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COLD CASE (Malayalam): Exactly as its title - A Cold Case that reminded me of two Hindi crime fiction novels read more than three decades back. (Review by Bobby Sing)

08 Jul, 2021 | Movie Reviews / 2021 Releases

A mystery thriller with a touch of supernatural featuring Prithiviraj as the investigating officer was exciting enough to raise the expectations of both the fans and the lovers of this particular genre. However, the film directed by Tanu Balak as his debut project doesn’t turn out to be anything exciting or novel either in terms of content or execution. 
Perfectly conveying through its title, the film is exactly a cold case, missing the ‘must-have’ thrills and excitement in its story progression. Beginning on a confusing note, it randomly showcases different rituals of exorcism being practiced before moving on to the basic plot. The case begins when a skull is recovered from a lake and the ACP (Prithviraj) commences his investigation suspecting a political link. On the other side, a TV journalist and a single mother (Aditi Balan) notices some paranormal activities in her new house taken on rent and decides to dig more into it enquiring about a strange fridge in particular.
From here on, Cold Case attempts to present two parallel investigations being done by the police and the anchor/journalist at their individual ends without meeting each other till the climax. Sadly, this parallel investigation plot remains the only novelty in the film that otherwise keeps dealing with predictable cliches and unconvincing horror elements. For instance, how many times the viewers are supposed to feel scared looking at a kid playing with a mysterious doll supported by a forced background score and jump-cuts in edits. 
Yes, the film offers some engrossing moments towards the end when the suspense gets revealed explaining the reason behind the paranormal activities and the weird fridge. But a mystery thriller doesn’t work only because of its climax. It actually works for everything that is presented before the last revelation, keeping the viewer constantly guessing and intrigued. Unfortunately, Cold Case doesn’t have that kind of execution in its first hour and thus fails to arouse any kind of curiosity remaining a pretty ‘cold watch’.
Thankfully, here we have Prithviraj playing the smartly dressed police officer without any typical over-glorifying presentation of a hero. His calm and sober presence works in the film's favour along with Aditi Balan who gets equal space in the script underplaying it decently. No love story thrown in just for the sake of it has to be considered a merit too even if the supporting cast doesn’t come up with anything worth mentioning.
Overall, Cold Case remains an average onetime watch that could have been a winner with a different execution of the potential plot. In the present form, it even falls short of Prithiviraj’s Ezra (2017) exploring the same genre of crime mystery thrillers served with horror.
(Spoilers Ahead - but only for friends who might have read the novels.)
The main twist in the film, related to the fridge, actually reminded me of the exactly similar plot in the novel Laash Kahan Chhupaoon by Ved Prakash Sharma and another similar one in Mawaali by Surender Mohan Pathak – the two topmost names in the world of Hindi pulp fiction. As a matter of fact, the novels also got prominently mentioned in the national newspapers more than three decades back when crimes were reported following the same modus operandi as stated in them. The famous ‘Tandoor Kaand’ in Delhi was the case that got linked to the novel Mawaali, post the confession of the murderer. 
Interestingly, a similar case of how to get rid of the body was also there as a minor sub-plot in the second season of the much-appreciated web-series The Family Man. These insertions seriously took me back to the days when the Hindi pulp fiction novels were our only means of entertainment besides Hindi films and magazines. However, it’s really strange that it took more than three decades for the filmmakers to think of such sequences that had already been penned by the exceptional authors of Hindi pulp fiction decades back. 
Probably that will also give you an idea about the powerful writing and content in these novels that are foolishly looked upon as something inferior or low standard by the unaware and ignorant readers as well as the critics and the so called literary experts.   
Rating : 2.5 / 5 
Streaming on : Amazon Prime 
Bobby Sing
NOTE : The article was first published in THE FREE PRESS JOURNAL Newspaper (Mumbai Edition) on 7th July 2021.

Tags : COLD CASE (Malayalam) Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Malayalam Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, New Regional Movies Reviews by Bobby Sing
08 Jul 2021 / Comment ( 0 )
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