Prithviraj Sukumaran shines in this movie about a man with a fondness for planes and a million dreams in his eyes.

Much ado about being romantic The Vimaanam review
Flix Mollywood Sunday, December 24, 2017 - 13:59

Aby, released earlier this year, and Vimaanam reportedly locked horns over their storylines that seemed similar – a real-life story of a man, who braves his hearing disability to make an airplane.

If we were to judge both movies by the leading man alone, then we can say that Vimaanam is a notch better. Vineeth Sreenivasan’s half-wit act as Aby was a sour note in an otherwise fairly watchable story, while Prithviraj’s Venkidi stands on firmer ground. But then, unlike Aby, which singularly focuses on his plane-making dreams, Vimaanam takes off on a romantic tangent.

Vimaanam unspools in flashbacks, through the eyes of a greying Venkiteshwaran, aka Venkidi, who has just been conferred a Padma Bhushan. Beginning in the early ’80s, the film introduces us to a little boy with a fondness for planes and a million dreams in his eyes. Little Venkidi tops his school, but has to drop out because someone or the other taunts him about his hearing disability. Eventually, he ends up at a mechanic shop, helping his uncle (Sudheer Karamana) and Pappan (Alencier), in whom he finds an ally.

The film, however, doesn’t invest much time in establishing the young man’s journey from a school dropout to the ageing Padma Bhushan winner.

Instead, the focus is on his love story with Janaki, who hails from an economically superior background. In that sense, Venkidi is more of a traditional hero. He is a math whiz, mad about planes, cocky when he wants to be and is madly in love with his childhood sweetheart (Durga Krishna).

When Venkidi is scorned by the villagers, Janaki, Pappan, the church priest and his uncle stand by him. His mother is a worried widow who is too concerned about his future to understand her son’s genius.

Many clichéd characters are introduced to add drama to the proceedings. Janaki’s over enthusiastic fiancé (Shyju Kurup) does nothing to enhance the narrative, and her father with his ideals rooted in the patriarchy, the silent mother and Pappan’s blind daughter add nothing to the story. Entire situations have been created to showcase Venkidi’s bravado.

The portions featuring his various attempts at flying a plane are engaging. However, I only wish there were more such scenes in the movie. The love story, despite its intensity, isn’t anything new – two love ditties, some mush, tailored conflicts and a weepy, dramatic farewell.

Prithviraj’s screen presence is undeniable; he is an actor who cannot be ignored when he is on screen. He tones down his histrionics when playing his younger self, sharing a pleasant chemistry with Durga Krishna. But the older Venkidi appears a bit forced. Durga Krishna is an interesting find and emotes with her eyes.

Vimaanam’s greatest undoing is its running time – it could have easily been 30 minutes shorter. And there are some serious errors that have been overlooked – like when the older Venkidi admits to treason, which remains unexplored. Vimaanam ends up being a decadent love story (with faint traces of Ennu Ninte Moideen) – a tale of warring families, bad fates and fabled romance. 

The man with his passion for planes disembarks very early in the film without much fanfare.

 

 

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