Kammattipaadam portrays the transition, the man-made transformation, of Ernakulam from a sleepy town, surrounded by lush green paddy fields and fishing villages, to a buzzling urban landsacpe that it is today. At another level and in parallel, it chronciles the transformation of the very psyche of the city at the social level. The movie, though longer than usual in duration (close to 3 hours), has however come quite slick in the overall presentation involving a host of characters while portraying a tale of generations through an agglomeration of lives of different shades, tones and colours. Characters who unknowingly become pawns in the hands of illicit liquor goons, land mafia gangs and loan sharks - all enveloped by a trail of violence and bloodshed. The movie while presenting this narrative takes us through the life of the downcast, dispossessed and marginalised crushed under heady agendas of development. It is about rustic life devoid of sheen and gloss, crushed under glittering notions of development.
The story unfolds through the lives of Balan (Manikandan),Ganga (Vinayakan) and Krishnan (Dulquer Salaman) whose lives are led more by circumstances than by their volition, and spans several years from their childhood days to their grown-up lives three or four decades later. In that process,the movies also tells the stories of Anitha (Shaun Romy) and Rosamma (Amalda Liz),Surendran aka Ashan (Anil Nedumangad),Mathai (Alancier) and other supporting characters.
This is not just a Dulquer movie. It belongs to several actors, who essayed their roles brilliantly and brought the characters that they enacted alive on the silver-screen with commendable elan, particularly Vinayagan and Manikandan as well as those who enacted their childhood lives. The female lead, Shaun Romy played her part elegantly though the scope for her character is less.
Director Rajeev Ravi remained honest to his craft, as a director and story writer. Scripting is by the noted writer, director and actor P. Balachandran, and he proved his mettle once again by sketching the characters well and bringing them to life-like definition. Cinematography by Madhu Neelakandan is outstanding, ably and appropriately capturing the varying tones and moods of the story. Rustic and in every way rooted in violent and brute reality, Kammattipaadam grows on the viewers, never losing the grip on them, in spite of its longer-than-normal duration.