Hollywood Actor Steve Martin wrote the movie of an insecure film actor who won’t act in a producer’s movie and the producer has to resort to various tricks to make the movie. Our favourite comedy writer Srinivasan took this thread, added his usual mix of Dasan-Vijayan routine and wrote the movie Udayananu Tharam and it became a blockbuster hit because the film made fun of the film stars themselves. Due to this success, expectations were high for Director Rosshan Andrews second movie Notebook which at least seems to have an original script. But then that original script seems to be the Achilles Heel for the movie. All reviewers, both from the media and the blogosphere agree unanimously that this is a terrible movie.
The movie wanted to communicate so many things simultaneously, yet could come up with only a few, thus not living up to its propaedeutic strains. Scuttle scenes in the second half, expressions of the parents of the girls, the lives of the girl pals after the set of incidents and the anonymous letter in the end did not seem to have any connection with the story till then. Andrrews says Notebook is about the love and understanding that should arise between parents and children; but one would wonder how he passed on that message in the movie. No great scenes to relic when you leave the theatre, suggesting Notebook failed to infuse the intended inputs. The producer of the movie, PV Gangadharan and Andrrews deserve a lot of applause for the intrepid attempt in putting up such an experimentation with youngsters, thumbs down to the script writers Bobby and Sanjay though.
Notebook is set in a mysterious posh school in Ooty, where all the students and teachers speak in pure Malayalam. The film tells the story of three girl students of twelfth standard. One of them falls in love with a boy in the school, and then follows a series of tragic incidents, which form the main thread of the film. I think Roshan Andrews as a director has tried hard to make a watchable film based on a rotten script. The film is packaged nicely with postcard-like images, and two of the girls playing the roles of Saira and Pooja (both of them are newcomers, I guess) are expressive and capable of acting – but thatâ€™s it. There is nothing really worth writing about this nonsense film.
The mammoth expectations raised by Roshan Andrewsâ€™ second film, are never really lived up to, (no) thanks to a script by the duo Bobby and Sanjeev, that plays spoil sport every now and then, much to the viewerâ€™s chagrin. Several honest attempts to delve into the intricacies of the transient age with maturity are met with an inevitable disdain, courtesy the insipid narrative that grows errant with each fleeting juvenile event. Solid performances from a relatively fresh cast and the melodious songs set to tune by Mejo do pep up the scene for a while, and so does the awesome camerawork of Diwakaran. But sadly, the struggle between the eternal human wish to cling to the past and the equally powerful wish to get on with the future is never really conveyed across and the film invariably turns out to be a chaotic amalgamation of a whole lot of affairs that defy all sense of judgment.
The pain that Rosshan Andrrews took in shaping his maiden venture Udayanaanu Thaaram was reflected in the totality of the film, and found it a place among one of the most exquisitely crafted movies of recent times. Now, about two years later, Rosshan has come up with his second film, Notebook, produced by P.V. Gangadharan of Grihalakshmi Productions. But this colourful film, though entertaining and good, falters on many counts and is perhaps indicative that the promising young director didn’t take as much pain moulding this film as he did making Udayanaanu Thaaram.
So it was but natural for us to rush to the cinemas on opening day, opening show to watch this much talked about Rosshanâ€™s brave new attempt at Rs 3 crore. But sadly, the director has slipped with a weak and undernourished love story set in a boarding school that makes you snooze.
If Udayan was a masterpiece in screenplay writing (Thanks to Sreenivasan), Notebookâ€™s major flaw is the story and screenplay by Bobby and Sanjay. This completely insensitive film is excessively verbose with three girls as protagonists holed up in a boarding school trying to iron out their emotional problems through passionate dialogues.
How Saira and Pooja deal the situation and what follows form the rest of the story. The weakest link in Notebook is its script and presentation. The director has inflicted us with a film which has no coherence, consistent plot and the screenplay is amateurish and moves at snail pace. The all new star cast infuses energy into their roles but a boring and monotonous script lets them down completely.
Roshan Andrews seems to be in the end of his good honeymoon with commercial cinema as his second film Notebook is predicted to be a loser. 23 months after his debut film Udayananu Tharam, one of the classics in Malayalam cinema, the expectations from Roshan’s next, a three crore extravaganza with all new stars falls flat. We are not encouraged to talk of the brave attempt and the unexpectedly bold theme as the film portrays insensitiveness all through the proceedings, giving much little for the viewers to cherish.
The all new star cast tries their best to bring in the energy of freshness into their roles but a monotonous script lets all the chances null. Even the climax which is a look alike of recent Classmates brings comparisons, which may also affect the box-office prospects of the film. However, the plus points of the film that is quite evident are the camera of R Diwakaran and the effective rerecording which in many ways tried to avoid the total breakdown of narrative continuity. Songs tuned by Majo Joseph are hummable and are well picturised
The screenplay, credited to Bobby and Sanjay, does not however make us emotionally involved with the girls; we are told their story, but never invited into their world. Thus, empathy is missing; when the timid one reveals that she may be pregnant after a fling with her boyfriend during the school excursion, we are indifferent to her fate.
The single biggest handicap this film suffers from is the fact that none of the characters are real, believable; in fact, on many occasions, the actions of the characters are uncharacteristically insensitive, as for instance the way the principal deals with a boy who climbs the clock tower threatening to commit suicide.
The bright spot is that the bunch of newcomers put in some exuberance into the otherwise turgid film; especially Roma, who has charming screen presence. The appearance of Suresh Gopi as her father, towards the end of the film, gives a bit of a fillip to proceedings, but even he cannot salvage the film beyond a point.