Every building, apartment, mall or shopping complex in big cities are built trampling on the bodies of native people who belong to the lowest strata of society. Kammatti Padam is a Malayalam movie directed by Rajiv Ravi, based on the true story of a slum on which Ernakulam city was built. It is the story about how Kammatti Padam was transformed into a sprawling city and how the lives of its dwellers were affected by the process.
The movie possess a menacing style and unfurls without any haste, taking its own sweet time. I remembered Gangs of Wasseypur while watching it. It's very detailed and invest quite a lot on its quirky and colorful characters- not only the four or five major ones, but even those who appear in just a single scene.
Kammatti Padam uses a nonlinear narrative. The movie starts in the present era, when a middle aged man, Krishnan, obviously stabbed, get in a bus. He struggles to keep his consciousness thinking about his violent past in Kammatti Padam. The movie skips quite a few times back and forth in time. First half covers the life of main players and reveals the motive behind Krishnan's return from Mumbai. These are the most entertaining parts of the movie were you are shown a lot of style and substance. But it is the latter half that was my delight.
In second half, movie change gears into the neo-noir mode. Here Kammatti Padam can give any of its Western counterparts a run for their money. Krishnan's searches lead him into the seedy underbelly of the cityscape that he himself was partly responsible in creating. Like any PI of a true noir he faces the odd challenges and confronts the truth.
Using Dulqar Salman for the protagonist may be a commercial decision by the makers. I love to imagine Krishnan as a guy with more unconventional looks and not this sophisticated. But still he did total justice to the role. Kammatti Padam is a movie made on grand scale and totally worth the time that you invest on it.