Matchbox: An ode to friendship and love
Despite a plot that's as old as the hills, this story of friendship and teenage love largely works thanks to its innate charm and realistic characterisation
Matchbox is a movie that doesn't have too many ambitions or complications. The narrative is pretty straight, the plot simple and the characters ordinary. Devoid of twists and turns, everything in it is predictable. That said, these are the same reasons that make Matchbox, directed by Sivaram Moni, a watchable flick.
True, it celebrates friendship and teenage love with a plot as old as the hills, but thanks to its innate charm and realistic characterisation, Matchbox isn't a bad attempt.
Cast: Roshan Mathew, Visakh Nair, Mathew Joy Mathew, Drishya
Director: Sivaram Mony
Ambu (Roshan Mathew) is a B.Com student, whose life revolves around his friends, played by Visakh Nair, Joe John Chacko and Mathew Joy Mathew. His otherwise eventless life gets a focus when he meets Nidhi (Drishya) and falls for her. But, his love life gets a jolt when he comes to know that Nidhi will soon get hitched.
Sounds familiar? That is Matchbox for you. But, what salvages it from sinking is the sincerity of the characters. Be it Ambu or Pandi, they are very much the boys-next-door. They ride on a private bus, drink chai from a local tea shop, and much like anybody else, fight with their mothers over a missing T-shirt. When the lead characters aren't chilling out together, they are helping the protagonist in chasing his love interest. Nothing else matters much in their little world.
If these characters make us feel for them, Kozhikode, as a backdrop, makes us root for the movie. Sivaram uses every available opportunity to tell us about the taste, warmth and vibe of the city known for its culinary richness.
Roshan, Vaisakh, Joe and Mathew play their parts well, making the characters relatable. However, talking about Matchbox wouldn't be complete without a mention of the 'little truths' Sivaram has woven into the narrative. Though many of them end in a mere mention, Matchbox offers an insight into how caste, religion and money are still the deal makers and breakers, when it comes to marriage.
While Nidhi's father, played by Ashokan, boasts about how he successfully helped his friend elope with his lady love, he turns a boorish dad when it comes to his own daughter's wedding. It is these moments that give the shallow screenplay some depth.
While most of its crew are relatively inexperienced, Matchbox has a certain sharpness in its making, especially the technical side. Sivaram has definitely got what it takes to be a good director. And, for that reason, Matchbox is a good one-time watch.