Director Lal Jose has come out with an interesting film this Onam. “Classmates” is about a group of students coming together on their college campus after 15 years to commemorate the wishes of a deceased friend.
We are first introduced to P. Sukumaran (Prithviraj), a haggard-looking diamond merchant from Mumbai with an overgrown beard, then comes Pious (Indrajith), a suave, goatee-sporting gentleman who has come down from the Gulf with his family for the reunion.
Tara Menon (Kavya Madhavan), a popular dancer, joins in. MLA Satheesan (Jayasurya), a wily and ambitious politician with his personal assistant Vasu (Vijeesh), who is also a student of the same batch, makes an entry.
The last to make an appearance is the quiet girl Rasiya (Radhika).
These are the main players in the story. They have gathered here for the inauguration of an auditorium dedicated to the memory of their friend Murali (Narain), a talented singer – and the son of faculty members of the college played by Balachandra Menon and Sobha Mohan – who had died in the college hostel.
On the night of the get together, Sukumaran is found strangled by Murali’s guitar strings. Has he tried to commit suicide or was it an attempted murder?
The story then moves back and forth in flashbacks to show us differences between the lead players. This device works well in parts as it is unevenly treated.
The film depicts the upheavals in the campus affecting the lives of lead players and playing havoc with their destinies.
But somewhere along the way, debutant writer James Albert shifts gears and takes the suspense-thriller route that culminates in a solution to the mystery behind Murali’s death.
Maybe it is a trick played to flummox the audience, but somehow the effort fails to excite.
Another jarring note is struck by the turnaround in the relationship of Sukumaran and Tara.
Jose, who is known for his flourishing style and technical finesse, does a good job. Though he has shot almost the entire film on a single location, we do not feel the monotony because of Rajeev Ravi’s competent cinematography.
“Classmates” tells a campus story with a difference, and it is a well-narrated tale.