Poster of Grrr
Poster of Grrr

Grrr Movie Review: Screeches where it should have roared

The screenplay often falters when the narrative shifts away from the zoo to explore a rocky marriage and a love story that is unclear about what it wants to address
Grrr(2 / 5)

Jay K's debut feature, Ezra, was welcomed as a horror thriller for its atmospheric tension and its novel backdrop exploring Jewish culture in Kerala, despite its glaring shortcomings. In contrast, his latest outing, Grrr, squanders the potential of its unique premise with simplistic writing and ends up screeching where it should have roared. For a film revolving around the wafer-thin plot of a drunkard who jumps into a lion's enclosure in a zoo, inspired by various real incidents, it surely lacks the meat to deliver consistent laughs.

Directed by: Jay K

Cast: Kunchacko Boban, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Shruti Ramachandran, Manju Pillai, Anagaha, Rajesh Madhavan

The film begins with a news anchor breaking an exclusive story about a missing man, Rejimon Nadar (Kuchacko Boban), presumed to be a victim of honour killing by an infamous politician. Soon after, we are taken back a few days with a montage exploring the Trivandrum Zoo, followed by a monotonous first act that establishes the lead characters who will later become potential prey to the lion named Darshan.

The passages featuring the lion, often with jarring VFX, are the only moments when the film comes alive, providing a considerably fun experience aided by Jayesh Nair's impressive work behind the camera. Suraj Venjaramoodu's quintessential comic timing in delivering his tongue-in-cheek lines as the zoo's security officer, along with the commotion surrounding the bureaucratic nightmare due to the predicament and the satirical depiction of media sensationalism, hits the right notes.

The director recently said in an interview that his only intention with Grrr is to entertain people, but it happens only intermittently. The screenplay, co-written by Jay K and Praveen S, falters most of the time when the narrative shifts away from the zoo to explore a rocky marriage and a love story that is unclear about what it wants to address. These flaws could have been overlooked if the makers had sensed the limited potential of addressing such sensitive topics in a film billed to provide mindless entertainment. Even with a modest two-hour runtime, it feels at least half an hour too long. It even sporadically turns its camera toward other drunkards who are following the events at the zoo amusingly with hardly any purpose.

Kunchacko Boban's portrayal of an unstable man-child, who turns to alcohol at the slightest hint of a setback, is quite effective. Rajesh Madhavan's presence is hilarious, especially during the scenes where his character gets hounded by the media. Ramesh Pisharody, playing a TV journalist forced into competitiveness by his toxic boss (portrayed by Ratheesh Balakrishnan Poduval), also leaves you in splits. Manju Pillai, as the top-ranking officer of the zoo, is a riot in her typical style of dialogue delivery. Shruti Ramachandran convincingly plays a woman trapped in an unhappy marriage, despite the mediocre writing surrounding her character. Anagha's performance as Kunchacko Boban's love interest turns out to be underwhelming, even though her character's plight is central to the plot. Shoby Thilakan, apart from one witty callback to his father's iconic line from a classic, is largely unremarkable in a one-dimensional role.

Just like a part of Darshan's meat is regularly stolen by the guards, denying the lion what it needs fairly, the film as a whole leaves a lot to be desired. While it soars in parts as a man vs beast tale, the lion's share of Grrr overstays its welcome.

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