A box of tissues and lots of patience are among the essential you will need if you are going to watch director Saji Surendran’s Four Friends.
Inspired from the Rob Reiner film The Bucket List, with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman in the lead, the film looks jaded, melodramatic and painfully long.
Roy (Jayaram), Amir (Jayasurya), Soorya (Kunchacko Boban) and Gouri (Meera Jasmine) come from entirely different backgrounds, but one thing that they have in common is cancer. Roy is a multi-millionaire, Amir is a small time goonda, Soorya is a musician and Gouri lives in distress, troubled by her stepmother.
Each of them is dying from the dreaded disease (blood, liver, bone, stomach cancer) and they all come for treatment to a plush hospital, Pratheeksha, run by Dr Nandakumar (Ganesh).
Though they take some time to become friendly, they soon become really close. They then decide to go to Malaysia, to meet Soorya’s girlfriend, because they want to be positive in their life!
Director Saji Surendran and his script writer Krishnan Poojapura are known for their sentimental serials. If your concept of films matches that of never-ending serials, then the storyline may be okay – at least in parts. For others, this could turn out to be a tiring saga that is mostly boring and clichéd to the core.
There is the much publicised scene with Kamal Hassan, who gives a pep talk on how he lost some of his close friends to cancer, and gives the four friends some confidence. The legendary actor performs well, but the whole sequence looks a bit out of place.
The screenplay resembles more like one of those emotional soaps on TV, rather than a feature film. It is an absolutely unfortunate phase that the characters are going through but listing out their woes would barely make an engaging movie.
Plus the comedy scenes and an unwanted mass fight scene is thrust into the 2 hour 40 minutes film, which makes it even more unbearable.
The director has gone for a highly conventional narration and it is rather surprising to see even the classic song from Sholay, Yeh dosti hum nahin todenge…, being picturised in the routine format. The visuals by Anil Nair and music by M Jayachandran just pass muster.
The actors’ performances are all a tad over-the-top, and Salim Kumar and Suraj Venjarammoodu attempts to tickle the funny bone fall flat.
The film is a mushy tearjerker and would have been fine some 15 years back, but it is outdated for today’s audiences. With a disturbingly predictable style and stereotyped characters, the film makes you cringe after a while.
This one is a bad copy of a good film. Why not watch the original?
Verdict: A big bore!