Cast:Dileep, Kunchacko Boban, Daniela Zacherl
What if you replaced some of the characters from a typical 80s melodrama with some foreign actors and set the story in Spain? Well, it would be similar to Lal Jose’ Spanish Masala.
The film is mainly about the life of Charlie (Dileep), a mimicry artiste who stays back in Spain illegally, after going there with a performing group. He loses the address of the contact person (Can’t figure out why he didn’t call the guy who gave it, one more time?), joins a restaurant as the chef and eventually reaches the bungalow of the former Spanish ambassador to India.
The ex-diplomat does virtually nothing other than drink wine and play chess, in his palatial mansion. He has a beautiful daughter Camilla (Daniela Zacherl) and there are a few Malayalis working there, which includes an ayah who has taught her Malayalam.
Remember all those Thenkasi based stories where the daredevil Malayali hero takes on a silly Thevar and almost mandatorily falls in love with the chieftain’s daughter? It’s almost the same story here and the only difference is the place where the story has been set and of course, the skin tones of the characters.
If you are used to stories of these kinds, you should have guessed by now that the next in line here is the entry of the villain. Rahul (Kunchacko Boban) does the honours as Camilla’s ex-lover. Charlie’s dosa and mimicry, Camilla’s eyesight and Rahul’s dramatic disappearance are used to take the story ahead but things are irritatingly predictable and surprisingly old fashioned here.
It is quite disappointing to watch this story, which could have been branded as too weak even if it had happened in some village in Ottappalam, being carried all the way to Spain. Just as you would have seen in some of those old black and white films, some of those Spanish characters try speaking in Malayalam, which irks you in a big way.
The script by Benny P Nayarambalam lacks any freshness and the dialogues are mostly prosaic. Lal Jose, who has created magic on screen in the past, seems not to have much control of the things all along. Some of the highlights of Spain like the bull fight, flamenco dance and the La Tomatina festival are shown in the film, but in a highly amateurish way.
Lokanathan’s visuals are okay and Vidyasagar’s songs are good. But what about the direct copy of some parts of Enrique Iglesias’ classic number ‘Bailamos’ in the song Aarezhuthi Aavo…’?
Dileep tries really hard to make the viewers laugh but there is nothing new that he can offer. The Austrian girl Daniela Zacherl looks more wooden than those pieces of stylish furniture inside her bungalow. Kunchacko Boban takes pains and sports a beard to look tough, but this is perhaps not a role meant for him. Biju Menon has nothing much to do and the comedian who plays a Malayali domestic help unhappily married to a Spanish woman, is fine in parts.
If you are looking a film that really shakes you up with its novelty, Spanish Masala is certainly not the one to pick. Still, it may be a watchable fare for those who aren’t really bothered about good quality filmmaking and are quite happy to enjoy thoroughly ordinary movies modeled on TV soaps. The choice is yours!