Jai Ganesh Movie Review: Superhero origin story sans heft

Jai Ganesh Movie Review: Superhero origin story sans heft

Jai Ganesh shouldn't be entirely overlooked, yet its current execution fails to capitalise on the potential of its intriguing protagonist
Jai Ganesh(2.5 / 5)

Ranjith Sankar's penchant to spotlight sociopolitical issues concerning Kerala gets a new addition with his latest outing, Jai Ganesh. This time around, the filmmaker has got a differently-abled protagonist at the centre. The film, which unmistakably has shades of Ranjith's previous films like Passenger (2009) and Arjunan Sakshi (2011), tries to be many things at once. A superhero origin story rooted in reality without anything supernatural to it, an inspirational tale of an underdog, a revenge drama, a gripping survival thriller and a social commentary.

Director: Ranjith Sankar

Cast: Unni Mukundan, Mahima Nambiar, Ravindra Vijay, Jomol, Ashokan

While it is passable enough with its judicious running time of just above two hours thanks to Sangeeth Pratap's neat editing, one wishes if the writing was not this unimaginative and unfocused. The filmmaker seems to be stuck in the sensibilities from the times of his notable debut film, Passenger. The novelty of the premise involving a differently-abled lead deserved better plot devices, particularly in terms of depicting police officers and their interactions.

Much like how Arjunan Sakshi discussed the obstacles of making the Kochi Metro Rail project a reality back then, this film also seems to be born out of a pressing matter related to Kochi—the infamous Brahmapuram fiasco, which reached a crescendo last year when a fire broke out at the waste dumping site. While other parts of Kochi city are not much affected by the solid waste plant, it is not the same for the residents living in proximity. Jai Ganesh does try to tackle this issue head-on with a subplot involving a father and daughter, where it partly evolves into a high-stakes police procedural. The problem of the film's generic script is that it fails to be emotionally resonant while handling such a sensitive subject.

One of the few things Ranjith gets right principally is sketching his protagonist, Ganesh. He is a grumpy-yet-righteous techie, who as a result of an unfortunate bike accident, gets paralysed below his waist and is now bound to a wheelchair. He works as a graphic designer for a shady online media portal by the day and an independent digital artist by the night. He creates a desi superhero comic, Jai Ganesh, rooted in Indian myth and based on his own struggles as a differently-abled man—reminiscent of the Tamil film, Maaveeran (2023). Additionally, Ganesh is also an ethical hacker, more on the lines of a morally upright vigilante. While he tries to stay positive about his physical condition, he still cannot escape the feeling of being lonely in his life, despite having friends. Ganesh's helplessness and ire are written sensitively with Chandru Selvaraj's cinematography effectively depicting his everyday routine. Also, Unni Mukudan does a fine job conveying the inner turmoils while also getting the physicality of his character accurate to a great extent. Sound modulation, especially when being loud, is an area the actor needs to work on.

Coming to the supporting actors, hardly anyone has an established arc as most of them are used as mere plot devices. Mahima Nambiar's presence as the female lead was largely redundant, although Ranjith's writing thankfully does not venture into making her character romantically involved with the protagonist. While Sankar Sharma's soundtrack is mostly unremarkable, his background score did help in amping up the tension at certain instances that lacked heft in its staging.

Jai Ganesh is a film that shouldn't be entirely overlooked, yet its current execution fails to capitalise on the potential of its subject matter and intriguing protagonist, leaving viewers with a sense that it could have been more impactful.

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