Updated: November 13, 2021 9:22:04 am
Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham begins with Pavithran (an impressive Nivin Pauly), a struggling junior artiste, trying to save his marriage and reputation by presenting earrings to his wife Haripriya (an equally impressive Grace Antony). Pavithran’s attempt to buy some peacetime in his married life would have worked, only if it were gold. But, the fake gold earrings are attractive enough to pile on the problems of Pavithran, who goes to great lengths to cover up his deceit.
Entirely set within the walls of a budget hotel located in Kerala’s Munnar, the film is fraught with pop cultural references from Prem Nazir to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. And the mood, the style and the feel of the movie bear a strong resemblance to Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel.
The lobby of Hill Top Hotel becomes a centre stage for a high-voltage drama that follows after Haripriya’s earrings go missing. The search for the missing jewellery brings all the emotional problems of the hotel’s occupants to the fore. It is not just a comedy of errors but also a hilarious political commentary. As soon as the allegations begin to fly thick and fast, people begin to invoke their social standing to cover up their misdemeanours. While one claims that he hasn’t taken the jewellery because he comes from a respectable upper-class family, the other cites that he is being accused of theft because of his minority status.
In the mix, we also have a witty drunkard Sura, played by a wonderful Jaffar Idukki, who is inclined to make a mountain out of every mole. He is a riot, especially when he draws parallels between his intervention in the theft debate with America invading Iraq.
Director-writer Ratheesh Balakrishnan Poduval, who earlier helmed Android Kunjappan Ver 5.25, also generously uses clichés to invoke laughter. For example, the receptionist Shalini is extra contemptuous towards her guests. Guess, why? Because she is on her periods. The satire is direct, nevertheless funny.
Vinay Forrt as the god-fearing Jobby, the manager of Hill Top Hotel, delivers a very realistic performance as a man stuck in an abusive relationship. Rajesh Madhavan as Manaf Khan with significant literary sense, Joy Mathew as novelist Balachandran and Sudheesh as casting director Sivakumar, who is also a well-wisher of Pavithran, they all add to the drama and make this film a relatable comedy.
Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham is one of those films that will keep you smiling from start to end. And Nivin Pauly deserves a special mention for embracing his role with much gusto and conviction. And more importantly, allowing his fellow actors to shine more than him at times.
Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham is streaming on Disney Plus Hotstar.
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