Cast: Mohanlal, Lakshmi Rai, Mukesh, Rehman, Manoj K Jayan, Siddique,
Harishree Ashokan ,Radhika, Shweta Menon
Production: P M Venugopal
Music: Vidya Sagar
Mohanlal’s Rock‘n’Roll, written and directed by Ranjit just does not rock!
A feeling of ‘déjà vu’ hits you as the characterization of the protagonist Chandramouli, an internationally reputed drummer is the same as Ranjit’s earlier films. Ranjit just does not have a story to say and he has totally relied on Mohanlal’s mass image to work and this time it looks stale!
The title Rock ‘n’ Roll itself has nothing to do with the gyrating, twisting, free-style dancing popularized in the 60’s in US. It is the zillionth cyclostyled Mohanlal characterization of writer-director Ranjith’s earlier Mohanlal films like Devasuram, Aaram Thampuram, Narasimham, Ravana Prabhu, Chandrolsavam among others. Here the only change is that the milieu of Varikaseri Mana and Bharathapuzha in Shornnur has changed to the studios of Kodambakkam and the hustle and bustle of Chennai against the backdrop of life and times of musicians and the world of music composition.
In Chandraolsavam the Mohanlal character Srihari, was a larger-than-life internationally reputed student doing research on music and was living in the culture capital of the world Paris for years before deciding to come down to Kerala to spend time with old friends. He mouths punch dialogues in his inimitable style, has a way with women, enjoys and sings classical music, can speak Sanskrit slokas, has a battalion of friends, is an expert fighter and drinks everything from Nadan(Todday) to scotch whisky!
Now with Rock ‘n’ Roll, Srihari has metamorphosed into Chandramouli an internationally reputed drummer, introduced in the film as an “Ullagam Sutrum Valibhan (globe trotter), who is one day in London, next day in Cape Town and a day after in Chennai! He has played with all major music troupes in the world and is a close friend of Zakir Hussain and A.R Rahman”!! He will do anything for friends and is a compulsive womaniser and an alcoholic who in front of his bedroom mirror confesses for the first time when he gets smitten by a girl!
Chandramouli has gift of the gab to impress everybody and says punch lines like “Cool Guru”! One day on the request of his good friend Guna (Siddique), a leading music director, he comes down to Chennai to play the drums for a film he is composing for director Lal Jose (Lal Jose in a cameo).
Mouli sees it also an opportunity to catch up with his old music troupe consisting of Henry (Rahman) the keyboard player, Issac (Lal) the violinist, Balu(Harisri Asokhan) the tabla player and Viswanathan (Mukesh) a music director. Meenakshi (Shwetha Menon) a choreographer, an old flame of Chandramouli joins the party, as they make merry. Everybody in the gang has their own peculiar personal and professional problems which are sorted out by our drummer hero!
Meanwhile Chandramouli, falls in love for the first time in his life with Daya Srinivasan (Lakshmi Rai), a Mumbai based singer whom he meets during the Lal Jose’s music recording done by Guna. Mouli decides to turn music director, for a film produced by a friend Khader Bhai (Jagathy) so that he can woo and win over Daya who is protected by her mother and a rich businessman who wants to marry her!
However he is unable to produce a good tune and takes the help of Saidapet Giri (Manoj. K.Jayan) a failed singer turned ‘dada’ and kidnaps Maha (Sooraj Venjaranmoodu, dressed like A.R Rahman!), a leading music director who plagiarises other’s tunes to churn out hit music! The rest of the film is how Chandramouli finally composes the “song of love, desire, passion and destiny”, straight from his heart and whisks away Daya on the day of her marriage so that she can decide her own future!
The film affirms the fact that the superstar driven Malayalam movies of today have hardly any script. It is just rehashing the same old stories, the stars larger-than-life image and clichéd situations over and over again. All the talented lead players cannot prop up the dilapidated screen play and maintain a balance in the face of over-the-top direction.
Mohanlal looks tired and ridiculous in outfits and a get-up that do not suit him and hams to the hilt! Lakshmi Rai looks beautiful, but finds it difficult to emote. It’s sad to see an ensemble cast of some of the finest actors in Malayalam- Jagathy, Mukesh, Manoj.K.Jayan, Siddique, Rahman, Asokhan, Sooraj and Lal reduced to nothingness. There is no real catchy tune from Vidyasagar in a film based on music industry, except the number O’ Mama Chandra mama….
Ranjit through Rock ‘n’ Roll tries unsuccessfully to infuse whimsical comedy with satire, and falls flat.