(Introducing our brand new guest reviewer Rajesh Ravindran – a NITC-IIMB grad, currently residing in Bangalore. Assuming he finds movies that pique his interest at frequent intervals, you shall see more of his reviews here in the near future. You can find him online, here and here.)
You go into Indian Rupee expecting a Ranjith phenomenon. While you are still wheeling under the influence of that last peg of Praanchiyettan, within the first 15-20 mins you kinda feel that maybe so in Ranjith. The Thrissur accent has been replaced with a Kozhikodan, the Thrisivaperoor circle has been replaced by the Paalayam angaadi, the Vadunkunnathan temple with the Mananchira Square, but of course our much scorned Prithvirajappan is no replacement for Mammooka!
But, as the movie progresses you realize that unlike the light-hearted entertainer that was Pranchiyettan, Indian Rupee has a more involved script. Flawed though in its attempts by some weird camera angles, disconnected sub-plots and lack of a coherent continuity, the movie succeeds in putting across the dilemma of today’s new generation of entrepreneurs. To an extent it reminded me of Rocket Singh from last year. Main difference being that our protagonist is no longer a dreamy eyed innocent victim. Here, he is what all entrepreneurs ought to be, less dreamy and more street smart.
The first half is kind of a let down.
* Prithviraj proves that he is no Mammooka when it comes to accents. He sounds uncomfortable with the Kozhikodan accent and the comic dialogues.
* The ‘romantic’ song was a major pain to sit through. C’mon, grown-up doctors swaying to a song with candles in their hand. I wouldn’t do that even in Engineering college final year!
* The mother, sister, murappennu characters are now too old and cliched. But yes, there is a novelty in Ranjith’s perspective to these characters now
* Ranjith loses track of the plot trying to establish the Real-Estate lingo and Thilakan’s character
* Sub-plots involving Suresh Krishna and Kalpana are a little overdone with emotions
The only saving grace in the first half and of course one of the strongest drivers of the movie is Thilakan. In short, this performance can be summed up as an ‘AMMA-kyu vili’ to all those stars and organizations and producers guild and what-nots and who’s-who’s, who are trying desperately to sabotage his career. Little do they realise that by banning him they are not banning an individual but the potential for improving malayalam cinema.
Without commenting on his personal life, it was a pleasure to see a character so well-etched for this versatile actor. After years, someone has written a character worthy of Thilakan. At the age of 75, there is only one other actor who I think could have pulled it off. But then again even Clint Eastwood would suck if he had to play a Malayalee character! No award can do justice to this man’s contribution to Malayalam cinema.
Innovative has bad seats, no coffee, bad sound system, but easy tickets and accessibility
The second half of the movie was a breeze, no doubt. A tight script and powerful portrayal by Prithviraj, who by now is doing what he is best at, acting smart, keeps the audience guessing. On a serious note, I think the poor guy has taken enough flak for his ‘frank’ interviews and for that of his wife’s. Let’s focus on his performance which is pretty good. Of course he has a loooong way to go and he is definitely no Mohanlal or Mammooty or even Indrajith. But let’s accept it, no Kunchacko Boban or Jayasuriya would have fit this role as well as he could.
Commenting on other performances
* Jagathy, is but a natural
* Rima looks good in her deglamourized avatar. Acting, well, ignored.
* Tini Tom, looks a little under the hangover of Praanchiyettan. He gives a good ‘am right next to the hero in all scenes’ performance
* Revathi’s cameo adds a charm to the movie
* Mamookoya with dyed hair and an evil touch is a little out of place
Overall, Indian Rupee has a good, tight script, which keeps your brain processing while you are watching the movie. It could have done better with a more organised first half.
I learnt a few good lessons and terms about the Real-Estate market in Kerala and also that Thilakan is very much alive n kicking, that Prithviraj can try to act and that Ranjith has his flaws. The movie is able put a message across out without preaching, that there is a very thin line between success and ethics, in cheating and in being a cheat. And yeah, loved the last scene. Keeps you hopeful about the future generation of Malayalam cinema.
So, audience, please stop making Krishanum Radhayums and Velayudhams successful and then blame it on deteriorating standards of Malayalam cinema. It only proves that your tastes are deteriorating and not that of Malayalam cinema.