(Reader Nikhil sent us this review of Chocolate)
Shafi’s Chocolate tells the story of a boy, who comes to study in a women’s college. Prithviraj plays the lead Shyam Balagopal who carries nine suspensions and seven police cases during his graduation. Roma is the heroine Ann Mathews. The movie starts with the PTA meeting happening in the St.Mary’s women’s college (Sacret Heart College, Thevara) to make it a mixed one. Veteran actress Shari makes a come back through this movie, and she plays the role of the principal. Due to the parents’ protest, the college authority turns down the decision but allots one boy as per the rule for the PG course. The main gang of Ann, Nandana (Samvritha) and Susan (Ramya) are against the arrival of a boy where the opposite gang welcomes it.
After his arrival, there happens a lot of funny moments and even a ‘ragging’ against him. It results in the suspension of Ann and Shyam. But the initial war between Ann Mathews’ gang and Shyam gives way to friendship and the college election result becomes a turning point in the story. Prithviraj carries the film on his shoulders and Shafi handled Shyam with care. Roma’s performance is not up to that of Notebook but she handled the bold Ann Mathews very well.
After Classmates, Keralites get the chance to see some nice romance on the screen. Prithviraj and Roma carries good on-screen chemistry and it is handled well by Shafi. Samvritha gives a commendable performance and Ramya’s role is just an eye candy one. Jayasurya plays the role of a young fashion designer (Ranjith) who falls for Nandana. But his role is only a supporting one. Unlike Classmates, Chocolate does not carry a strong story line, but it overcomes Classmates in the entertainment value.
Among the crew, the debutant writers Sachi and Sethu deserves the first applause for the gripping script. But the second half could have been made even better . Some scenes are predictable and the unnecessary fight scene could have been avoided. The climax scene is innovative and it suits the film’s mood. Salim Kumar also contributes to the comedy part, but there is a comic scene from Salim Kumar on the drama stage where he tries to improvise Chandrika’s dialog, which misfires unexpectedly.
With Chocolate, Shafi proves that he can also make visually appealing movie if there is a good script with him. He has improved a lot from his previous venture Mayavi. He took care of the song picturization too. My favourite scene in the film is Shyam’s first day in the classroom. He couldn’t take his eyes from the surrounding girls and this scene provides enough laughter even without any dialogue. Prithviraj’s performance in this scene is enough to shut the mouth of his critics who says that he is weak in doing comedy. It seems he had done enough home work for Chocolate.
The art director Salu.K George deserves a special mention for making the film really colorful. The film has four songs, but Alex Paul’s music is a let down except the romantic melody “Ishtamalle…” which is really hummable and shot well. All the songs are apt to the situation. But I think the last one, “Thamarayum..” could have been avoided. The background score slightly resembles “Ente Khalbile” but it is used well in apt situations.
In short, Chocolate is a must watch with the family for its end to end entertainment value, with a unique theme. The film is sure to get many repeat viewers among the youth and is going to become this year’s mega hit.
(Image Courtsey: Rediff.com)