Isakkinte Ithihasam Movie Review: An unimpactful feel-good film
Despite having committed performances from the actors, the forced messages and feel-good moments are jarring
After watching Padmarajan’s Namukku Paarkaan Munthirithoppukal, a girl goes to church and makes a poetic confession to a priest, Isak (Siddique). She is fantasising about eloping to the vineyards with her lover, and Isak asks her where she is going to find vineyards when she is living in a place full of rubber plantations. I have to admit I laughed during this scene. I also laughed at a sub-plot involving a man who can’t sleep with his wife because his mother-in-law hasn’t yet received the promised dowry amount. I wished for more such eccentric moments in the rest of the film, but alas!
Isakkinte Ithihasam has a fairly interesting premise. A priest, in the hope of rebuilding his church, turns to his friendly neighbourhood millionaire and church committee president George (Ashokan) to realise his wish. Being benevolent in matters of faith but not his daughter — the aforementioned vineyard girl —George readily agrees. Meanwhile, Isak’s temporary accommodation is arranged at Margi’s (Ambika Mohan) home. She happens to be the mother of the vineyard girl’s lover. Things take a serious turn when the money that George lent Isak goes missing. The rest of the film is invested in retrieving that money and finding out who took it.
Cast: Siddique, Ashokan, Kalabhavan Shajohn
Director: RK Ajayakumar
The film succeeds in getting us quite interested in this mystery, but not everything that happens in between. What manages to hold our attention are the performances of accomplished actors such as Siddique, Ashokan, Jaffer Idukki, and Kalabhavan Shajohn. Despite being part of a simple film that more or less resembles a television soap, I liked how these actors are totally committed to their work and enjoying their parts.
Ashokan is effective in a comical role reminiscent of the kind that Kader Khan used to do in 90s Bollywood movies. Shajohn plays a cop investigating the case. He seems to be having fun too, although occasionally he behaves like a stereotypical Malayalam movie police officer who utters lines like, “You won’t spill anything, eh? Let me see if I can make you,” and continues hitting a suspect. Jaffer, who plays the local barber, is good as usual.
The film would have been solid as it is had it just stayed with the ‘missing money’ thread and not simultaneously tried do something else as well. Much later into the second half, you begin to realise that the film is trying to be just another preachy, feel-good film. This sudden shift is a bit jarring and the way everything automatically falls into place in the end, without a reasonable explanation, is quite awkward.
While Siddique is busy looking for the money, he goes through a self-realisation process after being in a couple of places that people normally wouldn’t go to for fear of shedding tears. I guess the film is trying to make the point that one should try indulging in more direct philanthropy than indirect. But when these messages and feel-good moments look so forced, it’s hard to feel anything.