Saturday, February 8, 2014

Balyakalasakhi review: "Director could have achieved much more but fails to!!!"

The Malayalam literary world has been blessed over the years by the presence of numerous iconic writers & one of the most esteemed among this distinguished lot was the "Beypore Sultan", Vaikom Muhammed Basheer. Some of his novels & short stories have already been immortalized on celluloid such as "Mathilukal" and "Bhargavi Nilayam". The latest to join the bandwagon is Pramod Payyannur with his version of "Balyakalasakhi". So did he take on something which is more than what he can chew???

Even though many of you would have already read the novel, I have still written a brief outline for the benefit of those who haven't. The film talks about the relationship of Majeed & Suhra right from their childhood days which eventually blossoms into romance through their formative years. Majeed belonged to an affluent family, with his father being a tough taskmaster (both the roles essayed by Mammookka) while their neighbours were Suhra's folks (Isha Talwar) who struggled to make ends meet. With time, his father's riches turns into dust & seeking to make money, Majeed travels across the country before eventually ending up in Kolkata as an aide to Ameen Sahib (Sasikumar) in his press. So will Majeed & Suhra's love ever be solemnized, as both of them struggles to wade through the tough times that life throws at them.

First & foremost, I would like to congratulate the guts shown by the debutant, Pramod Payannur though a familiar name in the drama arena; for taking up such a huge challenge. The risk is always immense when you lay your hands on some literary masterpiece & this belongs to none other than Basheer. The first half was entertaining and lives upto expectations as Pramod showcases the child hood & adolescence in an impressive manner. However, all the good will he garnered goes south as the second half lacked finesse and appeared haphazard culminating in a hurried climax. 

Hats off to Santhosh Raman for his eye for detail in the art department & Hari Nair for his exquisite visuals. The same cannot however be said for Manoj Kannoth's editing which left a lot to be desired for in the latter half. The song "Thamarapoomkanavil" composed by Late Raghavan Master & rendered by Yesudas along with "Aa Nammelu..." composed by Bijibal were my personal choices. 

Mammookka has done an impressive job especially as Majeed's father, but I would count this as an missed opportunity since Pramod Payyanur fails to utilize the caliber of Mammookka to good effect. Seema Biswas was undoubtedly the best in the film while Meena has done a good job as well. Isha Talwar's appearance seemed fine for the role but she struggles with the expressions  & even the combo scenes with Mammookka though sparse didnt quite gel. As for the rest of the cast, Sasi Kumar & Kavitha Nair seemed ok, while Sunil Sukhadsa reminded me of Rohit Sharma i.e numerous attempts but strikes form only once in a while & the logic behind casting Atlas Ramachandran baffled me.

Verdict: All those who have read the novel would be eagerly looking forward to check it out but the initial looks of it will not quite attract the young crowd & they might be looking for some positive feedback before making a plunge into it. The lack lustered latter half is definitely going to be the bane of the film. Alas..with a more focused & earnest effort, Pramod could have made this into a worthy rendition of the novel. Anywaz, it wont hurt to give it a try!!!

Rating: 2.75/5


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