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  • abhilash723 August 2004
    "Kasthooriman" brings on screen the most promising pair of Malayalam Cinema, Kunchacko Boban and Meera Jasmine.

    Kastoorimaan is writer-director Lohithadas' ode to his protégé Meera Jasmine. Quite clearly she is the star of the show and the cleverly crafted script showcases her acting capabilities to the hilt. The film is worth a watch in the theaters, thanks to an engaging directorial style of Lohithadas who believes in simple and straightforward way of story telling.

    Sajan (Kunchakko Boban) is a rich, soft-spoken and studious young man, while his junior Priyamvada (Meera Jasmine) is smart and outgoing type. Her close friend is in love with Sajan, but he avoids her by saying that his only ambition in life is to study hard and become an IAS. But Priya follows him and digs out the truth that though he hails from a rich family, his father has now gone bankrupt and has no money even to pay the exam fee! On hearing this, her friend ditches him but slowly Priya starts having a soft corner for him. She even pays his fees but Sajan tries to avoid her and treats this as an insult.

    One day Sajan meets Priya in his father's friend's house. He is shocked to know that she is a servant there. Sajan realizes that she works as a domestic help in four houses to looks after her family and pay for her education. He admires her and starts loving her. Priya helps him with money to go for his IAS coaching in Delhi and it is the happiest day for her when Sajan gets his IAS. But there is an unexpected twist in the climax.

    In an industry that is male dominated, the author-backed role of Priyamwada, a very outgoing and assertive girl is played brilliantly by Meera Jasmine. She has come up with an excellent performance that captures every nuances of the character. Boban Kunchakko as Sajan plays his role effectively so that the heroine can sparkle. It is Lohi's best attempt at making a great entertainer. The supporting cast are all new faces and everybody has done their roles very well. Songs tuned by Ouseppachan are good.
  • This is another feather in the caps of both A K Lohithadas and Meera Jasmine. Lohithadas is one of the best screenwriter and directors in the Malayalam cinema industry. His style of story-telling and characterization are a reference for any emerging screenwriter. He always takes the best out of his actors. The characters he has created are found in our day-to-day life and are very realistic. One can blindly go for watching a Lohithadas written or directed movie without any second thought.

    Meera Jasmine, as Priyamvada, has sparkled in the movie and it is very clearly her movie. Each and every expression on her face whether as an easy-going, carefree student or one going through a lot of turmoil in her personal life, is mindblowing. She is one of the best actresses to have donned the Malayalam film industry, the best since Manju Warrier. Her National Award for Best Actress in the T V Chandran-directed film, Paadam Onnu Oru Vilampam, so early in her career clearly talks of the abundance of talent this young actress possess. I liked her performance in two scenes in the movie, one in which she kills her brother-in-law Rajendran and the second when Sajan comes to visit her at the jail.

    Other actors who stands out are Kudapalli Leela (Rajendran's mother)and Shammi Thilakan (Rajendran), the latter following in his father's footsteps as a talented actor.

    The opening of the movie is not so good. The scene where the Collector is dressing makes one think that this is a comedy movie. And when the movie cuts into the flashback, it seems to be another one of those college romance movies. The story begins to unfold only after Sajan finds Priya working as a housemaid to make both her house and studies going together.

    All in all, this is a great movie minus the songs which are not so good.

  • Warning: Spoilers
    Overall a very strong movie by the late great Lohithadas. His cinematography primarily uses elements of the scene in itself without much post production or editing to give a very realistic feel that engrosses you in the scene of every shot. The cast did an excellent job in each of their roles, Meera Jasmine in particular shined in her role as Priya. Ouseppachan put together an excellent collection of songs all of which appropriately compliment the films story, the scene's emotion, and the characters' chemistry.

    While I personally feel the beginning of the movie is the weaker part of the film, it appropriately sets up the levity and whimsical innocence of Priya's and Sajan's bantering. The chemistry between the duo truly begins to clicks after the program scene (Rakuyil Padi song number) and as a viewer, you are fully with them as they discover more and more about each other that slowly draws them closer together. The scripting and the dialogue effectively endear the characters and divulge you as a viewer through the emotions Sajan and Priya are going through. You laugh with them as Sajan finally concedes to accept Priya's financial help and friendship, you want to cry with Priya and feel for her when she shares her pain with Sajan; you smile when they find happiness, despite their own suffering, through each other. There is no need for suspension of disbelief in this movie as there often is in many love stories' cases, everything feels well connected and characters react and behave in a manner very true to life.

    Beyond the main cast, the supporting cast's performances for the most part hold their weight along with Kunchacko Boban and Meera Jasmine. Kudapalli Leela's performance as Rajendran's mother makes you absolutely loathe her character, but you can still connect with her and share her emotions in the climactic scene. Shammi Thilakan delivers a fantastic performance as Rajendran, truly driving home that while he does care about his family, he is blinded by his control issues and his ego which ultimately lead to his downfall.

    Personal favorite scenes of mine were the scene where Sajan and Priya say goodbye as Sajan prepares to leave for Delhi, the climactic scene, and the final montage scene before the ending.