‘Driving License’ review: Prithviraj and Suraj play the star-fan roles admirably well

In an interesting plot that falters at places, especially in the characterisation of women, you catch present-day realities and the dangers of a star-fan relationship.
‘Driving License’ review: Prithviraj and Suraj play the star-fan roles admirably well
‘Driving License’ review: Prithviraj and Suraj play the star-fan roles admirably well
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Somewhere in the last half of Driving License, Prithviraj’s booming voice says on a mike, John Lennon (the legendary Beatles singer) was shot dead by his diehard fan. Prithvi is playing a Lennon-like celebrity in the film, at a time super stars are a lot more celebrated. Listening to him talk about such fans who become stalkers of their idols, Suraj Venjaramoodu’s face shatters noticeably, knowing it is about him. The two actors play their respective roles admirably well in a script about the changing equations of a superstar and his fan.

In an interesting plot written by Sachy, and directed by Lal Jr, you catch glimpses of the present-day realities of media sensitisation, hero-worship and celebrity rivalry. The script falters at places, especially in the characterisation of the two women, played by Miya George and Deepti Sati. But the relationship between the star Hareendran and his fan-turned-enemy Kuruvila is neatly plotted.

Kuruvila is a vehicle inspector presented with the golden opportunity of getting a duplicate driving license ready for Hareendran urgently. He brings his eight-year-old son, another fan of the actor, to office that day. Lal Jr doesn’t drag on the fan story, but makes it a fun few minutes with an animated song-dance that Kuruvila dreams of, before meeting the star.

On the day they meet, however, things go terribly wrong. Someone has invited the media. Someone else has spread the rumour that the superstar, known to be crazy about cars, has been driving without a license. Hareendran vents his anger out at the vehicle inspector who insisted this meeting, and doesn’t even give heed to the little child who ends up crying (Kuruvila’s son).

Pride’s hurt. And when pride’s hurt, everything else takes second place. Kuruvila, docile and humble till then, changes in a few minutes to a vengeful man.

Suraj, as he has been doing in the past few movies, conveys the different emotions remarkably well, without even needing words sometimes. Hurt, anger, joy, humiliation -- ride smoothly over his face.

Prithviraj’s character is just as sensitive, but not written of as a higher being because it is cinema. He is shown with a certain amount of disregard, not too keen to meet this vehicle inspector fan of his, enjoying the luxuries the money and status have brought him but humane enough to jump in front of an angry crowd ready to beat up a man for his sake.

It is the women’s characters that are least paid attention to or else written all too belittlingly. Miya’s character, playing wife to Suraj, is told off by her eight-year-old son ‘to go see if there is some work in the kitchen’ when she interrupts dad and son’s movie discussion. She is the woman who speaks too much, boasts unnecessarily, and appears to take nothing seriously. Even at a time her son is injured, she is keen on making up stories for the police. Husband and wife do not seem particularly fond of each other, most of Kuruvila’s lines to her being on the lines of ‘can you please shut up?’

Deepti Sati gets a more respectful character as the loving, loved partner of Hareendran, but meek enough to not interfere in anything serious. In that way, Miya’s character gets more space and the actor does it very adorably. The son, played by Adish Praveen, is also sweet (except of course when he tells off his mom).

Saiju Kurup, proving increasingly that he can handle comedy really well, does it again as the politician friend of Prithviraj. The surprising act however comes from Suresh Krishna, playing a funny rival to Hareendran.

It seems you can’t take a superstar movie without at least mentioning the real life superstars in passing. In what seems like an obvious attempt to please one and all, Hareendran declares himself a fan of major superstars and showers praises on fans who make actors the stars they end up as.

If you let go of these minor but avoidable moments, Driving License is an interesting watch.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the series/film. TNM Editorial is independent of any business relationship the organisation may have with producers or any other members of its cast or crew.

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