Cast: Nayanthara, Yogi Babu
Director: Nelson Dilipkumar
After playing an upright Indian Administrative Officer on the right side of law in 2017 film Aramm, Nayanthara flips on to the other side in her latest dark adventure, Nelson Dilipkumar's Kolamavu Kokila. As innocent sounding as the title itself may be – kolamavu in Tamil means rice-powder used to draw alpana/rangoli – Nayanthara's Kokila appears naive and even a wee bit muddleheaded till her mother's (Saranya Ponvannan) potentially fatal lung cancer drives the girl to plunge into a drug cartel.
It is not that she connives and cons right from the start, but as luck would have it, she finds herself pushed into the seedy business after she had knocked all doors for money to treat her mother. A chance encounter with a drug operative, who uses the guileless, almost schoolgirl-like Kokila to get a packet of cocaine from the toilet of a women's hostel. And she walks through the police cordon in a breeze.
Yes, the film has far too many convenient junctures – call them sheer coincidence – for the script to get top billing. But if one were to overlook these, and Yogi Babu's (who sets up shop right outside's Kokila's) desperate affection for Kokila, which turns sillier by the minute, Dilipkumar's work stays on course without distraction.
A black comedy into which not just Kokila, but also her ATM guard father, her sick mother and college-going sister get sucked into, the movie manages to lighten the journey of a motley crowd, which includes good cops, bad cops, drugs dons in Chennai and their menacing boss in Mumbai.
Somewhat poorly paced and lacking any penetrating dark humour, Kolamavu Kokila manages to engage without throwing up too much blood and gore. Nayanthara carries the plot with conviction. She could have added a few variations to her docile demeanour though.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran is an author, commentator, movie critic)