Mere Pyare Deshvasiyon Review: A frustrating film with too many loose ends
The whole film has the quality of an old TV serial, and though it starts off with an interesting premise, it goes in several directions and stops being coherent midway
There are some films that you wish nobody caught you watching. An hour into Mere Pyaare Deshvasiyon, I kept wishing for Harry Potter's invisibility cloak or, better yet, a Marvel-style life-model decoy that would watch the film for me and later tell me how it was.
Cast: Ashkar Soudan, Nirmal Palazhy, Neena Kurup
Director: Sandeep Ajith Kumar
The setting of the film is a remote village where literacy is a big issue. There is not a proper school to speak of, and all the residents seem to have trouble getting past the 7th grade, and this includes the selfish Panchayat president played by Nirmal Palazhi and a host of middle-aged men and women that make up the film's principal cast. Out of all the performers in the film, it's Nirmal Palazhi who seems to have some fun while the rest of them seem to have phoned in their performances. The Panchayat president tells people he can't do anything about the school, as it is run by a haijyar (the late KTC Abdullah) who is currently living with his third or fourth wife, who is old enough to be his daughter.
When someone brings to their notice a scheme that would enable them to write the equivalent of a 10th-grade exam for anyone who has failed their 7th grade, they decide to bring a male tutor (Ashkar Soudan). And, to make things more interesting, this illiterate bunch is able to write pamphlets for people who can't read. Makes you think. But as a voiceover later informs us, every story has a villain and this film has one too - Laasar. He is someone who seems to have watched Mammootty's Vidheyan way too many times. Often seen with his rifle, Laasar probably sees Bhaskara Patelar whenever he looks in the mirror. Laasar can't stand the thought of people clearing their exams because, well, he hasn't cleared the exams himself. The dog won't eat the grass and it won't allow the cow to eat it either. He is a laughable cardboard villain, and in failing to generate the necessary menace, cannot be taken seriously. He is like Nedumudi Venu's character from Oru Maravathoor Kanavu (which could probably be Laasar's favourite movie) in planting false stories to drive people apart.
Thrust into the middle of all this is a love affair between Neena Kurup's character and a middle-aged man who is in the same classroom. Whenever the man sits down to ruminate about his childhood romance, we are shown exactly that, through two pointless songs -- one in sepia and the other in black-and-white. But then comes an unexpected development that makes you even more confused, and it reaches a point where you simply stop caring.
If all this weren't enough, you're treated to a laughter-inducing climactic fight involving Laasar and three middle-aged men. In a surprising move, one of the three takes out a banana and splits it three ways. I'm assuming the banana gave them special powers because they're suddenly posing Avengers-style. I have to admit though that I got a big kick out of this scene. Talk about ending with a bang.
The whole film has the quality of an old TV serial, and though it starts off with an interesting premise, it goes in several directions and stops being coherent midway. Instead of being committed to a particular thread and seeing it all the way through, it tries to tell so many things at once and later wraps up everything in a hurry. The characters may have passed the exams. The film, unfortunately, doesn't.