Drama review: A light-hearted drama that works in parts
Ranjith's latest collaboration with Mohanlal doesn't make the necessary impact
We have seen this template before: An outsider intrudes into a family and creates a significant impact on their lives. And Mohanlal has played the part of this outsider in much better films before -- Manichithrathazhu, Chithram, Kaakakuyil, Chandralekha, and Aaram Thampuran. But Ranjith's latest collaboration with the actor doesn't make the necessary impact.
The 'outsider' this time is Raju (Mohanlal), the co-director of a flourishing funeral services firm called Dixon Funeral Services. The Dixon in the name belongs to Dileesh Pothan, a partner of Raju's. These guys drive swanky cars and wear expensive suits -- not exactly the picture you have in mind of guys who deal with dead bodies, is it?
Cast: Mohanlal, Asha Sharath, Dileesh Pothan, Baiju
The film opens with a funeral procession in a UK suburb, witnessed by Rosamma John Chacko (Arundathi Nag), the matriarch of a prominent Christian family. This scene is a harbinger of Rosamma's fate, which sets up a series of situations — comical and serious — that make up the rest of the film. There are several complications: 1) Rosamma wanted to be buried beside her husband's grave back in Kerala, and 2) Her children, with the exception of her youngest son, Jomon (Niranjan), want to bury her in a UK cemetery. It's the tried and tested story of declining family values.
Raju and Dixon don't give two hoots about all this drama because just like Rosamma's sons, they are not concerned about anything other than monetary gains, initially, at least. But a particular pre-interval episode, which brings to mind Ranjith's Pranchiyettan the Saint and Nandanam, changes Raju's mind. He decides to fulfil Rosamma's last wish and help Jomon get his mom's body to Kerala. So he comes up with some clever plans to make that happen. This makes it almost similar to a heist film. Calls are made, lies are told — you get the picture.
Meanwhile, Raju is also trying to sort out a different kind of drama, with his wife Rekha (Asha Sharath), who kicks him out after suspecting him of infidelity. He is desperate to get back to her and begs her to forgive him. I wish this plot strand was explored more because it is set up in such a way that you expect additional conflict for our hero to handle, but then it is resolved too quickly, and you ask yourself, "What? That's it?" Asha, who had a strong and prominent role in the recent Bhayanakam, has not much to do here.
Ranjith gives a perfect explanation as to why a complete stranger like Raju takes on the challenge of helping Jomon. The reason is convincing enough, but I wish we got to spend more time with Raju and Jomon. Because their friendship is relegated to the background, you don't quite feel the warmth. Though most of the humour is forced, the scenes with Mohanlal, Baiju and Dileesh Pothan in the same frame are quite effective.
There is an attempt to bring back that playful and charming Mohanlal from the good ol' days when the actor played characters who are trying hard to get out of sticky situations, mostly in the Priyadarshan and Sathyan Anthikkad classics. But whatever is on display here looks like a rehash of old ideas. The magic is missing.