Sathyan Anthikkad is that elderly uncle in your neighbourhood – A witty, garrulous, and affectionate man whom everyone on the street is familiar with. Over the years, nothing much has changed about him. The people around now know how every conversation with him will go. They know his stories are rehashed versions of tales that he has told many times before. Nevertheless, he would beckon the kids who pass by and unwrap his bundle, “You know, there was a bunch of good folks in a sleepy town…”
The first thing that you notice about Anthikkad’s latest film Jomonte Suvisheshangal (Jomon’s Gospels) is its acute predictability and clumsiness. Every character and situation is sketchily developed. The narrative is deja-vu inducing. However, the film doesn’t collapse entirely, thanks to its stellar cast, whose performance make you forget (well, almost) that the film is tiringly long-winded.
Dulquer Salmaan plays Jomon Vincent, the youngest son of Vincent (Mukesh), a multi-millionaire businessman in Thrissur. Unlike his siblings who are married and well-settled with jobs, Jomon leads a rather irresponsible life. So irresponsible that in the initial sequence, he misses his sister’s wedding because he got drunk with a friend he bumped into on the way.
The character is reminiscent of Vinod (Dileep) from Anthikkad’s Vinodayatra and Joy (Jayaram) from Veendum Chila Veettukaryangal. They are carefree and spirited, yet uninterested in carrying out filial duties, or in a steady career. In spite of being inadvertent trouble makers, these guys aren’t vile.
Dulquer’s Jomon is the blue-eyed boy of his father and siblings who forgive and forget his mistakes again and again. Anthikkad tries to cash in on the actor’s cute factor in the initial half of the film, where scenes of him slacking around are packed one after another. And it works. Dulquer’s antics are fun to watch.
A natural performer, he shines even in the weakest scenes, where he has to mouth badly written dialogues.
The film’s story is eerily similar to that of Jacobinte Swarga Rajyam, the Vineeth Srinivasan film that was released in early 2015. However, Anthikkad’s film is less corny and more lifelike than the Nivin pauly-starrer which was set in a recession-hit Dubai. Characters do not mouth motivation lines every once in a while.
When Vincent’s business fails and his close relatives desert him, the story shifts to Tamil Nadu, a region that has become Anthikkad’s favourite territory of late. Does this change in landscape make the film’s done-to-death storyline any better? Not likely. The way Vincent and Jomon build up a happy life in the scanty living conditions of Tirupur is cliche-ridden.
Anthikkad’s fixation with characters who sacrifice their happiness for others has inadvertently become a joke over the years. Vincent, Jomon, and even Vydehi, the girl they befriend in Tirupur (Aishwarya Rajesh), follow the suit and go out of their way to help each other.
Despite its flaws, the film will be remembered for Mukesh, the veteran actor who delivers a power-packed performance in his first-ever role as an onscreen father. The actor is flawless, and induces a lot of freshness to the film. Mukesh, who is best known for his youthful roles in films like In Harihar Nagar and Godfather, transforms himself into a man of measured words and subtle body-language. There are highly witty scenes like the one where he meets an old classmate, played by another brilliant actor, Sethu Lakshmi, who rants to him about death and deceased friends.
His combination scenes with Dulquer are fine example of how an intelligent cast can make a mediocre movie many times better.
Anthikkad has tried out many a trick to keep up with the changed tastes of the younger generation. Actor Gregory Jacob, who has partnered with Dulquer in many successful films in the past, plays his best friend in the film. There are nods to Dulquer’s off-screen persona as a star with a huge female fan following. Women in the film are intelligent and career-oriented.
Nevertheless, nothing compensates the film for its lack of a strong screenplay. Dialogues are often cringe-worthy. Take this: Jomon, professing his love for Catherine (Anupama Parameswaran), says, “You are so so sundari!” This is followed by a duet you would want to fast-forward immediately.
Of all the flaws that bug the film, the worst is its camerawork and colour grading. The warm palette used in the Tirupur sequence is jarringly loud, and colours and skin-tones mismatch throughout the film. Vidyasagar’s tunes aren’t impressive, and Anthikkad’s visualisation of those numbers are equally poor.
It’s surprising that the auteur who filmed the ever beautiful Vaishakha Sandhye and Surabhi Yamangale has come down to shooting mediocre tunes with young lovers doing bizarre dance steps on a meadow or by the side of a nearby waterfall. One can only wish that this isn’t the end of the road for a master whose oeuvre is one of the greatest in the country.
The Jomonte Suvisheshangal review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site