Martin Prakkat’s new offering “ABCD (American Born Confused Desi)” is a mass entertainer with some deeply underlying political undertones. With this film, the director has continued his success story after his first film ‘Best Actor’, which had Mammootty in the lead, became similar commercial hit. ‘ABCD’ also follows the same pattern in terms of characters, plot and treatment. However, it is focused entirely on youth and is also integrated finely with some social messages that could strike the right chord among them.
‘ABCD’ follows the life of Johns (Dulquer Salmaan), a middle class American Malayalee. A youngster who is relishing his wild, party driven life in the States, is suddenly packed off to Kerala by his daddy (played by Lalu Alex) to teach himself some real life experience of the world outside. He along with his friend Kora (Jacob Gregory, of Akkarakkazchakal fame) finds Kochi to be an alien planet and struggles to fit into this new world. The film follows their misfortunes, accidents and struggles in a rather humorous and casual manner.
‘ABCD’ has a relatively long running time. At a time when most films have lengths that are one and a half hour or less, this one takes its time. The film is long for all the right reasons and makes the right use of it. There is more Kerala in the film than America. However, the director needs to address the issues of a confused desi rather convincingly. So he gives more screen space to Johns and Kora and gives the right amount of time for the audience to acquaint with them.
Coming to actors, Dulquer has once again proved that he is comfortable playing the ultra cool, attitude defining boy-next-door. At certain scenes in the film, Johns has shades of Faizal (of ‘Ustad Hotel’). However, he is able to make up for those reiterations through good delivery of dialogues and some quirky mannerisms. Jacob Gregory, who plays Johns’ buddy, is entertaining to watch for his meek and rapper outlooks. He pulls of some spot-on one-liners and makes just the right combination for Dulquer. Aparna Gopinath as Madhumitha is elegant, bold and makes a statement of her own with this movie.Lalu Alex, Tovino Thomas, Sreekumar (of Marimayam fame) and Sajini Zachariah too play notable characters in the movie.
Jomon T John cranks the camera and provides the right kind of visuals and images to support the film’s theme. Donmax has done the cut and is dead right in controlling the pace of the movie. Music by Gopi Sunder is trippy and has an electronic groove to it to support the film’s cool and stylish outlook.
The film does raise some issues, about politicians, politics and about the issue of Maoism. However, the film doesn’t carry a message. It doesn’t even ask you to take a position on the various issues it raises. Instead it just portrays the issues as they are and alienates from those issues. As the name suggests the film is about the confused state of mind of Johns on these issues, whether it is political or social. It entertains you in full throttle, asks you the right questions and provides you moments of emotional ecstasy and angst, all of which are part and parcel of a feel good movie.