It is truly commendable how some movies and films portray their message subtly without pressing on the issue. Kathal The Jackfruit Mystery is one such film that strikes a chord without pulling it too hard. Manifested by Yashowardhan Mishra, this latest Netflix series is gold in its own manner. The narration is the highlight even if the storyline is a bit underwhelming. It revolves around the mystery of two Uncle Hongs aka two jackfruits that are stolen from the house of a politician, Munnalal Pateria (Vijay Raaz). It’s simple, the jackfruits aren’t worth five dollars–or five hundred Indian rupees–and yet Pateria employed several officers to search for it.
The leading investigative officer is Mahima Basor (Saniya Malhotra). Her team comprises three constables, Kunti Parihar (Neha Saraf), Saurabh Dwivedi (Anant Joshi)–who also happens to be Mahima’s boyfriend–and Mishra (Govind Pandey). They all embark on a journey to retrieve jackfruits but their fate leads them to several poignant issues going on in their town, Moba. If you are wondering whether you should give this 2-hour-long Netflix dramedy a try, I have a curated list to help you figure it out!
Kathal: The Jackfruit Mystery Review
For a movie that is a satirical punch at India’s caste biasing and politician significance, the storytelling needs to be impactful. While initially, the movie comes off a bit bland but then Yashowardhan demonstrates his remarkable skills. The plot picks up but the storytelling remains slow yet punchy with the cast members using their expressions to highlight their contempt. In a scene where Kunti tells Mahima that she never wants to consider promotion because of her demanding husband and family, it is Mahima’s expression that speaks up even if her words are muted.
Of course, the characters of other cast members could have been developed properly. The 2-hour-long movie in which the entire baggage falls on one character–and actor–seems a bit preposterous. But Sanya leaves no room for complaints even if the plot does. The movie works well for me though since it emphasises on several issues in such a sophisticated manner. I cannot help but give this movie a solid 8.8 on 10 for all of its bizarre glory.
Here are four reasons, why I recommend Kathal: The Jackfruit Mystery to you!
Reason 4: Sanya Malhotra Is Stellar In Her Role
For a moment, let us keep the storyline, storytelling, setting and everything else aside and applaud Sanya for her remarkable talent. Be it a businesswoman, an athlete or a police officer, Sanya does it all with her heart and steals ours in turn. I cannot imagine anyone else being Mahima Basor, the fearless yet feminine police officer. Mahima is a complex character, indeed.
She is smart, brave, vocal, and moral-driven yet possesses a vulnerable side to her. In a scene where she is forced to arrest a local journalist, Anuj (Rajpal Yadav), her trembling lips spoke louder than her dialogues ever did. While Sanya is indeed made for this role, many other cast members make Kathal: The Jackfruit Mystery a delight to watch. Rajpal Yadav’s subtle punches work again but his character is not given the scope to grow–which happens with most of the cast members in it. Yet, they pull off the roles they are assigned.
Reason 3: The Caste Division Is Portrayed Without A Biting Tone
India is one of those countries where hundreds of religions and thousands of castes co-exist together. Yet, the cast division is still prevalent in small towns and it weighs down on people in a manner not many of us realize. Kathal: The Jackfruit Mystery hits right on this sensitive spot but it doesn’t use enough force to leave lasting damage.
Amiya, the girl who is kidnapped and blamed for being a thief, is the daughter of a poor gardener. He belongs to a lower caste and thus, is treated in a lowly manner. Several instances as such highlight this issue that is still not eradicated–but needs to–in a subtle manner that I enjoyed very much.
Reason 2: The Slap On Some Self-Centred Politician’s Face Echoes Vibrantly
People who consider themselves superior just because they have a designation need to be slapped and given a dose of reality. Kathal: The Jackfruit Mystery does that–even if that’s metaphorical. It highlights the power of an MLA who can put the police department to his personal use as if they are his mere servants. Though not many politicians follow Pateria’s steps, there are still some who are yet to realize that the police is not their servant.
Kathal: The Jackfruit Mystery takes a step towards emphasising this and what a solid punch is it delivered so slowly. Movies like this are often underrated and I wouldn’t be surprised if this one joins the list, too. But, if you enjoy socio-political dramas, Kathal: The Jackfruit Mystery should be on your list.
Reason 1: The Men-Women Discrimination Is Crushed Significantly
My personal favourite reason! Sanya Malhotra’s character, Mahima, is a senior officer while her love interest, Saurabh (Anant Joshi) works under her. Saurabh’s father constantly keeps taunting him, pressurizing him to break up with Mahima. If the scenario was reversed, would Mahima’s father say the same? Probably not. Then why the discrimination? Kathal: The Jackfruit Mystery asks the same question–only in not so many words.
Moreover, the scene in which Kunti’s husband asks her to fulfil her shift, come home and cook for a guest represents how this discrimination is still prevalent. Also, Kunti is once made to cook her husband’s birthday cake again when it goes wrong. Why didn’t they just go and buy one from the market instead of keeping the police waiting? Well, you know the answer.
Kathal: The Jackfruit Mystery is a socio-political thriller but its emphasis on these issues makes it a must-watch.