2004. This was a time when Dileep was at his peak of commercial acceptance, some sort of superstar, atleast regionally, he was. So like every other star once you are commercially accepted, next stop is critical acclaim. So a role like that of Gopinathan Menon would not have come at a better time.
Kathavasheshan, the movie directed by T.V Chandran was released in 2004. Well reputed among the critics thanks to previous films like national award winning Ponthen Maada, Susanna, Danny and Paadam Onnu: Oru Vilapam, the director is known for his movies upholding a social message.
10 minutes into the movie and the aforementioned lead character, Gopinathan Menon(Dileep), a middle class next-door guy employed as an engineer, commits suicide. Among the appalled is his fiancee, Renuka(Jyothirmayi), who's more intrigued than the rest. Weaving together various fragments of his life, as told by those who were dear and near to him, she paints a picture (literally) of a person who, living among a chaotic and immoral society, finds it hard to live with a humane heart.
Dileep as the central character does pretty well. I wouldn't go as far as to say he was the best for the role or none would have done better etc, but this is certainly one of his best roles, to date. Jyothirmayi is well cast and does her bit with ease. The rest are only okay in my opinion (except maybe Vijaya Raghavan and Indrans in certain scenes), but I would have expected better control of his cast from a director of Chandran's rep. Cinematography and music are departments with minimal flaw. Nothing gimmicky, just plain and simple. Songs are good and fits well into the story like the glove your grandmother would have stitched you for your 3rd birthday (and unlike this usage).
Now to direction, as for me, this is the most flawed area here (doesnt mean its all a mess, at all, but only relatively). Honestly I had never watched any other T.V. Chandran movies before this one, but from what I'd heard he was one of the finest. Also, this being a movie that can be considered of the Parallel genre trying to find a balance between commercial and arthouse, one wouldn't be greedy to expect realism in characters, story and behaviour, not to mention mannerisms of the cast. Ok, acting/mannerisms by most of the cast (other than the ones I mentioned in the paragraph before) are amateurish. Certain scenes were not only unrealistic but unnecessary and laughable(e.g scene where Renuka gets to meet Indrans' character, and how he climbs back when he leaves). Certain characters, like those of Janardhanan, Salim Kumar were either under developed or, again, unnecessary. Now that the flaws have been let out, we can get to the plus. The story, though quite simple, but explained in a more complex manner was good. It quite clearly delivered a rather powerful message without being too preachy. The presentation of the character's life as through a live jigsaw puzzle was one of the best narrational methods I've seen in Malayalam or Indian cinema. I remember some friends mentioning drag, but to me this was less dragging than a Ferrari sitting on a Concorde (pardon the killing usage, again). I was about as intrigued as Jyothirmayi's character to dig deeper into the protagonist's life.
I went in with a lot of expectations for this movie, but as always we all know where that leads. Thus overall we have here one of the better Malayalam movies of 2004, something I'd rate a 8.5/10, all the while wondering what could have been.