Oru Kuttanadan Blog Review: A tiresome exercise in superstar glorification
Though it does something fresh with its finale, this is another Malayalam film that continues the unhealthy trend of glorifying its lead star
Watching Oru Kuttanadan Blog is like going to a colourful party hosted by a family who forces you to sit through a show of their only child's variegated talents. The kid here is Mammootty, celebrated by his friends and well-wishers as a rare genius who is blessed with the ability to fix all problems and charm all the women in the neighbourhood. Like Mammootty's recent films, Oru Kuttanadan Blog is a tiresome and torturous exercise in superstar glorification.
I don't know how and why such films get made. I would like to know the whole process behind green-lighting a project like this. I guess there is no point in asking anymore why Mammootty, an actor whom I greatly respect, continues to sign films like these.
A married couple living abroad is going through a blog which they are fascinated by. This blog is written from Kuttanad by a friend of Mammootty's character Hari. I've lost count of the number of times they've used his name in this. There is always someone saying something about their beloved 'Hari ettan'. Considering the fact that the film's characters mention Hari ettan a lot, I'll try to fill this review with as many Hari ettans as I can.
If Hari ettan is Lord Krishna, the youngsters circling him are the gopikas. Hari ettan is their saviour, their last resort. Love problems? Call Hari ettan. No money to buy a house? Call Hari ettan. Free Wi-Fi? Call Hari ettan. He is so kind that he wouldn't mind if you break into his house one day and steal all his belongings. He might even say, "Here, take all my gold". Unfortunately, Hari ettan wasn't able to save us from a film about him.
Hari ettan's boundless benevolence is treated with suspicion by the panchayat president (Lalu Alex) and his cronies. Everyone except Hari ettan's gang and his father seems to have a problem with him. They're looking for a golden opportunity to break him. But he treats every challenge that comes his way as if they're nothing. And come intermission time, he'll get his first taste of humiliation — that is, if he is going to allow himself to be humiliated. This is Hari ettan, after all. He is a "valiya sambhavam" (big deal).
The problem is, Hari ettan is not an interesting character to begin with. He is an NRI businessman who returns from the Gulf to visit his hometown, Kuttanad. The youngsters, the 'new-gen' friends he is always hanging out with, give him a grand welcome. Once he arrives, he asks them, "Isn't this all a bit too much?" I was asking the same question. This Hari ettan glorification is also pointed out by another character. However, in spite of showing few signs of self-awareness occasionally, the film continues to bombard the viewer with uninvolving tales of Hari ettan's goodness. It's very, very exhausting.
The three female characters — played by Anu Sithara, Shamna Kasim, and Raai Laxmi — have not much to do other than emit love waves from their eyes whenever they see Hari ettan. Anu plays Hema, a young girl who looks sensible on the outside but is stupid on the inside. She gets impregnated by some random guy on Facebook whose real name she doesn't even know. To avoid humiliation, she blames Hari ettan instead. You also get a lame joke in this scene. One character says, "Don't mention her name. Saying 'ira' (victim) is the new trend". This character is played by an actor who has made a habit of showing up in every Mammootty film that comes out these days.
Will Hari ettan end up with any of these women? Though it does something fresh with its finale, this is another Malayalam film that, in addition to continuing the unhealthy trend of glorifying its lead star, also includes the overused 'jilted lover' trope in its plot. It all leaves a bad taste in the mouth.