Saturday, November 8, 2014

ഇയോബിന്റെ പുസ്തകം (Iyobinte Pusthakam) (2014)

Director: Amal Neerad
Writers:  Gopan Chidambaram, Syam Pushkaran
Cast:       Fahadh Faasil, Lal, Jayasurya, Padmapriya, Isha Sharvani
Language: Malayalam

Film tells the story of Iyob and his three sons who gets control of a Tea Plantation in Munnar through the power of attorney of the original English owner. Elder two sons are ruthless like their father while the youngest one, Aloshi, takes after his pious mother. He flees his town and join British Indian Navy and end up being involved in second world war. Upon returning from war he gets back to his home and ends up in conflict with his family leaving him almost dead at film's interval. The second half sees him getting back to his feet and proceeds like a normal Indian revenge film.

The title of the film translates as 'Book of Job' but the film is not really an adaptation the Biblical story. Instead of being righteous like Job from Bible, Iyob in the film is an unscrupulous guy. The English man character's name is Harrison but the film is not connected to the tea company Harrison's Malayalam. The story seems to be completely fictional. You more or less get what you expect from Amal Neerad (Technical excellence-visuals, soundtrack and Tarantinosque violent florishes) with the only novelty being that it is a period film. I have seen his debut film 'Big B', which is a modern cult film in Malayalam, and the utterly forgettable 'Sagar Alias Jackey Reloaded'. 

The first half of the film is more than good with the story being set up by the director taking ample time. The stylized violence set to breathtaking locales is a win win and if at all you are gonna watch the film, it should be on a big screen. The set pieces and character entrances are made for the theatrical audience who are still in the 'Actor's Official Fans Association' mode. The saving grace is that it is not Mammootty or Mohanlal and therefore the director doesn't prolong the slow-mo walks for which he is famous for. The songs in first half of the film are quite well used with the opening credits set to WW2 and 'Maane' song being the highlight. I have been hearing the latter one on radio for quite some time and was surprised when it came up because of the familiarity.

The second half of the film is quite lame as expected. It is totally predictable and you are just waiting for all the killings to be done with a happy ending, because you don't get anything else from commercial films these days-be it from India or Hollywood. There are two completely useless songs which does not add anything to story and it seems they are just there to make film's length symmetrical relative to its interval point. Almost all the characters are binary and the only interesting one in the film is Padmapriya's 'Rahel'. Jayasurya's turn as Angoor Rawther is very stylish with some punch dialog but he does not have anything much to do apart from that. The cast perform well with the material that they have been given to work with. 

Amal Neerad who began his career as a cinematographer for several Ram Gopal Varma's 'Factory' productions, is always dependable to produce films with great technical excellence. I think for 'Big B', which is a remake of 'Four Brothers', he just stumbled across a very good script. He doesn't look capable of making another film that good anymore unless he gets such a script. 'Iyobinte Pusthakam' is a bit like Urumi, it is worth a watch on its theatrical run because of its technical excellence and a passable story which is interesting only because of its period setting. 

Rating: 3/5