Director: Tanu Balak
Cast: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Aditi Balan, Suchitra Pillai
There are two firsts in the Malayalam movie, Cold Case, just out on Amazon Prime. This is Tanu Balak’s debut directorial outing and Prithviraj Sukumaran’s maiden OTT apperance. Wasted entirely, I would say. To me, the film looked like a classroom lecture on criminology, boringly verbose and crashingly repetitive (What happened to the editor?). And I could not understand the idea behind mixing and matching a perfect case of crime with the supernatural. Led us nowhere.
Cold Case begins with a couple of men from two different faiths trying to exorcise ghosts from a woman and a little boy in two different cases. But the main narrative kicks off when a fisherman nets a plastic bag containing a skull. What is the big deal in this; dozens have been found over the years. But in this case, a “special investigative team” is formed to get to the bottom of the skull mystery. Assistant Commissioner of Police Sathyajit is asked to lead the probe. Essayed by Prithviraj Sukumaran. Obsessed with turning out nattily in impeccable attire, his hair always neatly brushed, he may well have been on a catwalk modelling rather than getting his teeth into the mystifying popping up of a skull.
At the other end of the narrative is an investigative journalist, Medha (Aditi Balan), a single parent, mother of a baby girl, who is forever stuck to her doll (and we now realise that we entering the supernatural terrain). And then there is an old refrigerator that came with Medha’s new rented flat, and it plays a pivotal role.
Adding to this hotchpotch is is a woman, presumably blind with dark glasses, who can sense spirits roaming the earth; they are in no hurry to go away, for they have been wronged and died unnatural deaths. They must teach those responsible a hard lesson.
Cold Case is an extremely amateurish attempt with a shoddily written script that completely wastes Prithviraj’s potential. He could be a good actor, but has been transformed into a robotic-run-of the mill man. Aditi makes no impression, her zero expressions convey neither fear nor anxiety even when she faces frightening moments. And these are so cliched: lights that go off and on, and the director’s efforts to jump-start us. Come on, give us a break!
Time, Indian writers and directors made a point to watch foreign crime thrillers and the way they are penned, narrated, directed and performed!
Cold Case true to its title, leaves us exasperatingly bored. Eminently avoidable.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran is a movie critic and Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s biographer)