Kuttavum Sikshayum movie review: Rajeev Ravi’s police procedural feels like a realistic Churuli

There were a lot of discussions about Lijo Jose Pallisserry’s experimental movie Churuli. A film that does not rely on a definitive conclusion or narrative structure, Churuli was like a psychedelic experience that peaked with surrealism and fantasy at many points. It also offered viewers the liberty to interpret this enigmatic visual experience in their own ways. However, the basic plot of the movie was simple – two undercover cops who venture into a desolated forest village to nab a wanted criminal end up with the realisation that everyone in the village has a history of crime. While watching Kuttavum Sikshayum, you might be reminded of Churuli, but the narrative of Rajeev Ravi’s latest movie is as realistic as it can get.

Based on a real incident that happened in Kerala in 2015, Kuttavum Sikshayum starts with a theft in a jewellery shop in Kattppana, Idukki district, and circle inspector Sajan Philip is assigned the case. He forms a five-member team consisting of a seasoned police officer Basheer, played by Alancier Ley Lopez, and three junior police officers played by Sunny Wayne, Sharaf U Dheen and Senthil Krishna. Sajan and his team with the help of CCTV footage and data analysis arrive at the conclusion that the theft has been committed by a four-member team disguised as migrant workers from UP. In the second half, the investigation takes the police team to a remote village on the outskirts of the UP-Haryana border. Here, Sajan Philip and his team get assistance from the local police to nab the culprits. Rajeev Ravi is successful in capturing the arid landscape and underdeveloped villages in UP where Sajan and his team are up against a hostile village that has a history of violence against police, just like in Churuli. The villagers protect the criminals and it’s hard for any police force to come in and nab the culprits. Like the villagers of Churuli, inhabitants of this village in UP also sense the presence of outsiders which makes things complicated for Sajan and team. We then wait with anticipation to know whether Sajan and his team can succeed in their operation. The movie also shows the risks involved in the investigation of a case. The climax of the film makes us empathise with cops who have to risk their lives in many instances to solve a case and how they are let down by our laws and the loopholes.

Asif Ali as the guilt-ridden police officer Sajan Philip has managed to maintain the balance between a strong-willed police officer and an ordinary human. Except for one scene where he shouts at his subordinate played by Sunny Wayne for a grave error, Asif’s character never seeks attention but silently leads this police procedural. Alencier Ley Lopez is the stand-out performer of the lot. The veteran who has played many police officer roles in the past, especially in the acclaimed film Thondimuthalum Drisakshiyum, has once again delivered a convincing performance as a seasoned police officer who is intuitive and hardened by experience. Sunny Wayne, Sharaf U Dheen and Senthil Krishna also played their part well.

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