Kakshi Amminippilla: Has a lot going for it

Directed by Dinjith Ayyathan, a first-timer at that, the film tells the story of a young man who has led a cocooned life under the dominance of his family elders and how he is coerced into an arranged marriage by them to a girl who he abhors at first sight.

Ammini aka Shajith P A (Ahmed Sidhique) is on vacation from the Middle East and is received by his extended family who insists on addressing him by his pet name Ammini, much to his embarrassment. They nanny him claustrophobically and, at the marriage bureau run by Shanmughan (Mamukkoya), his mother insists on a glass of milk for Ammini while the rest are all served tea.

He is, as are the ways of our tradition, shown only the pictures of his bride-to-be. His elders have chosen the bride and he must obey their wishes. In no time the marriage is solemnised with everyone except the groom in a celebratory mood. The first night turns out to be a minor disaster as the bride Kanthi (Fara Shibla) is on the bulkier side and occupies three-fourths of the bed and if that’s not irksome enough, she also snores. Not really the regular coy bride.

The honeymoon trip to Pazhani (again decided by the family elders) is unabashedly inspired by Mithunam (1993) where the couple is accompanied by a bus load of relatives and friends. The story till here seems a la Hindi film Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015) where the husband played by Ayushmann Khurana does not find his heavy wife played by Bhumi Pednekar attractive.

But, the story here does not take the family drama route as our man immediately seeks a divorce thereby paving way for Asif Ali to enter the narrative as Adv Pradeepan. Pradeepan, of course, has larger vision for himself as a politician. After initial setbacks, Pradeepan turns his client’s case into a public tirade against ‘Arranged Marriages’ thereby increasing his visibility as a social activist, which gives fillip to his political aspirations.

It is heartening to see a multi-faceted writer-actor Ahmed Sidhique as the protagonist in a mainstream film. He makes the character endearing with his diminutive physique and dialogue delivery. He makes us root for Amminippilla, the underdog, fighting against insurmountable odds. As an actor, he rises above the script when required.

The leading lady, debutante Fara Shibla gets the viewer’s empathy as a very relatable character. Among the supporting cast, director Basil Joseph (of Godha fame) appears as a fellow lawyer and doubles up as a Mappila Pattu singer.

On the whole, this film has a lot going for it.

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