No wonder sparks fly just as the title plays on screen, every letter punctuated with a bang, loud and brash.
This is Komban.
There’s an eerie resemblance to Virumaandi here – those moustaches, perhaps? Or those pastoral beats that echo over roughhewn houses, a dozen faceless villains, and a leading who is a little reminiscent of Annalakshmi?
And, who better to play the role of a rural woman than Lakshmi Menon? Madurai or Ramanathapuram, idli seller or wife to a roguish brute, her role is never devoid of forays into the kitchen. But then, there’s no point here really; we’re talking about men who kill each other over spilt sambar, and where a ‘sambavam’ is as eventful as can be. This is old, though, the tale that is built around Karthi – turf wars and caste politics consume most of the movie, in a blurry, confused tangle of limbs and weapons. And, those faceless villains, each as unmemorable as the next.
What is novel perhaps is the relationship between Komban and his father in law. Rajkiran – all tears and greatness – is the old elephant that tames the younger …singam, who bristles at the slightest touch. While this has been explored and milked for all its worth – Manjapai anyone? – the pleasant surprise here is Kovai Sarala. She’s Komban’s mother, with an acidic tongue – delightfully slapstick sometimes, and downright funny during the others. She constantly berates her son for getting into brawls, and in a memorable instance, flings a bunch of beans at his feet and says, “aambalaya irundha, idha aru.”
And, as a fitting tribute, Lakshmi Menon is called Palani here, a nod to that 1995 flick, which still remains one of the few to cast Kovai Sarala in an unconventional role.
There’s nothing new in Komban, yes. This carefully built drama around Karthi, which is all about Karthi, his aruva, his toned muscles, and his really very hirsute limbs, could have done a lot more. It could have offered Lakshmi Menon something meaningful for instance, an active role, like the one in Jigarthanda, than just employing her as a means to serve a greater purpose. It could have toned down the number of those faceless masses; the villains who seem to flank every other frame, and it could have given us a real tale, a beautiful rural romance, and a leading lady who does more than just blow on the coals, and voice archaic sentiments.
But come to think of it, none of that would have mattered.
The Komban 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 an advertising relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.