Lal’s third outing as an independent director,’Tournament: Play and Replay’ after the decent ‘2 Harihar Nagar’ and the mediocre ‘In Ghost House Inn’ ends up as a disappointing film.The script goes haywire post intermission,the twists get repetitive and culminates in a climax which is silly and idiotic to say the least.
The intentions of the director is quite evident,to make a breezy road movie ala ‘Saroja’ or a ‘Gamyam’.Lal almost gets it right in the first half.The four friends who are about to attend the selection trial for the upcoming ‘kochi’ Apl team are introduced quite convincingly.A song later,one of them gets injured in an accident making him unable to attend the trial to be held in Bangalore a week later.So the other three starts off to Bangalore along with their common friend,Aswathi(played by new comer Roopa Manjari).Several unexpected events happen during their journey (along with a couple of twists thrown at the audience every fifteen minutes or so),new characters pop up at regular intervals (cracking mostly toilet jokes).I am not going on further into the story line as there is too little of it here actually!
As I had mentioned earlier the first half is breezy and entertaining barring the supposedly funny track involving the truck driver and his cleaner(Kochu Preman and Bijukkuttan respectively).The three songs which belong to this half have been picturised well.The back stories of a couple of incidents also get revealed in the first half itself.Though the format is new to the Malayalam film industry i must say that it has backfired here terribly.
Post intermission,the script loses track and wanders aimlessly.The sequences involving Indrans,the tribal people and the jeep which has lost it’s driver in the second half are atrocious and totally unfunny.The twists in the second half become predictable as the audience have become smart after the unexpected turns they had witnessed in the former.The climax is a let down and it can only be termed as an ‘ending of convenience’.Lal was almost successful when he did it for the first time in ‘2 HHN’,but not anymore.
The main problem with the movie lies in it’s writing and characterisation.It’s often said that one can’t paint everything on black and white.Agreed,everyone has shades of grey but does it necessarily mean that the world we are living is full of crooks?
On the technical side,’tournament’ is something which has high production values.The visuals are rich,the back ground score is decent(done by Alex Paul),the editing is also fine.Music by Deepak Dev deserves special mention and is far superior to that in Lal’s first two films.The songs have been picturised well and suits the mood of the film.
All the actors have done their part well and one rarely gets the feeling that this is their first film.Fahad Fazil,the experienced one among them was okay as he had nothing much to perform.The guy who played the role of the (real) John Subramaniam was also good though he almost went a bit over board at times.The actor who played the character of the fatty ‘Usman Ali’ managed to raise a few laughs .The protagonist ‘Bobby’ was fine.New comer Roopa(Aswathy) had a meaty role and she looked good.
Overall ‘Tournament: Play and Replay’ is a film which looks slick and cool with some decent performances from the lead cast,with no Suraaj Venjaramoodu in it,but ends up as a below average affair due to sloppy writing and too many silly and predictable twists.