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Kanthari is among the hottest chillies available to us. In colloquial parlance the word is used to denote a young woman who is cunning, stoic and not easily amenable. And the movie does try to live upto its billing as a women centric movie. It tries to throw light on the lives of those women who occupy the sidelines of existence. The women who plunge themselves into flesh trade intentionally or unintentionally. The society with righteous indignation who look down upon many of these women who make a living selling their bodies. Kanthari examines these issues but as a movie it falters due to digressions and lack of an engaging script.
Rani (Rachana Narayanankutty), is an orphan girl who finds life anything but a bed of roses. She was brought up by three sex workers who are known by her native names.When Rani grows up she is unable to shrug off her history. People continue to tag her in an undesirable manner and her efforts to lead a normal life runs into roadblocks galore. A frustrated Rani decides that she will have to find a way out of her pestering troubles. Finally she decides to be a bit audacious and she starts snatching chains and looting money from people who attempts to exploit her sexually.
Rani does manage to keep things on the rail by resorting to her petty criminal acts. Her three ‘ step mothers’ also benefit from Rani’s deeds.Ameer (Shekhar Menon) is an immensely rich guy who is physically handicapped. The bloated man is on the look out for a bride but his appearance and overweight prove major hurdles in his pursuit .The paths of Ameer and Rani who belong to different strata of the society criss cross. Both of them find each other a great source of solace and comfort.
Things take a quirky turn as a murder happens and matters get into a tangle of sorts. The film nosedives as it digresses and goes into unnecessary detailing . It strives to be a murder mystery but loses focus beyond a point. Rani’s and Ameer’s life does provide some sparks here and there. The issues in the lives of prostitutes are only superficially dealt with.
Rachana Narayanankutty is the strong point of the movie and she does give a very good account of herself in her usual style. Shekhar Menon isn’t particularly good but makes his presence felt. The other cast including Sreejith Ravi, Vijay, Zeenath etc. have put in decent performances as well. The songs are just about OK while the background score adds to the mood of the film.
Kanthari has good intentions and has its moments as well. Writer director Ajmal’s efforts prove pedestrian at best. A women centric movie that deals with a weighty theme would have passed the muster.
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