Dir: Geethu Mohandas
Language: Malayalam and Hindi
A film that addresses a myriad of taboo issues pertaining to gender and sexuality, such as homosexuality, sex work, and transgenders, as well as the “seamy side” of Bombay’s red light district, Kamathipura, Moothon is a gem. Having said that, it is also a fact that the film falls short of what-could-have-been and has a number of incredulous tidbits. How, for example, does Mulla reach Mumbai all the way from Lakshadweep? The boat, the storm, the mermaid and the fishing ship are stretching the credibility radar quite a bit. Then again the dependence of the film’s premise on the unspoken, the phrase left out, the hidden identity and other lapses in communication weaken the plot.
As for Nivin Pauly, he is remarkable in the role of a drug addicted, sad man of a dealer and gangster (the makeup job is commendable). At some points, he evoked personas of a Kuttan, Kurien, or a Jerry Jacob from his earlier films, but that might be just for me. I’m not going to go on about the rest of the cast except for one character: Latheef the transgender.
The biggest flaw of the film, to me, is the under-representation of Sujith Shankar. Who gives an actor of such immense potential a screen time of less than ten minutes? However for all the lack of screen time, he acts so wholeheartedly and movingly that he outweighs Pauly’s acting transformation. He has played only a handful of roles in Malayalam cinema, most notably as the antagonists Jimson in Maheshinte Prathikaram and Hari in Njan Steve Lopez. I hope he does a film in the main role, he’s a truly amazing actor.
In conclusion this film gets a 4 out of 5. I wish the plot and script were stronger.