Given Prithviraj’s obsession with all
things occult, the supernatural element was hardly surprising. He can deny it all he wants but from Christopher Moriarty to Illuminati, the recurring themes in his films tells us that he’s no different from any other 90s kid who’s read his share of popular english fiction or watched TV shows and movies from the Cable TV era. The trailer looked like the film was trying too many things, at least to me and that is exactly how it turned out to be too. They should have stuck to the police procedural genre and would have maybe even made a worthy successor to Yavanika, though even the very mention of these two films in a single sentence could be considered blasphemy.
The only time Prithviraj lost his scorn on screen was when he was around Alencier, I felt. Except for Lakshmipriya Chandramouli, everyone else looked totally out of their elements, especially when it came to lip synch. Aditi Balan behaved around the child like she was adopted, I thought, chemistry was non existent. The pandemic must have definitely contributed to the disintegration of the director’s original vision and design for the film I presume and he deserves the benefit of the doubt here. The movie did come into its own when it got to the forensic scenes and it sounded like the makers had done their bit of research. I was particularly impressed by the detailing into the DNA test types, something that I had taken note of in that stellar procedural on Netflix, Unbelievable.
Coming to the “pièce de résistance” of the film, if you were okay with Johnny Depp transferring his conscience onto a mainframe, what’s a refrigerator anyway. But have to admit that the climax was unintentionally funny too. And why do high ranking police officers on screen throw about fancy phrases like “ pandoras box” totally out of context, just for the heck of it. Looks like Prithviraj still has a hangover of his “Fountainhead” days, if you know what I’m talking about. And who makes these fancy PowerPoint presentations in the police station, I’m curious. Another lost opportunity and this article about the incident that most probably served as an inspiration might drive home that point.
And personally i feel that everything that went wrong with Adam Joan is what went wrong with Cold Case too. Tracing back my thoughts on Adam Joan here, and I’ve been rather vicious I admit.
Biopics are a risky business and demands extreme diligence from the makers, especially the writer and the director.Its an even narrower line to walk when tragedy is involved and the person on whom the movie is based has passed after an equally successful and troubled life.A movie in this genre that hasn’t been plagued by some sort of controversy or been a source of disgruntlement for the kith and kin of the individual who’s the subject, is a rare occurence.This is where Prajesh Sen stands tall as a debutant director who has pulled off the impossible with a film that’s flawless in terms of conception and execution.Sen’s greatest sucess as the writer of the film too here, is that he has told the tale of V.P.Sathyan,former captain and defender par excellence of the Indian Football Team, with the greatest of respect for his memories as a player, son, husband and father.Sen has ensured that the dignity of the man is preserved even when his least proudest of moments were portrayed on screen.The film stays true to its tagline and indeed tells the tale of an unsung hero.
Jayasuriya delivers the performance of his lifetime in the role of V.P.Sathyan.He has always been an actor who takes great pain and goes to great lengths to transform himself into the characters he plays.Those efforts have paid off indeed this time around and more importantly it’s one of his most restrained and measured performances as an actor, if you ask me.Anu Sithara perfectly complements Jayasuriya in the role of Anitha Sathyan which has been sensitively written by Sen.Siddiuqe is not around for long in terms of screen time but leaves his indelible mark as always in his role of a very unique character who essentially represents the football lovers of Kerala.In an equally compelling role, Renji Panikker reaffirms that he is here to stay as a character actor.Janardhanan who used to play characters inspired by E.K Nayanar in Shaji Kailas films of yesteryear gets to play K.Karunakaran, the Leader here.Prajesh Sen is not without a subtle sense of humor you get to know when Janardhanan thanks Guruvayoorappan while watching Sathyan lead Kerala Police to win in the Santosh Trophy finals. Gopi Sundar’s music elevates the film to a different level entirely and is an integral part of the storytelling here.
The movie follows a non linear style of storytelling and tells the tale of the of V.P Sathyan from his days as a kid who played in his backyards to being the captain of the Indian Football Team.He was a player who literally gave his life to the game and stuggled to accept and handle the fact when the game was done with him.Sen has also highlighted the unfair discrmination the game faced in the country from the public compared to the frenzy and fanfare that Cricket kicked up.The movie also brings to light the lack of a support system, especially pschological, for the players and people in the game which is essential for rehabiliation, mental and physical in moments of crisis.Sen’s masterstoke as a director here to me was the climax where he chose to end the film not around his death but with a dramtised version of the defining moment in V.P Sathyan’s career, his legendary goal against South Korea.Captain is not just the best biopic ever in Malayalam cinema ,its one of the best biopics to hit the screens in Indian Cinema I’d say where sport themed films happen once in a blue moon.A fitting tribute to the Sathyan’s legend and life.
A Shyamaprasad film that didn’t drag you into the depths of desolation and gloom along with it used to be a rare phenomenon until he supposedly went commercial with Ritu close to a decade back, yet it was far removed from the usual fare that you came across in Malayalam cinema though the veil of melancholy that almost always hangs over Shyamaprasad’s themes was absent in it.He explored the dark recesses of the human mind and the complexities of human relationships in Ore Kadal, Akale and Elektra and in the meantime he surprisingly chose to expose the lighter side of his creative mind to the audience with a short in the anthology Kerala Cafe.He went down that lane again in English and Arike but it’s with Hey Jude that he has truly picked off from where he left off in Off-Season i can’t but help feel.Or maybe it’s the common backdrop of the ocean and the beach that’s giving me those vibes.
This is Nivin Pauly’s third outing with Shyamaprasad who has not had frequent collaborators in the past and it looks like its third time lucky for Nivin.Set in Goa, Hey Jude is a breezy feel-good film considering what Shyamaprasad could’ve instinctively done otherwise with the story of a man with Asperger’s Syndrome and a woman with bipolar disorder and the credit i think goes here to the scriptwriting duo.Shyamaprasad’s deviations from his favorite themes have always been when he associated with other writers.Interestingly Nirmal Sahadev who was Chief Associate in Ivide has co-written the script for Hey Jude with George Kannat and he’s also set to make his directorial debut with another story set in the U.S, Ranam which has Prithviraj playing the lead.
Nivin was at the receiving end of some unfair criticism in Ivide where he shared screen space with Prithviraj but he has silenced his detractors in Hey Jude with his inspired portrayal of the troubled charachter.Siddique excels yet again as Nivin’s father in a role that’s not too different from that of Lal’s in Njandukalude Nattil Oru Idavela.Coincidentally that film too dealt with a medical condition in a lighter vein though Hey Jude is more of a romantic comedy, which for some reason reminds of Adam Sandler’s Punch Drunk Love.Vijay Menon,whom the Malayalam film industry had reduced to the in-house psycho-drug addict over the years gets liberated here with a full length role thats almost tailor made to suit his on screen persona.Trisha gets to play a next door girl character that’s quite the opposite of the one that earned a cult status among the audience a while back, that of Jessie from Gautam Menon’s VTV.
Though the script is not without a few holes,with Shyamaprasad’s trademark unhurried approach and his skill as a director with a level of sophistication that’s not exactly at home in Malayalam cinema, Hey Jude makes for a pretty good weekend watch to unwind yourself with.