The film featuring Antony Varghese begins on a comfortable note, but slips into uncertain terrain while trying to fit a rooster into the thick of it.

Four people are outside a house, three of the them sitting down, one girl standing close by, against a wall with a window. A woman has a chick on her hand
Flix Review Friday, January 20, 2023 - 17:28

The two line description of Poovan, as a film about a man fighting sleeplessness and whose life gets affected by the arrival of a little chick, appeared cute. The trailer, showing Antony Varghese jerk back every time he sees the chick and later the cock it grows into, made it seem like a fun film on the lines of Thanneer Mathan Dinangal. Poovan comes from the same team – with Vineeth Vasudevan who acted in Thanneer turning the director and Girish who directed it donning the role of a producer along with Shebin Backer. The film, which begins on a comfortable note – ordinary moments in neighbourhood homes – however slips into an uncertain terrain, trying to fit a rooster into the thick of it, and loses direction.

Poovan begins on a Christmas Eve, when all the people of our middle-class neighbourhood – somewhere in the Ernakulam-Thrissur side judging by the slang – go to the church. You don’t even notice how their names sound like they belong to different religions, as friends behave like family. Neighbours Veena and Sini (Akhila and Anishma making wonderful debuts) are like sisters, one waking up in the other’s arms on Christmas morning. Benny (Sajin Cherukayil), a sort of big brother among the youngsters, can go to Hari’s home any time and his word is like gospel. They are all in adjacent houses, youngsters getting in and out of relationships.

Antony plays Hari, who sees a psychiatrist for his insomnia. A matchstick falling will wake him up, says his friend Manu (Vineeth Viswam). They have a gang of friends, who find it annoying that these two are keeping “secrets” from the rest of them. Quite a lot of the script is built around petty things like these, which makes for an adorable storyline. Like Sini’s mother Mariamma’s obsession with the chick, or Veena’s mother’s sadness over losing a sewing machine. In one scene, Vineeth Vasudevan – who also plays a role in the film – remarks that everyone here is attached to small things. Unfortunately, the idea fails to click.

Watch: Trailer of the film

When the movie begins, Diji Paul, a woman whom Hari had a crush on for long, finally says yes to a relationship with him. In the days that follow, the chick enters the neighbourhood and a string of what he sees as misfortunes falls upon Hari. His sister Veena announces she is in a relationship with a guy he does not like. When he opposes, she runs away. His new relationship with Diji is on shaky ground because of poor communication. His friendship with Benny is affected. But to Hari’s disturbed mind the root cause of it all is the rooster, placed right outside his bedroom, which crows at all hours of the day and night, making his sleeplessness worse.

When all of these parallel events unravel, you might feel you have accidentally hopped onto a merry-go-round, whizzing past many things but making sense of little. It stops just before your head begins to spin. The script at its core has originality, and the comfort of the familiar home settings we spoke of. There is some humour, and some adorable performances. But perhaps in bringing the rooster to play a marked role in Hari’s life, all of that is shaken, and you are left heaving long sighs wondering where this is going. The humour has stopped working, and even the songs – two good ones by Midhun Mukundan – have also long got over. There is now just Hari, the rooster, and you left behind to take the fallen pieces to its end.

It is not a bad debut, there is promise in Vineeth Vasudevan’s storytelling; it just needs some shaping up that, no doubt, experience will bring.

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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