Kappela is a Malayalam-language drama directed by Muhammad Musthafa and starring Anna Ben, Sreenath Bhasi, Roshan Mathew, Tanvi Ram and Sudhi Koppa in the lead roles.
Although it received a theatrical release on March 6 but had to cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was thus later released on Netflix.
Small town girl
The movie centres around Jessy, as a small-town girl, whose life gets entangled with that of Vishnu, a rickshaw driver from Malappuram. Their odd meeting soon turns into romance as they talk more often. However, a surprise marriage proposal makes Jessy desperate to meet her lover. The incident causes a chain reaction that you probably won’t be able to guess beforehand.
Now, Kappela really surprised me. Around 20 or 30 minutes in, I was quite bored with the story. The pacing was slow and it dragged on quite a bit. There’s an entire backstory about Roy (no, I’m not going to talk about who he is, because it will give away the plot) that was quite unnecessary. Sure, you can argue that we wouldn’t be able to know his nature without it, but I think it could’ve been cut short. Since we were following Jessy and Vishnu for so long, Roy’s introduction and sudden backstory (which dragged on for too long) lagged quite a bit.
However, the movie makes that up with the remained portion of its runtime. What starts off as a love-story between two people who would never meet in normal circumstances turns into a thriller before you can realise it. And this is where the Kappela shines. It shows the extreme dangers of starting a romance with someone you have no idea about and much, much more.
Love isn’t enough
I was quite angry with Kappela when Jessy and Vishnu’s romance started. It’s 2020 and we need to make movies which are socially relevant and throw light on social evils. However, the first half seemed like it was actively encouraging people to just fall in love with your phone stalker.
So, Jessy dialled a wrong number and it reached Vishnu. That happens. But does that mean that the other person would just continue to pester you? No, right? And if someone does that, you block them or go to the police. You don’t engage with them. Jessy constantly asks Vishnu to stop calling her, yet he doesn’t oblige. This is such a red flag. But that is where the movie got me. I never anticipated the turn Kappela would take in just the next 45 minutes and how much I would like to watch the movie.
There’s a thing here as well. Jessy is from a small village in Poovaranthode. She hasn’t really been exposed to the world, and her only idea of love (or something similar) is from Benny. She doesn’t know how bad the world can be, and thus she trusts Vishnu blindly. It goes on to show that being naïve doesn’t save anyone from harm’s way. The only way forward is to educate people about the various dangers that reside.
Summing up: Kappela
There are some really strong performances in Kappela. Anna Ben as the naïve Jessy is delightful to watch. She’s sweet-natured, graceful and very believable. On the other hand, Roshan Mathew continues to charm his way into our hearts after Choked. His sweet and easy-speaking Vishnu would never make you question his intentions, even though he starts off as being quite forceful. Another great talent is Sreenath Bhasi as the arrogant, short-tempered and quite mysterious Roy. He is the embodiment of what lengths people can go to for a job. And also, that there are really good people in the world.
Kappela has some gorgeous sceneries of Kannur, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Wayanad. Add to that the soulful musical number, you can a really fun afternoon watch. Some parts do drag a bit, but I promise, the ending makes up for it.
Kappela is streaming on Netflix right now.