Friday, May 23, 2014

In Harihar Nagar (1990)

Directors: Siddique-Lal
Writers:    Siddique-Lal
Cast:         Mukesh, Siddique, Jagadish, Asokan, Geetha Vijayan, Rizabawa
Language: Malayalam

Four well-off but currently unemployed friends bites more than they could chew when they cook up a story to get into the good books of a beautiful girl who moved in next door. 

It was the second film from the directorial duo of Siddique and Lal after the massive success of their debut feature 'Ramji Rao Speaking'. This partnership produced what can be considered among the best from Malayalam cinema when it comes to situational comedy. These two films were followed up with 'Godfather', 'Vietnam Colony', 'Kabuliwalla' and 'Mannar Mathai Speaking'. There was a steady downgrade in quality but all of them can be still classed as great films. The film that they directed independently are not a patch on the films that they made as a partnership. Lal directed two bastardized follow ups to 'In Harihar Nagar' which must be avoided at all costs. 

'In Harihar Nagar' comprises of set-piece after set-piece of high quality comedy situations graced with banter from the four characters that are iconic in their own right.  The fact that these lines are now used in everyday conversations by people who were not even born when this film came out says all about the quality of the film. The thing about the film is that the viewer does not become aware about the set-piece nature of its comedy since it has a very good story tying it all together. 

This period can be considered as a golden period for Malayalam comedy, marking a departure from 'Leave your brains out' slapstick fare made by the likes of Priyadarshan. Sathyan Anthikad, Siddique-Lal and even Priyadarshan came out with intelligent comedy films during this time period of 88-95 and the copycat films from lesser filmmakers are better than the ones that come out these days. The background score is another feature that was used so well in those days. They were very influential in adding more spark to the situations without having to convey everything verbally. Along with script, acting, direction, acting; this is another area in which Malayalam films have gone very backward when you compare the films since 2000 with those before. Along with the sorry sequels that come these days even the iconic background scores from films like 'Oru CBI Diary Kurup'. 'Irupatham Nootandu' are rehashed by the talentless piece of shit people who masquerades as artists in Malayalm films these days. Funny thing is that some of these very same people came out with the originals some 20 years back and proves that their is an expiry date for talent in film industry. The sequels can only be seen as retirement funds for these people and they are made with as much sincerity as political parties have when they make their election manifestos.

Lets not wallow much more about the sorry state of Malayalam cinema. I think I have seen 'In Harihar Nagar' about ten times and I guess I will see it again many more times. I remember being scared about Appukuttan's dentistry related ordeal in this film when I saw it for the first time as a 5 year old. I was also distraught and confused by the character 'Sethumadhavan' played by Suresh Gopi because Mohanlal's character from 'Kireedom' also went by the same name. Both these characters were of the tragic kind. The film also gives a relevant message about the danger of turning your stove on and getting distracted. LPG and stove explosion deaths were apparently quite common those days if you go by their frequency in Malayalm cinemas.

Rating: 5/5