Rakshadikari Baiju Oppu: Biju Menon shines in this simple tale
Cast : Biju Menon, Hannah Reji, Aju Varghese, Deepak Parambol
Director : Ranjan Pramod
Much of the drama in Rakshadikari Baiju Opp happens around a playground, at a quaint little hamlet of Kumbalam. Unscathed by the fast-paced life around them, children and adults spend their evenings at the ground, sometimes playing cricket or football, otherwise talking at length about little nothings. There is a pond for them to wallow in, a local club to groom the budding talents and a ‘big brother’ who they love and adore.
Ranjan Pramod’s film is a celebration of such fast-eroding nostalgic moments. It exhorts one to enjoy the unadulterated happiness of leading a simple life and staying connected to it.
Baiju (played to perfection by Biju Menon) is the patron of a local club in Kumbalam. A government employee, his life revolves around a bunch of friends and the Kumbalam Brothers Club. The simpleton Baiju is, he doesn’t think twice before nurturing every kid around him (he opts to buy a cricket kit for the club’s budding cricket player, even if that meant there is no money left to buy his daughter a gold earring). Life goes smoothly, until, one day, their playground is snatched away from them, all in the name of development.
Obviously, Rakshadikari Baiju Opp doesn’t make huge claims. There is nothing oversized here, not even the stature of the protagonist, who still flushes at the memory of his first love, takes his cricket club captaincy seriously and is in the forefront to honour local talents.
Ranjan is clear as to what he has to serve. The so-called allure of village life is pushed into our minds. The village is serene. The characters (there are quite a few) are particularly never in a hurry, they take time for love, heartbreaks and celebrations.
The evenings are for socialising and little victories are meant to be shouted off the rooftops. But, amidst these celebrations, nothing much really happens by the way of the story. If you were waiting for a villain or a plot twist, there are none. Life in Rakshadikari Baiju Opp is too simple that sometimes it gets tedious watching it.
Having said that, this little movie does have its moments. There are quite a few humorous instances,
melodious songs and some good acting. While Biju Menon pretty much owns the screen, Deepak Parambol and Aju Varghese chip in with fun moments. On the whole, Ranjan’s movie has a heart, only that it is a tad too simple.