Like a coin tossed in the air, Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil can fall either way

Like a coin tossed in the air, Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil can fall either way

In the film starring Prithviraj and Basil, the women leads played by Nikhila Vimal and Anaswara Rajan have crucial characters to play, but little to partake in.
Guruvayoor Amabalanadayil (Malayalam)(2.5 / 5)

It would look like Vipin Das, who made the much-adored Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey, likes having a marriage somewhere in the centre of his plots, and then put a grand wedding picture on the posters of his films. Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil has, like Jaya Hey, a wedding in the thick of things, but more than life after marriage, the film is about the hullabaloo around the wedding that may or may not happen. Unfortunately, the film too carries the risk of its plot – it may or may not work, packed as it is with a generous dose of comedy that, like a coin tossed in the air, can fall either way. 

The wedding, that forms the premise of this film, is arranged between a Dubai-based professional and a young woman whose particulars, barring her name, are never known. Basil Joseph sparkles as the groom (once again after Jaya Hey), while Anaswara Rajan as the bride looks too young to vote, let alone marry. But more than the bride and groom, the film circles around the relationship between the groom and the brother of the bride – played by a bearded and pleasant-looking Prithviraj Sukumaran. To make it a foursome, there is the character of Nikhila Vimal too.

The film, written by Deepu Pradeep, is made entirely as an entertainer, and is not one in which you look for logic. The comedy is also not lazily written, there is thought that went into creating the unique situation that Vinu (Basil) and Anand-ettan (Prithviraj) runs into. Only, if the comic timing does not work, the whole thing falls flat. And things do fall flat several times through the script. This is disheartening for there is a lot of effort spent – bringing in stars like Yogi Babu, and playing old film songs in context (‘Kannamthumbi’, ‘Azhagiya Laila’, and the theme song from Nandanam among them). Only, most of these fail to have an impact and the climax, like in a Priyadarshan movie, becomes a chaotic mishmash. 

Then there are the women characters, whose roles are crucial for the shaping of the story, but have little to do on the screen. They mostly become witnesses to the confusions around them, but do not really partake. The least you expect is a conversation between the characters of Anaswara and Nikhila, playing sisters-in-law who have a lot to explain to each other. Perhaps it got cut in the editing table, for the script is fast-paced in a way that makes you miss several of the jokes. Even Rekha, who plays Basil’s mother, is hardly noticeable. Malayalam movie buffs might make unintended connections though, like how Rekha and Jagadish (playing the father) are paired up and standing outside the Guruvayoor Temple, much like they did in their 1992 film Grihapravesham. The Nandanam reference also makes you smile. 

One failing of the script is the disproportionate screen time allotted to certain characters. While some characters such as Aju Varghese’s cameo appearance do not get enough time to create an impact, others like a former stalker gets too much attention. Veterans like Baiju and Jagadish also seem mostly wasted. Perhaps in an effort to limit the length, the cuts were made at the wrong places.

Among the humour that work are scenes involving Siju Sunny and Saafboi, who play Basil’s sidekicks. Basil of course is a natural and can bring laughs just by his unique squeals of joy and misery. 

Even with all its shortcomings, the film may still manage to entertain, given how situational comedy can appeal to different audiences in different ways. 

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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