Adoor Gopalkrishnan’s second film ‘Kodiyettam’ aka ‘Ascent’ is the journey of life and maturity of the man named Sankaran Kutty. He is a simpleton who’s physically grown up man but he’s an innocent and immature child at heart. He don’t understand the language of maturity and being practical. He’s passing his days loafing around the village, playing with available kids, and helping people in whatever ways he can. His daily routine is drinking tea at local kiosk and country liquor at night with occasionally went to immerse in festivals at various temples. Back at home he eats his rice and sleep peacefully. He has a younger sister working in Trivendram who visits him once in a while. On her insistence he gets married to a local girl but the responsibility and maturity attached with marriage is absolutely absent from the man. Playing responsible husband or father is not a part of his spirit and nature. He’s free and available for local boys to get their tangled kite from tree top or helping his villagers but he has no time to look after his home or his pregnant wife. Soon he joins an assistant job with a truck driver and the journey encounters him towards few experiences that unintentionally or indirectly led him towards the right track of life. He turns out as a mature, responsible and concerning individual out of carefree and worthless one is the gist of the whole film.
One can easily emotionally connect with the character of Sankaran Kutty and it bonds a special connection when its performed with natural finesse of wonderful Malayalam actor Bharath Gopi. Adoor discovered the man to screen in his earlier ‘Swayamvaram’ for just a side role but explored the man in full fledge with his very next film. Anybody would love his childish, funny and likeable characterization naturally enacted by Gopi. The man earned National Award for it the same year. There’s something so natural and innocence in his smile in the entire film.
Adoor’s camera has more to match with cinema of Ozu and Bresson. Like those two celebrated Masters of world cinema he too used camera movement very sparingly, infact steady shots seems like Adoor’s forte. Even the whole minimalist natural approach, atleast in his initial three films I managed to watch till day. Particularly in this film the absence of film score enables the audience to concentrate more to visuals and sound natural to its available environment. The film represent Kerala is all its vivid authenticity through visuals and sound. The portrayal of everyday rural life of Keralian town with temple and festivities in almost natural and unadorned attempt with languid pace that flows freely with monotony and without much outside interventions. One can see the whole fulcrum of the temple festivities that runs during the entire film and parallel to that runs the character development of the main lead. The final frame captures the crackers in the sky celebrating life fulfilled.