A piece of art can break the barriers and hold a position in everyone’s heart forever. Very rarely, filmmakers stick to this ritual as they succumb to the theory differentiating two terms ‘Offbeat’ and ‘Commercial’. An excellent art will diminish the gap between these so-called two terms gaining the favour of everyone.
Left with speechless words, one would boast Kumki to be one of such best exemplifications. What does it require to take Tamil cinema to next level? Going by Hollywood-fangled flicks of action and technological extravaganzas? Explore the unexplored is the absolute key and Prabhu Solomon touches it with a greater intensity. In the past, we have seen many filmmakers like Ramanarayanan showcasing animal creatures as the central subject, but it’s Prabhu Solomon, who portrays an elephant as a herculean hero.
Every frame sketched in the film marks the arduous effort of entire team to make a challenging film. Be it technical and narrative aspects, Kumki touch the surpassing graph. It’s evident that Prabhu Solomon had taken quality time over preproduction phase leaving no stone unturned over drawing perfect quotients in screenplay and other elements.
To make it simpler, as you walk out of theatres, it’s like getting out of a fantasy world, where you spent years with a friend like ‘Kumki’. It’s a crowned theory that animals exhibit unconditional love towards their masters and many Hollywood films have portrayed it elegantly. An epitome of such a colossal film was Richard Gere’s Hachiko that was based on a true story of faithful dog breathing its last outside a railway station awaiting the arrival of its master, who has passed before years. Kumki doesn’t follow the same route, but touches your heart with more mercy towards the heroic elephant.
Set in backdrops of an isolated village Aadhi Kaadu, the village folks are disturbed by the demonic wild elephant ‘Komban’ as it destroys the houses and farm crops. When their every source of aid fails including the forest department desolating their urge need, they have only option left – to bring in Kumki, the elephants that are usually utilized to tame the wild elephants. Here enters Bomman (Vikram Prabhu), a mahout of a Temple elephant Manickam, which is so harmless and gets scared of wild ox. Bomman tries to help his friend, who fails to bring the original Kumki due to some problems on the spur of moment. Assuring that he can manage with Manickam for couple of days until the original Kumki elephant comes in, the drama begins unaware about the consequences that will see the innocent creature rising with a new avatar to save its master.
Maybe, the film had the promotional lines of introducing Sivaji Ganesan’s grandson Vikram Prabhu. However, while walking out of the theatres, it’s the Kumki that overshadows everything in spite of the lead actors Vikram Prabhu and Lakshmi Menon exerting the best performances. Much alike Mynaa, the film is laced with humour, adventure and emotions. The scenes involving Vikram Prabhu training the temple elephant to gain some qualities of Kumki is pictured excellently. The elephant doesn’t miss to evoke laughter and finally to let you understand, what faithfulness, love and affection means. Lakshmi Menon as Alli looks cute as an innocent village belle and keeps us engrossing with her performance. National award winner Thambi Ramaiah is one of the greatest assets in this film. His performance in the climax alongside Kumki elephant is awe-inspiring. Ashwin Raja, the young guy, who tickled funny bones with his role as a tutorial student in Boss Engira Baskaran keeps you high on laughter with his comedy tracks. Being the third generation of actor from Legend’s family, Vikram Prabhu has clearly understood the present status of Tamil heroes and has chosen this film. It’s a grand start by the actor and his adeptness in emoting towards different situations is brilliant.
If Prabhu Solomon’s narration, elephant and lead actors contribute 40% to the finest outputs, the major factors determining the film’s top-notch quality are D Imman’s songs-background score and Sukumar’s cinematography. It’s quite unimaginable how he could get down to the steepest and the highest peak of Rock Mountains and waterfalls.
Watching Kumki over the big screens is more like an adventurous trip through the exotic locales with four friends that include the elephant. You’ll soon forget your identity as audience and feel like being a part of this drama. You laugh when the characters enjoy and cry when they weep.
Verdict: Strictly for everyone... Don’t miss to meet a new friend Kumki.
Review by Richard Mahesh
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