Thursday, November 24, 2016

A look at Kammatipaadam (2016) Ithaca Fantastik 2016

Driven by a kick ass score by K, John P. Varkey and Vinayakan KAMMATIPAADAM is drama about friendship, corruption , crime and the state of the lower classes who are driven from their homes in a the town called Kammatti Padam.

Krishnan, a security guard in Mumbai gets a call from his friend Ganga saying that he is in trouble and needs his help. Picking up and heading home Krishnan ponders his days growing up and how he met Ganga and was involved in various criminal enterprises with his friend. Once he gets home he finds himself in a world of trouble.

Billed as a crime  thriller by the programmers at the Ithaca Fantastik it is something much more than that. While there is fighting and criminal activity the film is really more a drama about friendship, the lives we live, our inability to escape our past and how the rich will take whatever they want from us. How this ended up at a "fantastic" film festival kind of puzzles me since the film doesn't seem to fit the parameters. On the other hand this is a great film so it's not surprising anyone one would bend the rules. Though to be honest this is the sort of film that should have played in festivals such as Toronto, New York or similar ones because  it simply is that good.

Sitting here trying to write this film up I'm struck by the fact that I really don't have words to express what a great film this is. To be perfectly honest I'm staring at the wall wondering what the hell I just saw and I'm wondering why this film isn't on more people's radar. Going in I thought it would be more a crazy crime film and instead I got something more akin to ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA  mashed with the GANGS OF WASSEYPUR but still uniquely it's own thing. This is one of those films that you really can't full take in and talk about the first time through, you need multiple viewings because there is simply too going on.

While I really should see the film a few more times before I sit down and do a full write up of the films themes and charms I do have to point out two things to you before I begin work on a longer piece- namely the music and the performances.

K, John P. Varkey and Vinayakan have created an awesome score. Yes I know they worked on the songs and K did the rest, but it all blends perfectly together. From the opening song hooking us and pulling us in we are on a rollercoaster to the end. Granted we have a compelling script but its the music that grabs us from the first note/ frame and holds us until the final fade out at the last credit. It is the music that threads it all together. The script and everything else is wrapped in between the first note and the last. This is quite simply one of my favorite scores of year.

The other thing that sells the film is the performances. I'm not going to pretend to know who all the actors are, I don't. I just know that everyone is note perfect. Everyone comes together to create a perfect collection of characters that you don't mind spending time with even if they are killers, thieves or worse. Most importantly because the film covers decades of time you have multiple people playing the same characters. Everyone playing the various people blend together perfectly to the point you have no trouble believing who anyone is.

And yet again I'm wondering why aren't more people talking about this? This is a great film that bowls you over and makes you think and feel and go wow.

This is the sort of film I started Unseen Films to highlight.

KAMMATIPAADAM is currently  on the festival circuit. If it comes near you you must make an effort to see it. (There is also an extended edition coming soon that adds another hour of material to the story- I can't wait)

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