Cast of Falimy
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Falimy review: This Basil Joseph starrer is a funny, organic entertainer

Performances of the newer actors are as raw as the experienced Jagadish and the easily-funny Basil.
Falimy (Malayalam)(4 / 5)

In an extremely short exchange between an old man and his grandson – one trying to escape the exasperated-looking other at a railway station – you get a taste of what awaits you in Falimy, a film cutely spelled wrong after the old man’s habit of mispronouncing English words. You are drawn into the passenger side of the rickshaw that grandpa and grandson take home, meeting the other members of the family along the way. There they all are – actors Basil Joseph, Jagadish, Manju Pillai, and the two less familiar faces of Sandeep Pradeep and Meenaraj Palluruthy – embracing you into their world in this adorable film that is as organic as it is funny.

Nithish Sahadev makes a helluva debut, directing the film he has co-written with Sanjo Joseph. He has picked some of the most reliable actors in Malayalam and then a bunch more to fit into a lower-middle-class setting in Thiruvananthapuram. Nithish chooses to begin the story on a day when old Janardhanan, 82 years old with a skill for creating wired objects, decides to travel to Varanasi all on his own because his family just won’t take him. This is not the first time he does this, and it is the younger grandson, a typical modern-day hipster, who catches grandpa in the act. 

Apt that the film begins with a journey, given that’s where it leads – a trip to Varanasi that the family takes and the many misadventures along the way. In a tightened script, there is no fanfare in introducing them all – the dubbing artist brother Anoop (Basil), the mother working at a printing press (Manju, deglammed again after Home), and the homebound dad who sits all day with the TV remote (Jagadish). The situation is made clear with admirably minimal scripting. No padded lines to give the background, only an evening’s exchange at home between parents and sons, brother and brother. 

Watch: Trailer of the film

The family has been trying to fix an arranged marriage for the elder son, with 15 failed attempts so far. An aunt, in the practice of giving unsolicited advice, comes to recommend an alliance that had previously not worked out. ‘But they changed their mind’, ‘but she’s now a teacher’, she keeps adding to the pros, as a miffed Anoop says no.

Each of these characters and their lines are so accurately written, that it is almost like you are listening at the doors of another’s home. Humour comes with the authenticity of these characterisations, relatable to anyone who has lived in Kerala for a very long time and has aunts and uncles with an excessive interest in their private lives. Performances of the newer actors are as raw as the experienced Jagadish, who is once again amazing as an older man, rough in his ways and smiling little. It is a world away from the typecast comic roles of his past.

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Basil too is all too perfect for his part of a dejected young man, a commoner with many worries, that it is difficult to imagine another in his place. The Thiruvananthapuram dialect flows easily out of the Kochi-based actor, slightly reminding you of his Kollamkaran role in Jaya Hey. Manju Pillai, with her knack for comedy, fits easily into the shoes of a woman used to the ways of life and appears little shocked by eventualities. You do wish that she had a surprising twist to give the story or at least one scene where she acts differently from the stereotypical all-accepting mothers of Malayalam cinema. But there is a small sequence, a nod to the DDLJ train scene, that is entirely devoted to Manju and Jagadish, and warrants a few laughs. 

Quite a bit of the comedy in Falimy is aided by the timely interference of Vishnu Vijay’s music. It accompanies the story like an old friend, removing itself from the picture when the family has to cope on its own. There is also an element of pathos merging into all the lightness of the script.

The two surprises are Sandeep, playing the younger son, and Meenaraj, the grandpa. Sandeep’s timing and Meenaraj’s expressions are perfectly tuned to the easygoing tone of the script. Meenaraj’s character, while mostly adorable, can be trying at times, and make you question your own reactions to the situations he’d drag you to. But you’d swallow these questions, for the film is too much of an entertainer to nitpick. 

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 producers or any other members of its cast and crew.

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