying for Gandhiji’s blood in the film.
Kammara usually dressed in oversized clothes that withholds his true personality and intentions. But, in his film, he is styled like a revolutionary leader, who maintains a thick beard, rides bullet, smoke cigars and fights for the weak.
Kammara Sambhavam breaks its genre in the second half, where Rathish and Murali have let their creativity and sarcasm run riot. The film turns a bit into a political satire.
The director and the writer of the film put the audience in the superior position than the ones watching Kammara’s life story within the film. We know the ‘true’ story of Kammara and you can’t help but laugh when you see Dileep’s Kammara sing massy patriotic lines about revolution and bravery and drawing applause from the crowd. Or scenes where he saves Netaji and Gandhiji.
The filmmakers have adopted a realistic approach for the first half of the story. The second half is the complete opposite. The slow-mo shots of the hero and villains and larger-than-life punchlines dominate every scene.
Dileep thrives on playing characters that seek revenge at any cost. His previous film Ramaleela also had him playing a vengeful role. In Kammara Sambhavam, however, he has delivered his performance with a different level of finesse. We could see the hatred and poisonous schemes that he harbors for his enemies in his eyes.
Siddharth has played his role convincingly as a patriotic soldier and he has done a commendable job dubbing in Malayalam, despite doing it for the first time. Indrans and Siddique add layers to the drama with their flawless reactions as people begin to buy into the legend of Kammara.
For me, Kammara Sambhavam was hitting all the right notes until the scene before the climax. Towards the end, the filmmakers have allowed Kammara to make a direct reference to Dileep’s real-life case, in which the Malayalam star has been accused of masterminding an attack on a woman actor. And it was so ironic. After nearly 3-hours of narrating the role of cinema as a powerful tool of propaganda, Dileep uses the same medium to propagate his personal view on a case that is under investigation.
Dileep makes it a point to take a cheap shot at the media every time he is presented with an opportunity. It’s about time he stops blaming the media for his current predicament.