May 19, 2012 at 10:15am IST

Malayalam Review: '22 Female Kottayam' is excellent

When we first heard the song 'Chillane', we suspected something in its lyrics that posed a contempt on the tenderness of female psyche. But after watching the movie, which intelligently narrates the transformation of a gullible, 22 year girl into bold, tough women, in between the repetition of the same song in the title cards and final credit rolls, we are in all admiration for you, Aashiq Abu. You definitely need to be thanked for spear heading the new generation neo- realistic movies in Mollywood that is sure to bring back the good times of Mollywood. Hat's off to Aashiq and his crew for the bold attempt and packaging of a movie, that may not have seen the limelight provided the conditions that remained in Molly wood a few years ago , persisted so.

The makers also made no qualms in listing the inspirations from Quentin Tarantino's ‘Kill Bill’, Sriram Raghavan's ‘Ek Hasina Thi’ and N Sankaran Nair's ‘Cabaret Dancer’, but skillfully evades any big coincidences with the above three by the intelligent scripting by Abhilash K Nair and Shyam Pushkaran. Also is the construction of the fighter female protagonist who lip-syncs some of the best written dialogues of recent times, mostly a rare confrontation of pungent truths wrapped down under the hypocratic society of Kerala that also pampers a pseudo morality.

Tessa K Abraham (Rima Kallingal), is an young 22 year old young nurse from Kottayam, now working at Bangalore, the city of opportunities where no one has the time to care for others. She loves to be in the profession of nurse, which most considers being a thankless job. Basically an orphan with only a younger sister Tissa studying in Kochi, Tessa is living with two other girls, one who shares an inviting relationship with a married wealthy man, DK (Sathar). Like every malayali nurses who hopes of flying abroad, Tessa also tries her luck and in a recruiting agency meets Cyril (Fahad Fazil), who promises her of flying to Canada in a couple of months.

Malayalam Review: '22 Female Kottayam' is excellent

Aashiq Abu definitely need to be thanked for spear heading the new generation neo-realistic movies in Mollywood.

Though a little dumb, Tessa is used to the ways of life in the metropolis and had regular acquaintances with Cyril. Soon after we find Tessa falling for adorable Cyril, calling and messaging each other, now and then and roaming around and boozing at the wee hours under the neon lights of the city. Tessa reveals herself not to be a virgin, but Cyril and his ample charms invites her to his place for the short period left for her in Bangalore. She moves on and makes love at his quarters. In one of the darker days, Cyril engages with fisticuffs with a boy of a high official and is forced to spend a couple of days away from his flat. And it is at this juncture that an unexpected guest comes in to turn the life of Tessa upside down.

'22FK' is a movie that stands apart for the perfect packaging and bold stands on gender and life. Here we have got a protagonist who doesn't parade herself as a virgin and one who doesn't repent for being so. Here you will find girls who openly admire the physique of boys around, much the similar way as the other sex do. And also are men who openly ask for sex with that very chivalrous, gentle look and one who accepts sexist favors from the women he love and does all so that they never regret the relationship. From that old world of sacrifice and love, Aashiq opens his lens cover to the panacea of materialism and give and take relationships - a move that may have its effect on the narratives on the new movies on the making.

Aashiq Abu has been able to bring out the best of the performances from each one in the cast, but the film undoubtedly belongs to Reema Kallingal, who sinks into the skin of the character with a spectacular performance. It is interesting to watch her evolution as an artist of exceptional calibre, and 'here even her diction and looks match the perfect intensity that the well written, author backed role demands. This could be the role of your life time Reema, and awards and accolades are sure to follow you this year end for that optimum avatar of a girl with a battered body and shaken mind. Fahad Fazil, on the other hand shines as a lovable young entrepreneur in a woman oriented film. No doubt, his fan following are destined to grow after this difficult character that he has done with reasonable ease. Sathar makes an interesting comeback while Prathap Pothen and T G Ravi appear in very special roles. The rest of the cast including Resmi who plays Zubeida has done a neat job.

The technical side is also in par with the performances with Shyju Khalid once again at the top, behind the camera. While Vivek Harshan's editing is also applaudable, the BG Scores by Rex Vijayan and Biji Pal team is a scream. The title track 'Chillane' by Aviyal also lingers in your mind for long.

The other highlight of the movie is that even though it tells a sexist tale, the narrative is streamlined in such a way that it doesn't offend the family audience too. The initial shows were all filled with the new generation male audiences who were all up to clap for that disturbing but one of the best executed finales of the movie. Now it's the time for the girls and ladies to come out and greet and applaud this fighter woman, aged 22 from Kottayam and present the bold movie with a female oriented theme, a thumps up at the Box Office.

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