The line that differentiates contemporary Malayalam television comedy skits and an average feature film isn’t narrow at all. For any filmmaker with a fair understanding of what makes good cinema, it is impossible to miss that enormous divider. However, actor Salim Kumar’s latest directorial Daivame Kai Thozhaam K Kumaarakanam barely acknowledges the existence of it.
Right from scene one, it is a parade of loud tone-deaf humour that takes the intelligence of the audience for granted. Scenes are stitched together incoherently, and some of them are clearly included in the screenplay for the sake of sexual innuendos and the cheap laughter that it produces. Even the production design belongs rather to the stage than to a movie.
While cinema across the world has taken the debate of feminism to new heights, breaking all the obsolete codes of popular culture, Daivame Kaithozhaam has a female lead who gets lectured in the climatic portions by a patriarch on how to be a perfect housewife. It is a perfect foil for films such as Eeda and Mayaanadhi which have exemplary characterisations, and details of life.
Daivame Kai Thozhaam, a comedy-drama, is centered around a married couple who are perpetually at loggerheads as they take each other for granted. One day, the God almighty (Nedumudi Venu) decides to spend a few days in Unnayipuram, a fictitious village in Kerala, and he chooses Krishna Kumar (Jayaram), a gram-sevak of Unnayipuram, to be his host. Kumar is a proud male chauvinist who believes he has every right to lead a lazy life while his wife, Nirmala (Anusree) slogs all day in the kitchen and the family’s agricultural land. During his stay, the God watches the couple fight over routine matters, and he occasionally sympathises with Nirmala’s plight. Unable to take the torture anymore, Nirmala announces one day that she won’t waste away her life, working like a donkey. The scene is a perfect primary-school skit material, with dialogues teeming with naivete, and actors delivering their hyperbole best. The God plays a clumsy moderator, and the couple lists down the names of achievers from their respective gender, arguing how they are naturally and morally superior to the other. “Men invented everything that you use now – fire, stove, gas cylinder… And look at him, even the God is a man!,” screams Kumar, while Nirmala says, “Yet none of these men can live without the help of their wives!”
In another instance, you see a mother consulting the God. She is unable to find a groom for her daughter who is in her early 20s, for there is a Saturn-related hurdle in the latter’s horoscope. The God reprimands the duo for their archaic beliefs and superstition. “What is the era you are living in? Women employees of NASA travel to Mars, and now at home, they wash their laundry on the stone they brought from there!,” he says, and passes on to the mother the address of a private marriage bureau in the city. Salim Kumar’s understanding of women empowerment is dangerously crooked, and he sure needs to do some introspection.
Incidentally, it is Salim Kumar who delivers the most cringe-worthy performance in the film. He is Karimannur Gopi, a spoof on Kerala’s (in)famous gold jewellery entrepreneur Bobby Chemmannur. The purpose of his presence in the film is nearly null. He is unfunny and crass, and Kumar’s portrayal of the character makes it even more miserable.
Daivame Kaithozhaam bears close resemblances to Veruthe Oru Bharya, a mediocre film on gender dynamics in a marriage, which had Jayaram playing the lead role. The latter was a melodramatic film that passed on an outdated message on perfect marriage, firmly rooted in patriarchy. Worse, Daivame… comes across as a far inferior version of Veruthe Oru Bharya which had, at least, faithfully confined itself to the category of ‘family drama’, cutting out on adult humour to a great extend.
Daivame Kaithozhaam is rife with sexism. But what is more worrying is that it is bad cinema. It is neither entertaining nor intelligent. It is just stale wine in an old bottle.
The Daivame Kai Thozhaam K Kumaarakanam review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.