Banner: Lumiere Cinema
Cast: Mammootty, Sreenivasan, Meena, Innocent, Mukesh, Jagadeesh, Salim Kumar, Jagathy, K.P.A.C Lalitha, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Sadiq, Mamukkoyya
Direction: M Mohanan
‘Kadha Parayumbhol’ is an impressive return to the good old days of Malayalam cinema- a time when great scripts ruled over the techniques of cinema and when directors paid heed to get the best scripts before the actual production of movies. Here, it is the writer and lead actor of the film Sreenivasan, who has emerged the ultimate winner ,as a scriptwriter who reminds us about our good old cinema and as an actor who reminds us about our next door problems and third world snobbery’s.
Debutante director M Mohanan pay his respect to his guru and popular director Sathyan Anthikkad by following a narrative line, very similar to the thespian director and by maintaining a tempo and pace that suits today’s audiences. The plot of the movie, set in the backdrop of Melukavu, a picturesque, silent village is told as simple and sweet as reading a short story.
The basic premise of the story is all about friendship – that too a rare one, between a village barber and the reigning super star of Malayalam cinema. The film opens with Balan, struggling with his profession due the opening of a new beauty saloon in the junction, is trying for a loan to buy a revolving chair, and to upgrade his equipments. As Balan is a man of ideals with an truculent tongue and is against all kind of bribes, he finds it hard to get a loan through proper ways. He being a father to three school going children, who lives together in a small hut with no facilities, he often is the subject of ridicule to his wealthy neighbors and every one in his village.
Everything in the life of the village barber changes within days of the arrival of a film unit into the village to shoot the film ‘Pakshykal parakkatte’, which has super star Ashokraaj donning the main role. Every villager’s keep away their daily chores and starts revolving around the shooting locations to get a glance of the superstar. From Balan’s children, the villagers came to know about the acquaintance that the Superstar had with Balan, twenty five years ago. Within no time he becomes the most noted and talked about man in the village, mostly due to the snobs about this rare friendship. Even the local poet Das Kaatumantha pens a few lines about the friendship between Ashokraaj(mammootty) and Balan.
People began to do every favor including monetary support for him and his family and local financier Eepachan even gifted him with revolving chair and his new equipments. Every one in the village has secret intentions for helping Balan, as most wanted to have a close look of the superstar while some like Das wanted to pen a few lines for any of his upcoming films, making use of this alleged relationship of the film super star and Balan.
But the fact remained that Balan has never disclosed this closeness with the star, to any one in the village. Moreover Balan was reluctant to go ahead and refresh his friendship with Ashok Raj in the fear that the superstar may not identify him from the big group that he is accustomed to meet every day. This creates more problems to him as people gradually start to stamp him as a cheat who is there to make good for him, spreading false stories about his acquaintance. The film goes on to tell how these stories about companionship can turn into a menace for quite living village man.
The film, skillfully repeats the representative characters, from every layer of the rural villages, (reminiscent of Sathyan films) with which the writer makes a lot of careful observations and clarifications about the phenomenon of super stardom and lives of people living in the lower strata of the society. Mostly represented by local professional actors in these roles, the film also gives an authentic feel with all sorts of storyline surprises and political criticisms in spite of its simple exterior. In the scripts, Sreeni seems to repeat some of his earlier sarcastic attributes like dark skin and heightlessness, but more commendable is that he has easily stretched a wafer thin plot to two hours and ten minutes with out much space for idleness.
Once again it is Sreenivasan who gives a life like performance as Balan. He is a towering presence all along as a helpless victim of an idealistic era, who is left to torment between the rich and snobbishness of his surroundings. Mammootty essentially lives as himself in the coat of superstar Ashok Raj, which gives him ample space to echo his ideas about being a celebrity actor. Meena as Balan’s wife Sreedevi, also gives the needed ambiance to the character. Innocent as financier Eepachan, Jagadish as Sarasan,the owner of a modern saloon, Mukesh as Venu,the parallel college teacher, and Suraj Venjaramoodu as Papan, a member of the film unit,suveeran as the film director, mamukoya as the teashop owner and a bunch of new artists present themselves in the best of emoting departments.
The film has two songs by Anil Panachooran – M Jayachandran combo, of which “’Vyathyasthanaaya barbar…” is already in the charts due to its different vocals and lyrics. M Jayachandran also has done his best in the rerecording department, which is another highlight of the film.