Mollywood
There is some brilliant scripting here, making a seemingly harmless practical joke appear so grave.
Worth a watch

To know the meaning of this title, you have to first read it properly. In English it isn't clear, the ‘L’s in 'Allu' can be read as the 'L' in 'love', but in Malayalam, it is the 'L' in 'all'. And 'Allu' means the nails thrown on the road to make a puncture. Ramendran is the name of the hero, played by Kunchacko Boban. And Ramendran keeps getting allu on his police jeep tyre.

You should never judge a movie too soon. The first few minutes of Allu Ramendran look so disappointing that you might shake your head and fear that poor Kunchacko has gone and made yet another wrong choice.  But when director Bilahari begins to cast away the poorly written comedy, coming from veterans like Salim Kumar and newer comedians like Dharmajan and Hareesh Kanaran, he focuses on developing the plot. Somehow, every time policeman Ramendran takes out the jeep, there's a puncture and the vehicle stops midway. Every day, one puncture. At first it is a joke but when it goes on, it gets to Ramendran. Naturally so, since the senior policemen do not trust him to drive anymore and he fails to deliver at work.

Obsessed, Ramendran tries to find out this miscreant, drawing maps on the walls, collecting every nail on the road, and the vegetables  in which the nails are struck, pushing away the newly married wife (Chandini Sreedharan), suspecting everyone including his friend, the puncture fixer. That’s where you finally see the charms of Kunchacko the actor, long unused or forgotten behind his badly written characters. He is, even before the puncture series begins, a serious looking man, easily tensed, playing the regular practical, working family man perfectly. The wife – Viji – speaks with a certain distance, and the sister Swathy (Aparna Balamurali) is also not the Vennila kombile raapadi kind of pampered younger one. Scriptwriters – Sajin Cherukayil, Girish AD and Vineeth Vasudevan – create such interesting characters across the script. Here, it's the father (Kochu Preman) – not mother – who is a serial-obsessed man, engrossed in who marries whom, with a set of earphones and a tab to watch.

They also write of a grandmother to whom Swathy’s boyfriend Jithu (Krishna Shankar) is close. But not in the typical grandmother-spoiling-her-grandchild kind of way. Here, they discuss his problems, and she coyly tells him how to get out of it, like two friends chatting away, and hushing when another family member walks in. One of the Sudani mothers – Sarassa – plays this wise old nanny. A third interesting character they write is Sreenath Bhasi’s – Amrithesh – who is a caricature of several real life characters. On Facebook Lives, he tells off authorities by name and challenges them to take action against him, ending up in lock-up. But what makes his character more interesting is how people look at his long hair and unconventional ways, and judge him as a substance user.

Another neatly written part is the romance between Jithu and Swathy – most of it coming out in one of Shaan Rahman’s effortlessly romantic songs. Expressions flash so easily over Aparna’s face that you know this discovery of (director) Dileesh Pothan's is here for good. She merges into the crowded bus so easily that you think she might have forgotten it’s a movie being shot, and really took a bus home.

The scriptwriters also manage to pass off a casual scene, one that’s quite often seen in movies, as the turning point. Remember how in police chases in movies, there’s always a bike parked somewhere on the road, and the policeman just rides it away while the owner either runs behind it or is entirely forgotten? One of the writers must have wondered how such bike owners manage that day or if they had a story of their own.

The writers also showcase their brilliance by making such a seemingly harmless practical joke as puncturing a jeep, appear so grave. However, the grip that Bilahari has over you up to the interval loosens in the second half, when the suspense of who is fixing so many allus in Ramendran’s way is revealed. The quality wavers. Of course, it doesn’t always have to be a suspense thriller up to the very end. The script manages to add some interesting sequences when Ramendran gets even with his troublemaker, but without maintaining the flow with which the buildup was created.

While a lot of care appears to have been taken in the writing of the script, there is the all too amateur handling of it. If a few unnecessary scenes – like the halfhearted attempts at comedy in the beginning – had been avoided, and the latter half treated better, Allu Ramendran would have become a more enjoyable 135 minutes than it is now.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film's producers or any other members of its cast and crew.