Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel movie cast: Dileep, Mamta Mohandas, Priya Anand
Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel movie director: B Unnikrishnan
Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel movie rating: 1.5 stars
In a chase sequence in Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel, the character played by Suraj Venjaramoodu gets accidentally thrown into the air, and he comes into contact with a high-tension live wire. He suffers an electric shock (shown in cartoonistic VFX), falls on the top of a moving car and is thrown on a road teeming with speeding vehicles. He stands up and is still able to continue the chase.
This sequence indicates that director B. Unnikrishnan has made a film that is neither smart, different, logical, funny or even fully entertaining. While the film is far removed from reality, it has a couple of motifs that are clearly inspired by actual incidents. In another scene, the identity of one of the main accused in an investigation is revealed in a random selfie taken by a passerby.
Rings a bell? It’s noteworthy that Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel is Dileep’s third film (after Ramleela and Kammara Sambhavam) in a row which has some direct reference to some true events that happened in his life.
Another theme that has been prevalent in Dileep’s recent films is ‘gudhalochana’ (conspiracy). In Ramleela and Kammara Sambhavam, Dileep played a character that committed the crimes, but a web of lies was spun to make people believe that he was an innocent fugitive on-the-run. In Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel, he plays the wrong guy who gets framed in a conspiracy.
Dileep’s Balakrishnan is a struggling lawyer who stutters. It is career-breaker for a lawyer, right? But, the judge played by Saiju Kurup doesn’t think so even as he pokes fun at Balakrishnan’s condition now and then. Balakrishnan is introduced when he appears to argue his first solo case, involving petty theft perpetrated by Aju Varghese’s Ansar Ali Khan. The judge swiftly decides to rule in favour of Balakrishnan’s client. You will find out the reason behind the judge’s soft-corner for Balakrishnan later in the film. And this reveal, in the end, feels like the only effective piece of filmmaking in the entire movie.
Unable to pay the lawyer’s fee, Ansar makes an alternative offer to Balakrishnan. He says he knows that the lawyer is struggling to make ends meet and that he has not paid his house rent for over two months. How he knows this is a mystery. And how can I tell Ansar met Balakrishnan for the first time? Because the clownish thug discovers Balakrishnan’s stammering problem in the court along with the audience.
Ansar takes Balakrishnan to a ghetto bustling with low-life criminals. The lawyer doesn’t make a lot of fuss about it as long as he is allowed to stay at a depleted house there. The first hour of the film has a Jolly LLB hangover, in which a small-time lawyer takes on the mighty forces of the corrupt system. We later realise that Balakrishnan’s mission is not to seek justice for the weak and helpless but to prove his own innocence.
Balakrishnan’s corrupt brother-in-law (Suraaj Venjarammoodu) and his hot-headed father coax him into a shady deal. He is told a woman identified as Anuradha Sudarshan was subjected to a sexual assault by a big shot businessman and they want him to send a legal notice to the accused demanding money.
Without asking basic questions, Balakrishnan sends off a legal notice which falls at the doorstep of Kerala’s DGP (Renji Panicker). The issue spins into a major controversy and puts Balakrishnan in the spotlight. Things get complicated when he meets the real Anuradha Sudarshan (Mamta Mohandas), the real ‘ira’ aka victim. He has been duped.
Balakrishnan vows to solve the mystery with his deduction-skills that he acquired from reading about human psychology on the internet. This is so pretentious, which, in fact, is a hallmark of Unnikrishnan’s characters in the film. Anuradha’s father gets a vague introduction as a brilliant puzzle solver. An ex-serviceman with a menial job, he is later tempted to make some quick bucks to secure his daughter’s future. He tells one of the villains that he has left enough clues for his daughter to expose the bad people, should anything happen to his life. He claims she is intelligent and strong. But, Anuradha is portrayed just as a victim and a damsel who is waiting for her knight in shining armour.
Harish Uthaman plays the antagonist who is hell-bent on giving one-line character descriptions. Priya Anand appears puzzled about her place in the film. Mamta Mohandas, let’s say she has no memorable scenes in the film. The film is entirely focused on Dileep, who pulls off a convincing act as a stuttering lawyer. But, his performance goes in vain, thanks to obscure writing.
Unnikrishnan could have given us a better movie if he had only stood by the promise that he makes in the beginning. Instead of a nail-biting mystery, what we get is a pretentious film that lacks any real emotion or intelligence. The pace of narration is undercut by fillers that only extends the audience’s stay in the theater without any entertainment.
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