By Fahir Maithutty
In this age of social media, I think we are too critical of contemporary movies. People complain about films like "Premam" and "Aanandam" sending a wrong message to today's youth. When Malayalam blockbusters cross 50 or 100 crore in business, some people ask what novelty or message they have. I wonder how some of our old classics would have been treated if they released at a time when social media existed.
Let's take "In Harihar Nagar". It's definitely one of the best comedies ever made in Malayalam and all of us absolutely love it. But what if it had been released in 2016? Let's imagine how a social media user would have reviewed it. And do read what the plot of "In Harihar Nagar" is to understand the satire, if you haven't watched the film.
"In Harihar Nagar" starts off by showing a series of legs and a suitcase during the opening titles. From there, without giving any details on what is going on, the director duo Siddique-Lal directly take us to a colony named Harihar Nagar in Kerala.
Here you are introduced to 4 friends - Mahadevan (Mukesh), Govindan Kutty (Siddique), Appukuttan (Jagadish) and Thomas Kutty (Ashokan) who seem to have absolutely no job other than following around a girl who newly arrived in their neighborhood. Nowhere in the movie is it shown what they do for a livelihood, if they are looking for jobs or if they do anything else for that matter.
They sing loudly from one of their houses to impress the girl. Two of them wait outside to alert the others when they break into the girl's house and take a peek when she is taking a bath (!). They try to impress her grandparents and end up scaring them. They follow her around in the library. They attack another decent young guy and make him blow the tyres of a scooter to again impress her. They sit a whole day in front of a postbox to get hold of the letter she posted. They lie to a poor mother telling her that they are her son's friends. This is all what happens in the first half when there is nothing in the form of a story and only few jokes here and there.
Now after the first half, it seems the director did not know how to take this forward. A set of new characters and actors are introduced and the movie now moves from a comedy to a thriller just like that. After a series of events that have no significance, finally the movie ends when the girl leaves the colony, gifting the heroes a huge suitcase full of cash. Here is where I have the problem: the movie ultimately gives you the message that you can harass a girl as much you want and you would finally be rewarded with a bag full of cash!*
Coming to dialogues in the movie, it looks like Siddique and Lal ran out of lines from their stock. In fact, they use the same line - "Thomas Kuttye vittoda" repeatedly in the movie. Sometimes characters speak of football, goals and goalposts which I don't see have any relevance to the story or the situation.
There is nothing extraordinary about the songs either. In fact one of them seems heavily inspired from some Korean song I heard last week (I don't remember the name though). Among actors, Ashokan, who has been used effectively by directors like Padmarajan is left heavily unused. Siddique really struggles to match up to the rest. I think this actor is so poorly talented that he would be out of this industry in another couple of years.
Siddique-Lal who had made a not so bad debut in "Ramji Rao Speaking", have lost it all in "In Harihar Nagar". I would strongly suggest that they take a break, go back to assist other experienced directors and come back with a strong story for their next project.
To the young generation out there, please do not waste your time watching this movie in theatres. It passes on a very dangerous message that would ultimately spoil the lives of all youngsters in Kerala. Instead please watch and support movies like "Mathilukal" in theatres. I heard it is an outstanding movie based on some famous novel. I cannot watch "Mathilkul" since I have a busy schedule. But you guys should definitely not miss it.
My rating for In Harihar Nagar - 1.565/5 , Avoidable.
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