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Kumki Review – Elephant’s prove to be good actors too 

Kumki’ review – Elephant’s prove to be good actors too’

This latest offering film from Prabhu Solomon is sure to pull the crowds in just through word of mouth. After Rama Narayanan and Chinappa Thevar made films with animals popular, it is the turn of Prabhu Solomon to make animals go through the hoops. The hero in this film is the legendry Sivaji Ganesan’s grandson Vikram Prabhu while the heroine is Lakshmi Menon.

‘Kumki’ is the word used to describe a tame elephant that is used to turn wild elephants into docile beasts of burden. The film is shot amidst the beautiful forests of Kerala and Karnataka in a scenic village. Vikram is the owner of one such ‘Kumki’ elephant named Manickam. He is on his way after an assignment when he is persuaded to go to a small village that is being terrorized by a wild tusker named ‘Komban’. His uncle played by Thambi Ramaiah accompanies him. He adds a much needed levity along with Ashwin Raja who made such an impression in ‘Boss Engira Bhaskar’.

Vikram falls in love with the chieftain’s daughter but in deference to the traditions of the village desists from taking her away from the village. The interaction between Manickam and Vikram is wonderfully picturized with the Kumki demonstrating its affection for Vikram. Many of the scenes are set in Kerala where Kumki is shown held by the forest department for entering Kerala State without a license.

The camera captures the forests of the Western Ghats in all its beauty and some scenes shot by Jog Falls are awe-inspiring. Finally the hero and heroine confess their love for each other but decide to stay apart because it is the tradition among the forest dwellers not to marry from outside the village. They are about to be betrayed by the forest wardens who come across the lovers but escape as ‘Komban’ attacks the village.

The encounter between Manickam the Kumki and Komban is dramatic. Even though Manickam has been chained for being in ‘musth’ he breaks his shackles on seeing that his beloved master is about to be gored by Komban. The elephant fight, which is created through graphics, ends with Komban being pushed off into the deep ravines of the forest but in the process the valiant Kumki, Vikram’s uncle Thambi Ramiah and Ashwin are killed. The lovers mourn the death of all three as the film comes to an end.

After a long while comes a film with animals, demonstrating that good films can be made without the standard hero centric stories. Lakshmi Menon is convincing as the village girl both fearful about what her father would do if he discovers her love for Vikram and at the same time willing to risk it all for her lover. Vikram Prabhu shows why he is Sivaji Ganesan’s grandson with a nuanced performance. He has the right physique without appearing to be muscle bound. We can expect more good work from Vikram Prabhu in the future.


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