In this movie, there is a scene where Udayabhanu (Mohanlal), a struggling assistant director lectures a producer about the problems facing Malayalam film industry. According to him the film makers underestimate the viewers and makes movies which are pathetic. Then when one movie with mimicry artistes is released, people flock to see it since there is nothing else. The movie becomes a hit and producers think that mimicry movies are what people want. As a result we have low quality films. We agree with that assesment and wish that people wrote new stories and made films with some seriousness.
The movie starts with Udayabhanu who is struggling with the script of his first movie. He allows Rajappan (Srinivasan), a struggling actor to share his room. Rajappan steals Udayan’s script and gives it to a producer on the condition that Rajappan be made the hero. The film becomes a hit and Rajappan changes his name to Saroj Kumar and starts dictating even camera angles. Meanwhile Udayan gets married to the reigning heroine Madhumati (Meena).
Udayan gets devastated over Rajappan’s betrayal and after going through alcoholism and depression writes another script. By then Madhumati leaves him. The producer says that he is willing to make the film on the condition that Saroj Kumar be made the hero. On the movie set Saroj Kumar makes Udayan suffer with unreasonable demands and towards the end, walks off the film without shooting the climax. Udayan has to come up with an innovative plan to teach Rajappan a lesson as well as finish his film. This is the climax of the film.
The movie is genuinely funny and the story of the people behind the camera has not been told before (atleast not in our memory). The story has been told without resorting to slapsticks and even the regular comedy pattern (Cochin Haeefa playing the idiot, Salim Kumar playing the irritating character) has been broken. Even though it is a satire, it has a story which tells the politics behind cinema
This movie makes fun of everything in Malayalam film industry, like the super star craze and the art of writing stories to suit the star’s image. The star’s obsession with cooling glasses and putting his picture on every packet of pappadam and porotta is a direct dig at the current super stars. Then there are producers who think actreses are public property and there are actors who pay money and send people to boo competitor’s films.
Somewhere in the middle of the film, when Udayan is walking along the road, he sees Rajappan walking with some documents in a cover. Udayan calls him and Rajappan starts running. Udayan chases him all way to their shared apartment and he finds Rajappan sitting there, breathing heavily. First he goes and checks if his script is there in the trunk and after that he questions Rajappan on why he ran. In typical Srinivasan style, he makes up a story.
Even though the story is refreshingly new, there are scenes like the one above where Mohanlal and Srinivasan have played Tom and Jerry countless times before. How many movies have you seen where Srinivasan does paara on Mohanlal as in Sanmasullavarku Samadhanam, Nadodikattu trilogy and Mukundetta Sumitra Vilikunnu. This movie is no different.
In how many Srinivasan movies have you heard dialogues which are self-deprecating like a reference to his dark color and not so handsome face. How many times have you seen Srinivasan do the funny dance as in Pavizhamalli Poothulanja in Sanmasullavarku Samadhanam and Markazhiye Mallikaye in Megham? This movie has all of them.
Even though it is a comedy movie, Mohanlal has a serious role and he plays the role of the struggling asst. director very well. It is not the star Mohanlal, but the actor Mohanlal here as he does not hog each and every scene like in Narasimham or its many avatars. He performs his role with great subtlety and makes us feel the pain of the character.
The character which hogs the screen instead is Srinivasan, first as the scheming Rajappan and later as the flamboyant Saroj Kumar. Jagathi Sreekumar as Pachhalam Bhasi, his manager-cum-teacher, Mukesh as producer Baby Kuttan and Cochin Haneefa as a producer provide support. In this movie Salim Kumar does not fall into a cow dung pit or into dirt and instead has a serious role. Director-Writer Lohithadas and Bhavana make cameo appearances.
Director Rosshan Andrrews had a good script to work on, but still having not much faith in it resorted to changing his name to ensure success. Maybe he can spoof that in his next movie.
The music is by one of our favourite composers, Deepak Dev and we liked two songs, Parayathey Ariyathey and Karale Karalinte Karale. The second song, the picturization of which is similar to the song, Woh Ladki Hai Kahaan in Dil Chahta Hai was sung by Vineeth Srinivasan (Srinivasan’s son) for his father.
Even with all the drawbacks we mentioned, it was a good movie to watch with the minimum standard we expect from Malayalam movies. But it is not a classic along the lines of Nadodikaatu or Sanmasullavarku Samadhanam which we like to watch over and over again. Finally, the movie should have been called Sreeniyanu Tharam for he was the real star of this movie.