Prithviraj-Nazriya Nasim- Anjali Menon’s Koode

I’ve been someone who has looked for logic in everything I do. ‘Does this make sense’, has been a constant part of how I perceive everything. #AnjaliMenon’s #Koode showed me that some of the most beautiful things — emotions that are precious, like the joy a wide, toothless smile radiates, not necessarily need to make sense. They just touch your soul — you won’t care about why your soul feels lighter or heavier. It just does.

And how beautifully has Anjali Menon captured the power of touch. Koode is a celebration of touch, of how communicative it can be. It seamlessly but powerfully can convey any emotion. Anjali uses this wisely; some of the most heartwarming and heart wrenching moments are conveyed through touch. Only that. Love, romance, compassion, comfort, power, abuse — #Koode communicates all of this, the relationship dynamics of the characters, with this lovely language that we have forgotten. Sophie’s reactions (played by a brilliant Parvathy) are clear examples. The way she shrinks and welcomes touch, knowing where it comes from, is how all of us are.

Touch is a language that is governed by instinct and pure emotion. And Anjali places her close ups as a reminder. It’s just beautiful to watch, considering we are in an era that judges touch like none other. Is there a more honest way to be Koode (together)?

That’s just one of the many, many, many things that I loved about #Koode. Every frame is visual joy, carrying a well-placed metaphor. Koode is a journey, an experience that seems like it makes perfect sense and no sense at the same.

Amal Neerad-Fahadh Faasil-Aishwarya Lekshmi’s Varathan

Similar to #SDurga, Varathan’s premise is horrifyingly bone-chilling, though it has no links to the paranormal. Varathan (Outsider) is in a unique way, the coming of age tale of Aby (#FaahadhFaasil) who moves back with his wife to her native land. The storyline isn’t all that new, but the filmmaking is incredible. Much like S Durga, I was reminded that no ghost could parallel the sense of discomfort that the ‘violating male gaze’ instills.

Varathan is yet another example where the performances and the visuals greatly elevate the impact a scene has. I immensely loved the close-ups in Koode and thought it was Anjali Menon’s doing, but now I am sensing that #LittilSwayamp had a stronger hand. His close-ups and slow-mos are cleverly placed for moments — of discomfort, love, and anger — that need to linger in our minds. He places so many shots that we remember well after the film — a looming shadow that acts as a precursor to a kickass transformation. As Priya walks away, tossing an unsolicited phone number into the bin, the owner of the number walks out ignorantly proud of his ‘achievement’. There is a father who says ‘What will women do with education’ as his daughter pedals off to school in the background. The frames tell you much more than the dialogues do. As the title suggests, the arena is set for the native vs outsider game the minute Aby and Priya (#AishwaryaLekshmi) reach their native land — they are welcomed with judgemental stares.

With some nuanced performances, the emotion overpowers the logic in the final act. I didn’t want to care about the burning doll in the rain. Rather, I was cheering for Fahadh to bash the brains out of the bad guys. That’s the success of Amal Neerad and the reward they reap for the time they take in establishing the characters. Also, Fahadh sells these moments with such conviction that you take it at (his) face value, no questions asked.

Irony is a main theme in the film. Amal Neerad achieves this by juxtaposing contrasting characters and the reactions they elicit from other characters. Aby, who has no second-thoughts about drying his wife’s clothes, or making tea for her, gets the name ‘useless’ from the villagers. Who’s better? Men who ‘call out’ couples for being together in public and in the same breathe, fantasise about a married woman, so much so that they peep into the bedrooms and bathroom; men who abuse and a violate woman and assume that they have the right to dictate how the women in their life should love and live. Amal’s take on what’s ‘macho’ is brilliant especially in the final act, Aby brandishes a frying pan with better swag than a knife.

However, I wish Amal had rephrased the confrontational scene between Priya and Aby. Shown as a someone who is more rational than the average person, Priya’s dialogues seemed uncharacteristic (but not unwarranted.) Also, I would have loved to see some of then Aby who cries out without inhibition. But then this is ‘a war of disputes (as the interval card proclaims) and all is fair in love and war.

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