Cast: Adil Ibrahim, Pearle Maaney, Siddique, Lal, Indrans
Director: Saheer Ali
While walking out of the theatre after watching Kappiri Thuruthu, one cannot help but wonder whether the subject matter would’ve better suited a documentary than a feature film. It is evident right from the start that this movie relies on meticulously-done research to bring out the history of Kochi that the new generation is unfamiliar with. The movie begins with an introduction to how and why Kochi was once called Kappiri Thuruthu. The scene then cuts to a news crew covering poet Mirza Ghalib in old Delhi. The crew stumbles across a ghazal musician, who is identified by their editor as someone who was popularly known as Samovar Sadhu in Kochi back in the 70’s.
The movie then unfolds through the eyes of the editor who as a young journalist had travelled to the island of Kochi to document its culture, especially the musical culture made popular by musician Mehboob. Into this ‘historical docu-musical-drama’, director Saheer Ali throws in a love story portrayed by ‘D for Dance fame Adil Ibrahim and his small screen partner Pearle Maaney. Adil’s Samovar Sadhu, runs a small time tea shop with the help of his doe-eyed Jewish wife Yami played by Pearle. Sadhu, an admirer of singer Mehboob, wishes to follow Mehboob’s footsteps and become a singer.
A simple man, Sadhu is a much loved young lad on the island. Sadhu’s character is complimented by an array of seasoned actors including Siddhique, Indrans, Kanaran Hareesh, Marimayam Sreekumar and Lal. Through their endearing performances, viewers are pulled into the past of Kochi, dotted with incidents from history such as the death of Mehboob, the Emergency period and the lives of island dwellers and how a handful of them used to survive by bribing officers on ocean liners for goods. All of which are shown with the good intention of teaching the viewers about what shaped Kochi to what it is today.
The movie begins to take a turn when local goons eye Sadhu’s wife which ends in a public brawl. The last time Malayalis had a similar taste of Kochi’s cultural treasure trove was in the Dileep starrer Gramaphone. Debutant Saheer Ali obviously had too much information on his hands and was trying to include as many things as he can with a love story running parallel to it. His effort was earnest but the film could have done without so much detailing. Adil Ibrahim shines as Sadhu and Pearle compliments perfectly....