First thing first. Leela the short story written by Unni.R is alien to me since I haven’t read it. So each character of the film is totally new except Kuttiappan, the central character. Through friends and social media, Kuttiappan is familiar but that too in a very little way. The viewpoints expressed here from my end is as a viewer who is new to Leela. So please forgive my ignorance of certain things that might be pivotal to the strengths of the short story.
Director Renjith has adapted Unni.R’s story story with the same title to the big screen and whether the film is faithful to the original, well thats the job of people who have read it to comment after watching the film.
I should start by saying that how the film ended was a real shocker. Since I was not aware of how the story goes, it was a totally different feel and experience altogether when the final end credits started rolling. A viewer who haven’t read the novel might find the going little bit tough since Leela moves at a very snail pace focusing on Kuttiappan , Pillaychan and Broker Dasappappy’s journey of finding girls to satisfy the sexual pleasures of Kuttiappan and how they end up meeting Leela.
But a strong and surprising climax literally makes you touched. In my opinion, people who had the chance to read the book and who are familiar with each and every character in it might enjoy the film more than people like me who are new to this subject. At 100 minutes, Leela is too short a movie that takes its own time to settle down.
But even a fresh mind can understamd the nuances and mannerisms of Kuttiappan brought to life by actor Biju Menon. Renjith takes us to a different world, the place where his central protagonist (you can call him an antagonist too from a different level of thinking) makes us laugh and how he goes about with his strange mannerisms. A haunting and wild experience it was watching Leela.
Renjith has extracted the best out of his actors and he had total control over the way how the film started and how it ended on the directorial side.
As we all know, Mammooty, Mohanlal, Murali Gopi and Shankar Ramakrishnan were all approached for portraying the exciting and interesting character of Kuttiappan and it didn’t materialise for date clashes and various other reasons.
Finally luck favoured someone else as the role landed in the hands of Biju Menon who has portrayed Kuttiappan very effectively and convincingly. His comic timing with his acts and dialogue delivery is something that we all have enjoyed and in Leela too, situation is no different with the actor coming on top with his acting.
The second character apart from Kuttiappan who has a major prominence in Leela is that of Pillaychan who is partner in crimes to Kuttiappan. Vijayaraghvan brings life to Pillaychan with a style that we haven’t seen from him before. Good job indeed!
Jagadeesh, well what a casting that was and he was at his best as Nair and seeing him in that role was quite unexpected. Indrans too had a meaty role to play that did very well. Priyanka, Sudheer Karamana, Suresh Krishna, Kochu Preman are all part of the supporting actors with little roles but they were effective in their respective characters. Parvathy Nambiar dons the role of Leela and that face is still lingering in my mind after leaving the cinema halls. Her smile after serving food to Kuttiappan once he acknowledges the taste was touching considering the way she was behaving till that moment passing through something that no one could imagine.
Bijipal has done what he is supposed to with a background score that perfectly suit each and every mood in the film. Manoj Kannoth has done a decent job of editing the film without compromising on the overall flow. Cinematography by Prashanth Ravindran is also a notable factor that has made a positive contribution to Leela.
Overall I would say, Leela is not everyone’s cup of tea. Those looking for pure entertainment may not find the ingredients here that you are looking for. Not sure about the box office success and how family audience would take up the film. For me, this film provided a haunting, wild and different experience through a typical Renjith touch and ends on a strong and surprising note. I am going with four out of five for Renjith’s Leela.
Rating – 4 / 5
Reviewed by Chandra mohan gopinath