Salim Ahamed, the director, may have put a lot of himself into the hero, but on screen somehow, the scenes and the lines appear all too staged.

And the Oskar Goes To review Tovinos drama on a filmmakers struggle lacks emotion
Flix Mollywood Friday, June 21, 2019 - 16:29
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Tovino smiles. A lot. As Izaak Ibrahim, the man who struggles to make a film, Tovino Thomas expresses himself mostly by smiling a lot – when people congratulate him for his good work, when friends offer him unexpected favours in the nick of time, when his film is announced to have been selected by the country to go to the Oscars – every single time, Tovino smiles. Only the extent of the smile varies, from small (for the congratulations) to wide (for the Oscars).

Salim Ahamed, in making the film And the Oskar Goes To, may have put a lot of himself into Izaak Ibrahim, a struggling filmmaker who takes his first movie to the Oscars (Salim had taken his first film Adaminte Makan Abu to the Oscars). But on screen somehow, the scenes and the lines spoken between men at Izaak’s village appear all too staged, especially when peppered with too many Tovino smiles. In the US, where part of the movie is shot, the words completely fade away and perhaps they were meant to. “A man of few words?” Maria (Nikki), who helps Izaak with marketing his film at the Oscars, asks him. He, of course, smiles again. When she asks if Chithra (Anu Sithara), who picked up his phone the first time she called, is his girlfriend, Tovino – well, you’d have guessed his reaction, let me not spell it out over and over again.

The script itself is simple. There is no rush. A man and his dream to make a film – we know that story, we have heard and seen it before, in real life and in movies. Other characters keep reminding Izaak that he is one of the lucky few who managed to make his film dreams come true, most people don’t. Salim Ahamed subtly makes a point of this by putting a few characters across the script – Appani Sarath plays Izaak’s friend, running around with a script in search of a producer; Vettukili Prakash plays a former associate director who has been trying to be independent for six years without luck and keeps a photo of his daughter with him to not do anything stupid when things get too bad; Siddique is an NRI who had once gone without food trying to get a chance to act in movies but gave up later.

But while he excels in shaping these side stories, Salim’s main story is unable to convey the emotion that it is meant to stir within you. You catch a glimpse of it when Tovino gets inside a lift, on the verge of a meltdown, and the camera spots a tear forming before the door closes. But otherwise, it is mostly through the background music (Bijibal) and the tone it sets that the script communicates.

Natural performances from veterans like Salim Kumar, Sreenivasan, Lal and others like Maala Parvathi, Anu, and a short scene by Zareena Wahab make the film easy to watch. You don’t get bored, you also don’t get psyched. You just wait and watch the drama, and wish there was a little more from the hero and a little less from Nikki, who has quite a few angry outbursts that stick out.  

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.

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