These questions popped up in my head again as walked out of the movie theater. The director KV Anand through his latest flick "Ko" tries to explore the various facets of political life - ambition, fears, honesty, dishonesty and its justification.
The story revolves around a straightforward but a very clever and intelligent photojournalist, Ashwin played by Jiva. True to his profession, he will do anything to get the truth out. He has good support in the form of his parents, his boss- the Editor of the Daily for which he works and his constantly cheering and enthusiastic colleagues who share the same passion.
The story of Ashwin is weaved through the election season in the State. There is this powerful ruling party and its leader, the Chief Minister (Prakash Raj) on one side who is confident of coming back to power, one opposition party on another side, whose leader (Kota Srinivasa Rao) who has absolutely no ethics or scruples what so ever. The other contender is a new Party consisting of young, educated men and women whose aim is to only serve the society and at the helm is 28-year old Vasanthan (Ajmal). The role of the Press in making or breaking political careers, how the eager reporters cover the election campaigns of each party, how they try to expose the wrong doings of the parties and how the young new Party is so full of hope and motivation is what the first half of the movie is about. Who wins and who loses is what the rest of the movie is about. If the first half makes you smile, cheer and feel totally inspired, the second half brings you to the edge of the seat. The sudden twists and turns surprise and shock you.
The cast: Jiva as the photo journalist is very good. He's always been a very good actor who chooses most of his roles well. He looks great and comes out very well as this smart guy who can talk himself out of any tough situation.
Karthika: She plays a reporter in the same newspaper as the hero and is his girlfriend. I didn't like her when I first saw the photographs and promos of this and the other Telugu movie. But on watching the entire movie, I think she's quite good. Acting skills and confidence - not bad at all. Excellent screen presence thanks to her height, huge, expressive eyes and lovely well styled hair. A very modern version of her demure Mom, who was as attractive but in her demure style in her heydays.
Piya: Very cute. Thanks to the director for etching her role well. Her crush on the hero and how she handles it is very warm and sweet. I also like the portrayal of the relationship between her and Ashwin - very natural. She plays the part of a fun and happy-go-lucky reporter in the same office as Karthika and Jeeva.
Ajmal: A very important role, he plays Vasanthan, the leader of the new political party, Siragugal. This boy is really, really good. He's done a great job. Very pleasant face, warm eyes that look straight into you. Even way back in Thiru Thiru, Thuru Thuru, we found him cute, funny and endearing. Some new faces really catch your attention I must say!
Others: Kota Srinivas Rao was born to play an evil politician as it were! Prakash Raj doesn't get to do much and what ever he does, he does very well. All the supporting actors like the guys at the newspaper office, Jagan (remember the funny guy from vijay tv and also Ayan), the guy who plays Kadhir - all of them are good.
Music: The songs are nice, mostly pleasant. Harris Jeyaraj still needs to work on his background score - it got a tad boring at times. Ennamo etho is the best song I think. Amali Thumali is catchy - nice to hear Hariharan's voice after a long time.
Presentation: Excellent camera work - I know this might have become a cliche by now but the song locations and the way they've been captured are truly mesmerising - particularly the first duet. Very intelligent and crisp style of story telling. The director definitely does not take the audience for a ride with illogical plots and twists. Almost everything is neatly bound from the beginning to the end.
The only thing I felt amiss is the scene following the bomb blast and the subsequent house-break in the heroine's apartment. Quite naturally the girl is totally scared and freaked to stay alone after a terrible day. But her boyfriend, the 'hero' is ready to leave her alone and casually asks her to call if she needs anything. For which she mutters something about not leaving her alone. He should have offered to stay with her in her apartment to comfort her and himself too without her asking for it. Whatever happened to our chivalrous heroes? Or is it some moralistic stance? (Can't help thinking how Gautham Menon would have handled this!) Come on! They have just been through a huge tragedy. Even when he consoles her, there is no hint of sadness on the girl's face. Instead, they break into a song on some dreamy location (or setting?). Okay even if commercial compulsions forced its way into an extra song, it could have been something more mature and sublime. Even Bombay Jayashree's voice didn't elevate the situation much. Remember the last song in Vettaiaadu Vilayaadu -Uyiriley enathu uraviley picturised as almost a poetic conversation between 2 mature adults? That's what I mean. Get the point? (sorry about the 2nd reference to Gautam Menon within one paragraph). Even for that matter the Sundari song in Thalapathy. We are Indians and don't have to shy away from songs in our movies but how best they are used to convey the situation is what it is all about. Coming back to Ko, I like the song "Gala Gang", though it makes you a little impatient at that point, it helps the writer take the story forward in just about 4 minutes.
That apart. I must say the movie is very modern, intelligent and makes you think. Like I said in the beginning, it raises a lot of questions within your head. Is K V Anand trying to take a thought out of Geethopadesam in which Lord Krishna says everything is fair as long you have the broader goal of human welfare in mind? Well, check it out for yourselves and tell me what you think. And go in time to catch the titles. Very interest.
PS: Maybe someone can help me figure out the title. Any allusion to game "Kho-Kho"-fight for the Chair etc??