Kaathal-The Core review: Mammootty joins Jyothika, Jeo Baby to deliver a quality movie on a relevant topic

'Kaathal' is a Tamil word that means love. 'Kaathal-The Core' as its title suggests focuses on the core issues happening inside a family.

ByArjun Ramachandran

Published:Nov 24, 2023

Joe Baby Kaathal-The Core
Relevant and revolutionary

Kaathal-The Core (Malayalam)

  • Cast: Mammootty, Jyothika, Muthumani, Joji John, Adarsh Sukumaran, and Josey Sijo
  • Director: Joe Baby
  • Producer: Mammootty
  • Music: Mathews Pulickan
  • Runtime: 1 hour 53 minutes

During a promotional press meet, Mammootty had said that Kaathal-The Core has a revolutionary subject. The movie, helmed by Jeo Baby — who has directed critically-acclaimed films before — has taken the courage to tackle a relevant issue.

The title of the movie, Kaathal, is a Tamil word that means love. The movie also speaks about different forms of love, not just the usual romantic genre.

Kaathal-The Core, as its title suggests, focuses on the core issues inside a family.


Mammootty and Jyothika in Kaathal-The Core film

Mammootty and Jyothika in ‘Kaathal-The Core’. (X)

Mathew Devassy (Mammootty) and Omana (Jyothika) are married and live together in Pala of Kerala’s Kottayam district. The soft-spoken Mathew is a retired bank employee, and he is contesting a by-election in his panchayat.

A sudden development, however, impacts his whole life — his wife Omana files a divorce petition in court. The reason for the divorce is pertinent. Omana contends that Mathew is homosexual and that has affected her rights as a wife.

Mathew is disturbed by Omana’s actions, and tries to speak to her. But Omana asks him to get on with the divorce proceedings. As the plot and legal proceedings develop, it becomes clear that Mathew has a relationship with a male friend.

Omana testifies in court that she knew about her husband’s sexual orientation soon after their marriage. But she was helpless then as she didn’t get any help from anyone, even though she told some people about this.

Mathew is initially shy and feels embarrassed about the fact that others will know about his sexual orientation. At the same time, Omana says that her life hasn’t been good at all due to Mathew’s sexual identity.

Related: Intense trailer of Mammootty-Jyothika’s ‘Kaathal-The Core’ dropped

Mature treatment

A poster of the Malayalam movie Kaathal-The Core

A poster of the Malayalam movie ‘Kaathal-The Core’. (X)

The theme of the movie is relevant at a time when same-sex marriage is not legal in India.

Even though consensual sex was decriminalised by the Supreme Court by writing down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in 2018, the apex court on 17 October this year held that same-sex marriage was possible only through a specific law and that it can’t read it into existing laws.

In Kaathal-The Core, scriptwriters Adarsh Sukumaran and Paulson Skaria deserve appreciation for highlighting such a relevant topic.

The movie has a perfect flow throughout and doesn’t leave the viewer with an uncomfortable experience. It is a mature take on a homosexual relationship, with Omana telling her husband that she decided to file a divorce petition so that they could choose at least now.

The couple have a daughter and she is also shown to be a mature person who understands the issues faced by her parents.

Courtroom scenes

Muthumani as ameera

Muthumani as advocate Ameera in ‘Kaathal-The Core’. (X)

The courtroom scenes are among the highlights of the movie which dissects the issues faced by the husband and wife. The script underscores the intensity of homosexual relationships and how society sees them.

A revelation by Mathew’s father in the court about his son is an important scene in the movie. Mathew and his father aren’t on speaking terms at first. But, when they speak towards the end, it is a great cinematic moment.

Similarly, in another scene, Mathew and Omana open up to each other, and these moments give the movie a realistic touch.

The willingness of Mathew Devasssy to reveal his sexual orientation in public is also a welcome change.

Jeo Baby, who directed The Great Indian Kitchen (2021), has once again delivered an outstanding movie.


mammootty jyothika kaathal-the core

A poster of Mammootty and Jyothika’s ‘Kaathal-The Core’. (X)

Kaathal-The Core has some outstanding performances, particularly by the lead actors Mammootty and Jyothika. The two, as husband and wife, share equal screen space.

Their happy and difficult times are portrayed well by the director. Jyothika makes a perfect comeback to Malayalam films after 25 years. The actress was good in most of the scenes.

Mammootty is perhaps the only actor in Malayalam cinema who would have agreed to play the role of a homosexual. It’s a decision that must be appreciated, especially given his superstar status.

His depiction of a range of emotions, especially when he is embarrassed and confused, is just mind-blowing. At the end, there is a scene where Mathew cries along with Omana and that is one of the takeaways of the movie.

Muthumani and Chinnu Chandni, playing the two lawyers, were good at their respective roles.

Chinnu Chandni is emerging as a good character actor and lead actress.

The songs by Mathew Pulickan went well with the flow of the movie.

Jeo Baby has again joined hands with cinematographer Salu K Thomas and this time, too, the frames have come out well.

Related: ‘Kaathal-The Core’ denied censor certificate in Qatar and Kuwait

Final take

Kaathal-The Core has a revolutionary theme which does justice to its title. The movie talks about issues faced by a family and Mammotty deserves appreciation for taking up the role of a homosexual man.

(Views expressed here are personal.)