03 September 2015


These days we see a lot of young blood being infused in malayalam cinema and it is trying to tweak the formula or to make a new grammar or narrative style that the audience will find novel or refreshing. The youngster Basil Joseph tries to do the same in his d├ębut feature film Kunjiramayanam . He has cast the two progenies of actor Sreenivasan namely Vineeth and his brother Dhyan Sreenivasan. It tells the story of fictitious village called Desam. The citizens of this village are dumb and do not take much time to believe in any kind of superstition.

Kunjiraman [Vineeth Sreenivasan] and Lalu [Dhyan Sreenivasan ] are first cousins. Lalu is the son of Well Done Vasu [Mammukoya] who has made his fortune by working in the Gulf. Kunjiraman is his sister’s son, whose marriage is fixed with Vasu’s daughter Thankamani. But a small issue between the boys takes the proportion of a family feud and the marriage is called off. Kunjiraman takes off to Dubai after that. Lalu, who is the apple of Vasu’s eyes is a dimwitted fellow who is finding it difficult to even pass the tenth standard exam even after appearing for it many times.

We see that Kunjiraman’s marriage is fixed with the character played by Srinda. And at the time of engagement the bride to be takes a promise from kunjiraman that he won’t touch alcohol from now on. So, before returning to the call of duty he symbolically breaks a bottle of the brand of alcohol he had started drinking with. But after he has left for the Gulf it comes to light that his favourite drink has become jinxed nobody can bring it into the village. Thus this superstition spreads like wild fire and anyone daring to get it into the village has to face dire consequences.

The unfolding of these events takes a lot of time served with dollops of humour with actors like Aju Varghese, Neeraj Madhav and Deepak Parambol with Dhyan being at the forefront with the sub plots like Lalu’s numerous attempts to succeed in the tenth standard exams and he being under the wings of cut piece Kuttan (Aju Varghese) for learning to stitch garments and essential things in life. And, etching out the characters of cut piece Kuttan and Vasu does take some time.

There are a few inside jokes and subtexts if we give it a thought like the mention of Oru Thundu Padam in Biju Menon’s narration in the beginning, which is the title of a short film that director Basil Joseph had made a few years back. Now, coming to the subtexts, the siblings Vineeth and Dhyan seems to be making a statement for their father Sreenivasan in Malayalam cinema, who was always cast as a sidekick of a good looking hero and became the butt of the joke. Here Vineeth who resembles his father is made smarter, confident and more successful while the good looking Dhyan with his gym toned biceps is made a dimwitted person.

These are the things that keep us interested in proceedings which tend to get repetitive once in a while in an effort to justice to a pantheon of characters. And, we can confidently say that this is the thing that makes Kunjiramayanam a time pass film.

As it appeared in Rediff.

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