Vikram Prabhu, the grandson of the late Sivaji Ganesan and the son of Prabhu, starrer Kumki also features newcomer Lakshmi Menon, Thambi Ramaiah and Asvin Raja in the cast. It is produced by director Lingusamy and has music by D Imman
Production: Lingusamy, N Subash Chandrabose Cast: Lakshmi Menon, Thambi Ramaiah , Vikram Prabhu Direction: Prabu Solomon Screenplay: Prabu Solomon Story: Prabu Solomon Music: D Imman Background score: D Imman
Cinematography: Sukumar Dialogues: Prabu Solomon Singers: Alphons Joseph, Benny Dayal, D. Imman, Haricharan, K.J. Ranjith, Magizhini Manimaaran, Shreya Ghoshal Lyrics : Yugabharathi Distribution: Studio Green
Prabu Solomon’s latest release Kumki introduces two bright young talents in Vikram Prabhu and Lakshmi Menon. Thambi Ramaiah also adds weight to the cast with his presence as a character actor.
At the start of the movie we are told that Kumki is actually an elephant that is used to tame wild elephants and send them back to the forests.
Aadhi Kadu is one such village that is forced to seek the services of a Kumki till their harvest, after a wild elephant named Komban goes on a rampage and kills three people. This village is bound by strict customs and rituals that are in place since 200 years.
Meanwhile, Bomman and his elephant Manickam are almost like brothers and Manickam is a nice gentle elephant that is primarily used during festivals for processions. Due to circumstances, Bomman volunteers to go to Aadhi Kadu with his elephant masquerading as a Kumki elephant. He is also smitten by Alli, a young girl in the village.
With the menace of Komban nearing and with the increasing trust and dependence that the village shows on him and his elephant, Bomman is caught in a difficult situation. His love also keeps intensifying on the other hand. How he handles this entire Catch 22 situation is the crux of Kumki.
First things first, the premise of Kumki is totally new. The lifestyle of a mahout and the information that is presented to us about wild elephants, kumki, their manners etc. is hitherto untold in Tamil cinema.
The film is brilliantly shot and the visuals are dream-like. Hats off to cinematographer Sukumar. The shots of Bomman taking pull-ups on his elephant’s tusks, the beautiful shots of the fully harvested sunflower fields and the jaw-dropping waterfalls shown in the Sollitaley number will stay with you for long. The pristine locales of Theni are such a lush treat to the eye.
Imman is the other hero of Kumki with all his numbers competing for top honors. Soi, Sollitaley, Ayyayo Anandhame and Nee Yeppo Pulla are strong contenders for being the song of the year. His menacing use of wind instruments in his re-recording is apt for the huge elephants on screen.
Lakshmi Menon shines in her natural portrayal and her ease at portraying even intricate expressions is a true gift. Thambi Ramiah is almost like the hero of the movie till the climax. His one-liners, gestures, reactions play to the gallery big time. It does get monotonous beyond a point as scene after scene is dominated by this free-spirited actor. The sidekick named Undiyal also provides some laughter with his dialogues.
Coming to Vikram Prabhu, he proves that he is indeed from the Sivaji Ganesan household in the intensely emotional scenes in the climax. He is also at ease portraying angst, gratitude and rage. His physique is a major plus and this hunk is sure to go places. He can be expected to carry on the Ganesan family lineage. One particular scene when he realizes how much trust and respect the village is having on him is a nice example of his merit.
On the downside, the film’s pace is steady and it doesn’t get racy till the end. The mandatory VFX shots dedicated to the action scenes featuring the elephants are sadly below-par and standout sorely. But, these blips aren’t major enough to affect the movie’s fortunes at the box-office.
Kumki should prove to be another jewel in Prabhu Solomon’s crown. His team’s work in giving us such a good looking film which also has its heart in place, is commendable. Kudos too, for the ending which doesn’t abide by commercial cinema’s unwritten rules.
Verdict: Kumki definitely lives up to the hype. It is a beautifully shot movie with good performances and an emotional core.