Actors including Vinay Forrt and Siju Wilson try their best but there’s nothing much they can do when the writing leaves a lot to be desired.

Flix Review Friday, November 22, 2019 - 19:31
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A village setting, some tunes of rural flavour, some paddy fields, a toddy shop and villagers who know each other so well. Sounds every bit a Sathyan Anthikad movie of the 1990s but it is not. Perhaps inspired by the veteran director, newcomer Manoj Nair has decided to use those same settings and even the same year, nearly three decades later, for his debut Vaarthakal Ithuvare. The making itself, however, has absolutely no semblance to the old, adored village-based movies. Manoj’s film is a poor version of it, with a very weak script.

You see all the various characters at once – Indrans the Communist editor of a newspaper called Arival, Nandhu serving in a toddy shop and having an ongoing feud with the character played by Sunil Sugadha, who for some reason, never wears a shirt. Mammukoya is the reformed local thug Kumaran who has an affair with Sarala, a sex-worker. There is the village priest (Sudheer Karamana), the rich man George (Vijayaraghavan) and his family, and a bunch of policemen. Nedumudi Venu is the SI with a month left for his retirement, and his team includes Mathews (Vinay Forrt), Vinayan (Siju Wilson), Pillai (Alencier) and Hanifa (Saiju Kurup).

The scenes, the characters, the settings are all well-intentioned, no doubt, but fall short on all accounts to make sense of what’s happening. The actors try their best, but there’s nothing much they can do when the writing leaves a lot to be desired.

A theft happens in the village, the culprit leaving a note on the wall: Viplavam Vijayikkatte (Viva Revolution). The policemen led by Ittan (Nedumudi) are on the case, and end up in many supposed-to-be comic situations. Words like Naxalite are thrown in a lot, but you have no idea why.

Mathews and Vinayan are competing with each other to solve the case. And predictably, a woman too is in this picture – rich George’s daughter Alice, Vinayan’s old girlfriend.

Vinayan runs into Alice after years like heroes and heroines of the '80s once did. Back then, it was a ting-ting-ting background music and a sudden flashback. Here, it is a song. Abhirami Bhargavan, making her debut, is in cotton saris, walking with either of the policemen, with a mostly amused look on her face.

The movie shifts between investigating the thefts and being sympathetic to Siju Wilson’s character. And in the gap between the two, there is always a song. Mejjo Joseph’s music is in tune with the village settings but the songs pop out of nowhere. And just like the songs, every now and then, you get new characters in the movie who don't serve any purpose. Towards the last half, for no reason, you are introduced to Vinayan’s family – four more purposeless people on the screen.

There is of course the ‘twist’ in the climax, the suspense kept for the last possible moment: all rules of detective stories followed. It would have worked too, if the writing could have been redone. Entirely.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film's producers or any other members of its cast and crew.