From a beautifully arranged top floor of a Kochi building, Rony, sitting alone and watching Sunny Leone dance on television – is forced to run an errand. Reluctantly, the bearded man leaves behind ‘Sunny chechi’ on the screen and goes in search of a guest to be dropped off at a homestay. When the evasive Mr Chandy is not among the last passengers, Rony hears a drunken man’s voice from the top of a bus.
“Why sir, you on the manda (Malayalam for top) of the bus,” asks a surprised Rony, mixing his Malayalam and English the way Malayalis do, sometimes for fun, sometimes to communicate with guests like Chandy. Right there, in that moment, Prithviraj is a perfect Rony: a man making his means through deeds like these and lines like those, watching Sunny on TV, sharing poor jokes with his friends. And if you had an impression that Prithviraj, while capable of a lot, cannot quite pull off humour, Brother’s Day might just shake the image.
As Rony, Prithviraj does not stand out, but gels well as an ordinary Joe with his bunch of problems, except of course when there is action on the screen and he immediately leaves ordinariness behind and sends 10 goons flying in the air after a street-smart line. Actor Kalabhavan Shajohn makes a fine debut as a director, with the occasional slips of a first-timer in this action comedy thriller.
After the inevitable stylised introduction, Prithviraj is placed among his friends as an equal, Munna (Dharmajan Bolgatty) never letting him rule over like the hero is often made to on screen. One was doubtful about how the script was going to accommodate four young women (as the early posters revealed) without making the hero look like a pathetic Romeo. But the women who are in and later come to Rony’s life do not adore him or bat an eyelid when he smiles. They just see him as Rony, the man they just met, not a demi-god. Relief.
The women are not passing figures or dancers in romantic songs – although there is a (unwarranted) song and dance in the middle of the movie – as films with a single action hero and many heroines often turn out to be, especially when they promise entertainment. In Brother’s Day, each has a story, sometimes an all-important past, traits of their own, strengths and weaknesses. Prayaga Martin plays a playful sister, Madonna Sebastian a practical-minded do-gooder, Aishwarya Lekshmi a smart lass with a past, and Miya George a bold young woman whose actions speak louder than her words.
The exchanges between the hero and each one of them are also unique and sweet – the pranks and sibling exchanges with Prayaga, the new friend who shares a drink with the gang (Madonna), the respectful pleasantries with Mr Chandy’s pet of a daughter (Aishwarya), and hardly a line spoken with a stranger who comes to help (Miya George).
Equally divided is the time and the space for the powerful antagonist - Prasanna making his debut in Malayalam. He contributes to the thriller part of the film, and does it smoothly, playing the kind of man whose mere presence makes you uneasy. The action comes from both Prithvi and Prasanna of course. And the comedy from Prithvi and the mates. Some of them are clichéd – like the one where the nice looking friend gets all the attention when he accompanies a man going for a bride-seeing ritual or the traditional mix-up when the hero and heroine meet the first time. But these can be forgiven, and overall, the movie is well spaced out, and neatly put together. Shajohn means business.
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.