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What a lovely little film this turned out to be! Seeped in the rustic goodness of a Malayali village and the charmed music from God's own country, this mythical tale was a breath of fresh air. Dotted with songs that will have you humming along, the film follows a gang of children and their fate when an old man turns up in their village, and is labeled as Kummatty, or the Bogeyman.
The film stays honest to its setting - somehow managing to weave the peace and simplicity of the village into its characters, into its dialogue, and into its fluid song sequences. The relationship between the young and the old is beautifully captured, and when the film comes a full circle, Chinda, our main protagonist, realizes a thing or two about freedom and captivity.
This film may very well be India's own Pied Piper of Hamlin, and is a slice of folklore that is very unique to the country. Kummattikali is a dance form still practiced in Kerala during the Onam festival - and the legend seems to have arisen from the Mahabharata, where the Kummattis, or the ghost-companions of Lord Shiva, were called upon to dance and celebrate the virtue of Arjuna. And yes, masks have a huge role to play in this film, as they do in the dance form. A deliberate start but a great story in the end.
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