Director: Nirmal Sahadev
Kumari by Nirmal Sahadev is a bone-chilling horror film that captivates audiences with its dark atmosphere, haunting storytelling, and profound exploration of human desires. This movie delves even deeper into the realm of supernatural horror, offering a cinematic experience that is both terrifying and thought-provoking.
Set in a remote village plagued by an ancient curse, the story shows a young, naive girl, Kumari, who is married away to a peculiar, bleak town. She begins to have dark visions as she uncovers a long-buried curse and her spouse’s lethal family secret. To survive, she must interact with a forbidden force. “Kumari ” is pervaded by a sense of impending doom due to the revealing wicked forces at a certain point in time. The film begins with a grandma’s narrative of an ancient curse , reminding its viewers of the critically acclaimed “Tumbbad ‘‘. It was anticipated that the film would rightfully combine the elements of fables and dread. The prologue, containing an extended storytelling of a grandma’s tale about the curses which have fallen upon the affluent Kanhirangat family, adds to the sense of foreboding.
One of the film’s most notable aspects is its flawless cinematography, which effectively conveys the eerie atmosphere of the hamlet and its decomposing surroundings. The muted colour palette, combined with expert illumination, provides a further layer of anxiety to each scene, making even the most mundane moments unsettling. The dedication to detail in the set layout, costumes, and makeup immerses the audience further in this engulfing world, heightening the overall feeling of terror.
Nirmal Sahadev has done a commendable job to showcase the negative aspects of orthodox practices. He comments that, “Power corrupts. Greed manifests. No good thing is left untouched by us humans. These are the underlying themes of KUMARI.
Sin, an integral part of our survival, transcends any greater good. Corrupted by sin and driven by the need to survive, we go to unexplained extents.”
One of the prevalent themes in “Kumari” is motherhood. The portrayal of motherhood versus evil in literature, film, and other forms of media often explores contrasting archetypes and themes. These portrayals can vary widely depending on the specific work and its cultural context. It’s important to note that these portrayals are not universally applicable, and there are countless nuanced representations of motherhood and evil across different narratives. Kumari is a relevant example of how fiercely a mother protects. Set against the backdrop of Indian culture, Kumari also represents the power a sensitive and sensible storyteller holds.
The cast delivers nuanced representations of their characters in the film’s performances, which are exceptional. Each actor provides a sense of genuineness and the susceptibility to their roles, permitting viewers to connect on a deep level with their anxieties and fears. The film’s main actress, Aishwarya Lekshmi, gives a standout performance, convincingly portraying Kumari’s search for the source of the curse and keeping us on the edges of our seats all through. Shine Tom Chacko and Surabhi Lekshmi also give outstanding performances in the film. Shine performs as Kumari’s husband Druvan, who grows from a subservient useless young lad of the house into a horrible, avaricious occult practitioner and thampuran. Surabhi plays the next occultist and delivers an enthralling performance. She slips right into the role, blurring the line between appearance and reality.
The film’s soundtrack is crucial for strengthening the horror elements. The creepy murmurs, squeaking the ground and disturbing background score establish a constant sense of discomfort, boosting the suspense and adding an overall feeling of dread. The combination of these auditory elements and the stunning visuals creates a palpable sense of being enslaved within the village’s nefarious grasp.