A still from <i>Kolamaavu Kokila.</i>

In ‘Kolamaavu Kokila’, Nayanthara Gets You High, Yogi Babu Higher!

Kolamaavu Kokila delivers one of the slickest dark comedies in Tamil cinema.

Indian Cinema
3 min read

In ‘Kolamaavu Kokila’, Nayanthara Gets You High, Yogi Babu Higher!

According to legend, when writer/director Nelson Dilipkumar narrated the story of Kolamaavu Kokila to Nayanthara, she immediately agreed despite the fact that this was Nelson’s first film (his first film with STR is shelved). Kolamaavu Kokila delivers one of the slickest dark comedies in Tamil cinema. And Anirudh’s music provides constant fist bumps.

Kolamaavu Kokila is the story of Kokila, played by Nayanthara, an innocent woman who turns drug mule to save her mother from cancer. How she dupes the drug lords and the police and saves the day forms the plot.

Using The Negative Space

The first single of CoCo (as the film is fondly called) hit YT a few months ago. It instantly went viral, then broke YouTube with over 50 million views (and counting). The music aside, the visuals were rivetingly beautiful, thanks to Sivakumar Vijayan’s brilliant albeit continual use of negative space. Last year’s sleeper hit Iraivi and Saala Khadoos before that are proof of a unique, refreshing eye.

The film plays beautifully with the villainy that exists right beneath the surface of ordinary, ‘innocent’ characters. In Kokila’s (Nayanthara’s) case, it manifests at the slightest shock, and she in turn becomes the catalyst for the rest of her family. This ‘negativity’ that runs through the film even in the funny parts is what the cinematographer has visually captured.

Yogi Babu, Motta Rajendran and More Gems

Thanks to Nelson’s TV background, the movie is rife with cameos by extremely popular Tamil TV comedians who are regulars in ‘laughter challenge’ type of comedy shows.
Motta Rajendran’s alliterative one-liners are Tamil specific LOL material. What was brilliant was the last frame where he’s left speechless just before the credits roll.

But the real hero of the film is Yogi Babu, who shot to fame all thanks to the first single. He’s been in the industry for dog’s years and is usually the fall guy in movie gaffes. His comic timing, mime emotion, ability to handle lengthy dialogue, and to get the audience in splits simply with a well timed raised eyebrow - all this and more is on display. If Nayanthara is the heart of the film, Yogi Babu is its comedic soul without which the movie would be a serious, heavy watch.

Music; ‘Inspired’ and Inspired

When Kalyana Vayasu went viral, it also courted the controversy of plagiarism. The beat was too similar to Sannan’s Don’t Lie. Anirudh who composed music for the film responded by saying that the beats were licensed from @beatsbymantra. The gibberish song ‘Kabiskaba’, with literal gibberish for lyrics also begins very much like DJ Snake’s Majenta Riddim, eventually becoming its own monster.

At every stage of the film, the music plays muse, buddy and bridge to the scene. It plays the role of sound effects which cue the viewer on when to laugh or cry and sets the tone of the scene.

A Disturbing Story Told Well

What seems to be a recurring theme in Tamil cinema nowadays is the blurring of good and evil, especially among the middle class. ‘It is okay to cross the line to protect oneself and family’- this is the moral of the story. Just because you do something illegal, you’re not a bad person, and you’re not wrong. CoCo conveys this message by tugging at your heartstrings to convey the pain of loss, and makes you laugh right after you’re at the edge of your seat, when the villain is about to rape Nayanthara.

Only in an evolved movie can you switch from deep sorrow to fits of laughter. And Nelson wields this power over the audience with abandon. 4 stars out of 5 for being a sheer cinematic entertainer with no loose ends.

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