Ko is a good movie about a journalist finding himself in the midst of a large conspiracy, wrapped inside a crappy movie about a Tamil film hero playing a journalist. The latter is the dominant one in the partnership. This needn’t have been a bad thing — the result could’ve been a masala movie with some intelligence instead of the curious hotch-potch it turned out to be.
Consider this: Jeeva plays Ashwin, a photojournalist at a Tamil daily populated with people so incompetent at this whole journalism thing that they rely on him to do pretty much everything — get the scoops, follow up on leads, smooth ruffled feathers when the odd enraged politico barges in to complain about libel… I didn’t actually see him operate the presses, but that might have been only because the film ran out of running time. It’s not just the press — veteran politicians seem to be afflicted with terminal stupidity in front of TV cameras.
Much of the story unfolds over the progress of an election campaign, with the ruling party as well as the chief opposition making so many mistakes — all duly documented by Ashwin — that the ultimate beneficiary is a sincere bunch of educated youths who wish to enter politics and make a difference. The canvas is painted with strokes broad enough to made Perarasu and his ilk look like bloody Rembrandt in comparison. Then the plot suddenly kicks into a higher gear and stuff begins to fall in place. But even then, there is so much that is implausible in the way things happen that the good stuff is barely noticed in the midst of all the dreck.
What is most disappointing about the whole venture is the fact that K V Anand has shown himself capable of so much more. His works have always been a combination of masala and intelligence, except that over the course of three films, the proportions have slowly shifted towards the former at the expense of the latter.
That intelligence is still evident in the way Ashwin’s instinct, when faced with the sort of stuff that gets the ordinary Tamil hero’s blood boiling, is to reach for his DSLR. It is evident in how he finds himself without his camera when he finally lands the biggest scoop of his career. It is evident in the way a key character makes a cold blooded choice in a split second and makes it work. Make no mistake, there is a lot here to admire.
Only, there is a lot more that stinks. Pity.