Kooman - Movie Review
After Drishyam 1 & 2, Director Jeethu Joseph is back with yet another mystery drama. Kooman doesn’t disappoint the skills of the much talented Jeethu. And actors from Malayalam cinema have a certain emotive expression which not only makes them stand apart and special but also makes the entire movie quite gripping. Kooman is one such. Kooman means Owl in Malayalam.
There are a spate of suicide deaths in Nerpara, a border town between Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Giri Shankar (Asif Ali), a police constable and a local is well-versed in finding clues and cracking cases, which often wins him acclaim from the community. However, he gets in to minor fracas with his new boss, Sub-Inspector Harilal (Baburaj) after the previous one retires. To avenge his anger, Giri gets into an act of frivolously stealing from the houses of locals. As the cases grow, the locals are agitated that the new SI is unable to find the thief. Giri continues with his “outings in the night” but to his bad luck, gets caught one night by local resident Subbaya Swami (Nandhu) and flees out of town.
To his shock, the next day, Swami is found dead, hung on a tree. As he starts sniffing around for clues, he gets a video of his altercation with Ravi the previous night on Whatsapp from an unknown number. Perturbed by the deaths, he begins a private investigation without orders from his superiors. He accosts Senthil (Ramesh Thilak) from nearby police station on the Tamil Nadu border and the two exchange notes on the deaths. To his surprise, these deaths have a similar pattern from Tamil Nadu as well. So much so, that all the deaths have occurred on the no-moon night (Amavasya) every month for over 2 years since 2020 onwards.
Another interesting pattern, is that all those who committed suicide had a sorrow story as a reason – mostly losses in business or inability to repay debts. One such night, Giri almost catches the man who is seen running away from a purported crime season, but misses to catch him. Meanwhile, Harilal who is now on suspension from duty, continues to trail Giri along with another constable Vinod (Abhiram) to find the whereabouts of a local thief Maniyan (Jaffar Idukki) who was caught by none other than Giri, but who escaped from the station under their nose.
Giri visits Acharyan - a spiritual guru (Adam Ayub) ) who explains from the notes the former has gathered, that these are occult practices which are tantric in nature. And by sacrificing these innocent lives, the performing tantri (priest) becomes immortal (not to have a rebirth). Though such practices are illegal as well as unsocial in current times, there are a few and far across the world who continue to perform such stupid superstitions. One may recall the 11-member family in Delhi who committed suicide en-mass a few years ago to achieve immortality.
Giri zones in on the local tantri Durai Karup (Karate Karthi) and is most certain that he is behind these activities. He awaits for the next Amavasta and enters the jungle where the said offering is said to be practised. To his horror, he finds Lakshmi (Hannah Reji Koshy), who is Giri’s schoolmate and a girl on who he always had a liking for, is to be hung by the tantri that night.
Does Giri save Lakshmi from being sacrificed – that’s for you to see the movie to know.
It seems to be a script written from the start to end for Asif (as Giri) as the actor is practically in present in every scene. Jeethu’s love for a Police Station in a small town is evident. The omnipresent Kerala Tea Shop is one of the other elements of Jeethu’s films and we find a lot of cues and clues coming out from here. Background music by Vishnu Shyam, especially in the last 30 mins is quite gripping. Cinematography by Sathish Kurup is fantastic, as he shows Kerala at its best. Interestingly, there was no major mention or a linkage to the sprawling tea estates of Munnar where the film is set.
Some characters and scenes are absolutely redundant to the story, hence these could have been trimmed for the OTT version to keep it shorter and crisper.
Yet, Kooman is a fantastic piece of artwork which shouldn’t be missed. Be cautious in the last 10 mins while watching with kids and elderly people, especially. Watch on Amazon Prime with English subtitles.