No one can tell you what love is. You will simply know it when you feel it. Unfortunately, no one taught Sleevachan this basic fact. Having grown up among four elder sisters and mother in a rural, hilly village in Idukki, Sleevachan, 35, stayed single just because he was shy to face other women. The high-range planter, who developed an organic variety of pepper through research and trials, is unrealistically ignorant about sex. He marries Rincy, a city-bred woman who has colorful dreams about life. Debutante filmmaker Nisam Basheer's Asif Ali-starrer 'Kettiyolaanu ente Malakha' deals with the challenges and issues faced by Sleevachan and Rincy in their journey of discovering true love.
Unlike the recent post-wedding love stories like 'Alamara,' 'Mangalyam Thanthunanena' and Asif Ali's own 'Kakshi Amminippilla:', 'Kettiyolaanu ente Malakha' stands out because it asserts the importance of consensual physical relationship in a successful married life.
This is something Malayalam cinema has always been reluctant to showcase. We are used to laughing at a pregnant woman with four or more children who complains about her husband's inability to control sexual urge. Even the recent Biju Menon-starrer 'Adyarathri' has a scene where the husband literally conquers his wife on their first night through sex.
However, ignorant Sleeva messes up the initial days of his marriage because of his reluctance to face his wife and ignorance in handling intimate moments. The movie breaks for interval when Rincy gets hospitalized for conjugal rape. The movie vehemently criticizes the superficiality and pointlessness of sex education and pre-marital counseling offered by the church.
'Kettiyolaanu ente Malakha' has captured the beauty of picturesque Idukki, thanks to Abhilash Sankar's excellent cinematography. The songs have also played a major role in binding the audience well with the storyline.
Jaffer Idukki is to high-range movies as Jayaraj Warrier is to Thrissur or Subeesh Sudhi is to Kannur. Be it in 'Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan,' 'Maheshinte Prathikaram' or 'Jallikkattu,' Jaffer Idukki has effortlessly delivered the most natural performance as a commoner in Idukki. With his Idukki dialect, look and mannerisms Jaffer appears to be a next-door man for the audience.
Emotional drama is perhaps the best genre that suits Asif Ali. Not every actor cries in a convincing manner but Asif Ali has got the skill. Be it in 'Virus,' 'Ozhimuri,' or 'Kettiyolaanu ente Malakha,' Asif Ali's sentiments have moved the audience to tears. His innocent look makes him flexible enough to perform all shades of the character.
Veena Nandakumar plays the role of a normal modern young women who enters wedlock with a lot of dreams. She has done an amazing job while handling the dilemma and stress associated with playing a conjugal rape victim, a patient lover and understanding wife.
Basil Joseph plays a pivotal role, both as a supporting actor and a friend of Sleeva. Basil's love story is a parallel plot in the storyline that brings in some good humour.
'Kettiyolaanu ente Malakha' is a small, convincing family movie that evokes some serious thoughts among the youngsters who look forward to enter the wedlock. It has touching sequences of discovering love post marriage. The movie balances well between the social, emotional and physical aspects of marriage.