When I watched the German movie – Look who’s back (German: Er Ist Wieder Da), a few days ago, I suddenly recalled a Malayalam movie with a similar premise – Kalachakram (released way back in 2002).
Look who’s back is a 2015 German satire, which deals with the premise of Hitler reawakening in 2014 and how it affects Germany. The movie starts off as a Borat-esque comedy starring Hitler, but towards the end makes its intentions clear – to show how sentiments similar to the ignorance, sense of entitlement and racism of the right-wingers in the current times led to the rise of Hitler and how we cannot brush off the possibility of the rise of another Hitler. Though the movie speaks in the German context, its message is relevant to the rest of the world too – where the right-wingers are gaining strength at a soaring pace.
Kalachakram, on the other hand, makes its intentions clear right at the beginning – with the close-up shot of a bearded man talking to the audience.
Yeah, he’s talking to us.
This man, among other things, tells us that the makers of this movie are anti-cloning – Man doesn’t have the right to alter nature’s timeline. The movie wants to show how modern science and technology can be manipulated for disastrous effects. In essence – Man shouldn’t play God.
In Kalachakram, before killing himself, Hitler hands over an infant to his close friend Nanaji – an Indian who’s the ambassador of INA in Germany. This infant is a Hitler clone developed by Nazi scientists. The baby is named Agnivesh and brought up in Kerala, India. Nanaji creates a multinational business empire named Swastik using Nazi money deposited in Swiss banks, with the aim of creating a new world order centered around India and run by Agnivesh. The rest of the movie is about how Agnivesh and Nanaji set out to achieve this objective by manipulating the cyberspace.
Kalachakram is one of the bravest and craziest movies ever made in Malayalam. A lot of ideas and concepts are dealt with in this movie – some good, some great, some weird and some stupid. But no one can blame the writer for lack of trying – from one sequence to next, he keeps ‘em coming.
It is impossible to exhibit all the strange things that goes on in this movie, in this article, as the effect would be lost when taken out of context. The impact of some of the scenes can be attributed to the deliberately creepy and eerie atmosphere of the movie, but let’s take a look at some of the cool stuff :-
Malayali Hitler :
Winamp visualization as blood transfusion software:
Inverted CD-Rom in CD drive:
Computer hacking shown via animation:
Floppy drive to store large data:
A virus named Marilyn and an anti – virus named Monroe:
Religion – Politics – Business nexus :
Check(politicians in white, religious leaders in blue and businessmen in black).
Song and dance in a Hitler movie:
A scene wherein Hitler plays a piano and his girlfriend dances behind him:
Pre – debut Jayasurya:
Ammayi from Badai Bungalow as a journalist:
Despite the out of the box subject-matter, what makes this movie work are the performances.
Of all the performances, it is Jagadeesh who is clearly the winner. He hams it up to just the right level as a creepy and intimidating computer genius. This character is the best written in the movie, is integral to the plot and has a definitive arc. By playing such an over the top yet complex character to perfection, Jagadeesh shows us what an underrated actor he is.
Jagadeesh as computer genius Ganapathy Swami.
Shiju who plays the Hitler clone Agnivesh, is an instance of perfect casting. He looks like Hitler and exudes a powerful presence. He is so good in this and many other movies, I hope we get to see a lot more of him in the coming years.
Shiju as Hitler clone Agnivesh.
Devan as Nanaji brings a kind of dignity to the role, like only he can.
Devan as Nanaji.
Neelam who played the heroine didn’t have much to do acting-wise but she rocked the dance sequences.
Neelam as Veena.
Siddique in a cameo does his job well.
Siddique as Rajiv George.
But the performance of the hero (whose name is not available online) is where the movie falters. He’s just okay and has none of the charisma required for the role.
It is easy to dismiss Kalachakram as an idiotic movie considering all the unusual components(it was a flop at the box-office and is largely forgotten today) . But it is obvious that there was a lot of passion behind this movie. The writer – director Sonu Sisupal had a message to convey and he went all out for the same. Even today, it is rare that a Malayalam movie is made with this level of conviction.
This movie is not perfect – it is flawed. Some parts of it have become outdated, there are major goofs and you may not agree with the ideology put forward by the movie, but there’s no denying that watching this movie is one hell of a ride. The pace is remarkable and if you’re a lover of kitsch, this is a great way to spend two hours.
Before Inglorious Basterds and Look who’s back, we had Kalachakram.