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Sakhavu movie review: Introduction to communism

By Sethumadhavan N

Communism seems to be the flavour of the season as far as Malayalam cinema is concerned. Recently we saw the release of Tom Emmatty’s Oru Mexican Aparatha (Tovino Thomas) and now we have Sidhartha Siva’s Sakhavu (Nivin Pauly) as well. And there’s Amal Neerad’s Comrade in America aka CIA (Dulquer Salmaan) that is due for release shortly. What’s common to all these films is not just that the communist background, it’s also that these films are being headlined by a popular leading man as well, that surely means that there is definitely an attempt to bring back the theme of communism in Malayalam films. And considering that it is now the LDF-led government in power back in Kerala, this seems to be more than just a casual coincidence. Sidhartha Siva who started off making award winning feature films turned to mainstream commercial films with Kochavva Paulo Ayappa Coelho last year. And with Nivin Pauly on board Sakhavu he has taken a big leap in his career as a filmmaker.

Nivin Pauly plays two different characters, Krishna Kumar and Sakhavu Krishnan. Krishna Kumar is a youth communist leader who is eager to climb up the political ladder by all possible means. Sakhavu Krishnan is a veteran communist leader and social worker, who enjoys the respect of people around him thanks to his good work over the years.

One fine day unknown to both of them, the lives of Krishna Kumar and Sakhavu Krishnan get entwined in an interesting fashion. Krishna Kumar is asked to donate blood to a patient who is about to undergo a surgery and hence he lands up at a Government hospital. It is only much later that he comes to know that the patient is Sakhavu Krishnan. In the course of the day Krishna Kumar slowly goes on to know the life story of Sakhavu Krishnan in detail. The story shifts between the two time zones regularly, one symbolising the past during the heydays of Krishnan when he was an active communist leader, and the present as seen through the eyes of Krishnan.

Beginning with the voice over of Krishnan it is made very clear by Sidhartha Siva that the film would be a positive tribute to communism and its ideologies. The film is indeed a eulogy of sorts to the communist way of life and why the philosophy is so relevant in Kerala. Now this is a tad risky considering that there is a possibility of alienating a certain section of the audience which is not so fond of political dramas or has a different perspective on communism. The writing by Sidhartha Siva at times results in making the proceedings quite slow in a few places, the duration of 164 minutes making it appear slightly stretched overall. And it’s necessary to note that the film clearly paints Sakahvu Krishnan in extremely positive shades all the way. Luckily the spotlessly white portrayal of Sakhavu Krishnan is balanced by that of the more practical and contemporary Krishna Kumar.

The film benefits a lot by getting the period look (the 1970s) well taken care of, George C…

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