Expectations for the latest Lal Jose movie Velipadinte Pusthakam were always on the higher side right from day one when this project was announced and it has almost skyrocketed to a level where audience do not want anything other than a good film that they can enjoy to the fullest. This over expectation and hype was not because people were anticipating something great on the story or they believed that Lal Jose is going to create a magic of a sort by pulling of a coup.
See also: Velipadinte Pusthakam Theatre List
The X factor here was the director joining hands with Mohanlal for the very first time in his career. Now that’s something unbelievable for one of the successful directors of his time taking such a long period of time to come up with something with a substance for one of the reigning superstars of Mollywood. A project named Cousins was announced that had Prithviraj too but that movie didn’t materialize.
So it took almost twenty years for the duo to come together and this is naturally the attractive thing that paved the way for this Onam release to get lot of publicity in the media. So the audience cannot be faulted for if they have pegged their expectations on this movie at a slightly higher level.
All the songs, teasers and promo posters were giving a hint that the movie will be a campus based family drama. But there was also another angle wherein Mohanlal is spotting a mass role with his mustache twirled giving an indication that apart from the campus and family thing, there is a different dimension in the story. Now all those speculations have been laid to rest as the film has finally reached theatres.
I wouldn’t say the film met my expectations completely considering the Lal-Lal combination working for the first time but still I was able to sit through patiently till the halfway stage. Velipaadinte Pusthakam with the least of expectation can be enjoyed and is a campus based family drama with fun, entertainment and action in it. The writing by Benny. P. Naayarambalam failed to provide proper explanations for certain critical elements in the story that can prompt the audience to ask questions.
The film begins with an action scene amidst heavy rain and this incident is happening years back. Then the story takes us to the present and unfold inside Phoenix College of Arts and Science where rest of the story takes its shape. Professor Idikkula arrives in the college and the situations that happen within the college and how another character Viswanathan gets connected in the overall plot is what that form part of the story in this Lal Jose flick.
If comedy and fun is given priority in the first half, the second half gets a more serious makeover. Not the entire set of comedies have worked but Salim Kumar was able to make us laugh in some of those scenes. A film happening inside the film is something interesting but the screenplay is a let down at many places.
In spite of ample presence of many cliched scenes that we have seen in many campus based films, the movie was bearable. The film making scenes connected with Viswanathan and his family’s story wasn’t that exciting and it is here that the audience can feel disappointed. The efforts put in by the film crew in the story to bring the story of Viswan is the highlight of the latter half and to be honest this portion seemed to be a half baked one.
Mohanlal as usual is very much there in each and every frame once he arrives and in his usual trademark style he was able to capture the minds of audience in two different characters that was poles apart in terms of appearance as well as personality. But having got a chance to work with the actor for the first time after two decades of making his debut, the director in Lal Jose wasn’t able to completely utilize the actor’s acting prowess.
Anna Rajan who impressed one and all as Lichy in Angamaly Diaries was good as Mary but as Viswan’s wife in the latter half during the film making episode she looked totally out of touch. Anoop Menon impressed as Viswan and same goes for Siddhique. Salim Kumar was impressive with his comic act in some scenes while in some others he went over the board. Chemban Vinod and Priyanka Nair were also good with their respective roles. Sarath Kumar (Angamali Diaries fame) and Arun Kurian (Aanandam fame) were okay along with Alencier Lay and Sivaji Guruvayoor.
Shaan Rahman’s music and background score was good but nowhere near the standard set by Vidyasagar for many other Lal Jose movies. Vishnu Sarma’s camera work was notable. Ranjan Abraham on the editing table could have trimmed the movie a little bit thereby removing some unwanted scenes that unnecessarily extended the running time as well as created lag especially in the second half.
This is not what we expected when this duo would join. We waited for close to twenty years but the waiting proved to be a futile one. Still if the expectation level is pegged down, you would be able to enjoy Velipadinte Pusthakam. Its not a totally underwhelming experience but the movie which has that entertainment factor right through misses the spark in it to provide total satisfaction.