Debutant writer-director Ranjit Sankar’s Passenger focuses on the life of honest, straightforward Sathyanathan (Sreenivasan), who regularly travels by a passenger train to his office and back. It moves like a super fast express train, racy with a running time of two hours, and is worth a ride. With a nice storyline that succeeds in keeping the intricacies of the narrative intact, Passenger has turned out to be another must-watch from veteran Sreenivasan.

When Sathyanathan falls asleep in the train after a tiring day in his office and fails to get down at his destination, Nellayi. Waking up, he meets Nandan Menon (Dileep), a fellow traveler and advocate, who is on his way to his hotel room in Guruvayur.

Sathyanathan strikes up a pleasant conversation with Nandan Menon, who reveals that he will be alone for the night as his wife Anuradha (Mamta Mohandas), a TV journalist, is away on an assignment to expose a shady politician (Jagathy Sreekumar), who is milking the state through mining scams. Though Sathyanathan is a total stranger to Nandan-Anuradha until some moments ago, he proves to be the crucial factor in their lives after the minister and his goons start chasing them.

Despite having a political backdrop, the slick movie, scripted by the director himself, has neither the usually boring preachy baggage nor sleaze. The best thing about the film is its ensemble cast that puts together a fine show without the bindings of any set images. Dileep never tries to impose his heroics and is riveting; Sreenivasan is superb as the Good Samaritan and Mamta, for once, shines in a non-glamorous role. But the surprise is the inimitable Jagathy Sreekumar, essaying an amazing performance as a cold-blooded villain.

Of course, the script has its loose ends and the director has opted for a conventional style rather than a modern approach in the presentation. The dialogues are at times dramatic as well. But on the whole, he has been successful in presenting the story as an engrossing thriller with a stunning climax. The background score by Bijibal and cinematography by P. Sukumar surely add to the film’s entertainment content. A considerable portion of the film happens inside railway compartments which has been handled with the expertise of a seasoned filmmaker. In a nutshell, Passenger is a must-watch.

Banner:    Vijay Combines
Cast:    Sreenivasan, Dileep, Mamtha, Lakshmi Sharma,
athathy Sreekumar, Nedumudi Venu, Sivaji Guruvayoor, Sona Nair, Ruby
Direction:    Renjith Shankar
Production:    S P Pillai, Sankaran Kutty

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