If this story appeared in the Tinkle comics, the title would be: “An elderly policeman and his jackfruit tree.” If only the director stuck to the simplicity and naivety of that comic book title. Instead, he infuses totally unconnected paranormal elements into the script, further confounding the film. And the result is a mess.
The film begins with this uninspiring conversation between an out-of-luck director and a producer and then takes us to the home of the central character – Kuttanpillai. The transition is as disjointed as the rest of the film.
Kuttanpillai himself is an undeveloped character. An elderly head constable who lives in a cosy home flanked by jackfruit trees with his constable wife and three kids. We are told that he has an aversion for crackers, his sons-in-law, and ghosts. And that’s that. A few bland bits of humour are added to re-establish his supposed peculiarity and it all falls flat.
He has no backstory and we aren’t quite sold on his obsession with the jackfruit tree. There is a wonderfully mouth-watering opening song showing the jackfruit as the star of the table, and Pillai pigging out on various dishes prepared from the fruit. It seems to be the cue that he needs help to overcome his fixation.
None of the theories around him are developed enough into the narrative. His fear of crackers and ghosts again is half-baked. Especially the former, which seems like a mere pretext to blend a totally incongruous parallel track into the film.
The parallel track is laughable to the point of being ridiculous. Why, for instance, are they particularly stationed at his home? Any attempts to remotely connect the two remain unsuccessful and forced. The confusion worsens further considering the characters inside a bus, all of whom come across as ludicrous and cliched. The priest who wants to go back to his lover, gets acquainted with a good-hearted sex worker (yawn!). An Arab girl and her Indian lover who talk about mending fences with her father. A young couple who seem (it’s unclear!) to be eloping? The bus driver who picks a fight with his wife’s lover. Characters who look lost struggle to fit into the story.
Even at Kuttanpillai’s home, we are fed on characters dipped in clichés – the sons-in-law who are greedy, alcoholic and lascivious in turns, and their equally boring wives. Some of the dialogues simply need to be washed out with a good dose of sense – a man says, “Land and women should be used for one’s means.” I can’t get over the drinking session inside a loo that gets stretched to vulgar proportions.
Suraj Venjaramoodu tries hard to bring some sanity to the proceedings and he does bring some cheer at times, despite the weak script and silly character sketches. The other redeeming aspect is the music (playback singer Sayanora who turned music composer for this film) and it is top notch, at times rescuing the tepid scenes from plunging into a deeper abyss.
Kuttanpillayude Sivarathri is a film which had already lost its plot on paper!