Wednesday, April 15, 2015

വെള്ളിമൂങ്ങ (Vellimoonga) (2014)

Director: Jibu Jacob
Writer:    Jibu Jacob
Cast:       Biju Menon, Aju Varghese, Nikki Galrani
Language: Malayalam

A happy go lucky politician is smitten by a girl half his age and tries his luck at winning her hand. This girl is also the daughter of a lady with whom he had romantic relationship with during his teen years. Over the course of the film he tricks people to achieve the goals he had set for himself in both his political career and personal life. 

It is a genre that was revived by Sreenivasan with the film 'Katha Parayumbol' which was written by him. You get a picturesque village with its own politics and supposedly 'interesting' sets of characters. The story is told as a comedy and almost all the people in it will neither be overly bad nor overly good. I don't know whether such a reality exist in Kerala anymore and perhaps it is this nostalgia that makes such films work for a typical Malayalee. It was remade into three languages (as Kusela in Tamil & as Billu in Hindi) and as far as I know all those didn't do well at the box office. As for me, I didn't like that film very much and thought it was very overrated by an audience who are prone to fall for simplistic feel good films. Still it had a writer who can still shame younger generation people who masquerades as writers in Malayalam film industry these days. It also boasted of a very good set of supporting actors who can elevate what is written into a superior output. 

So Vellimoonga is another film that tries to tap into this space and it managed successfully, at least in the commercial sense, by becoming a huge box office hit grossing close to  INR20 crores. It was a sleeper hit helped by the fact that there weren't any good competition when it came out. As a film it is really poor and just about watchable. The comedy falls flat and the supporting village characters turn out to be one dimensional irritating ones without being interesting in any sort of way. Biju Menon as the protagonist didn't work for me and it sort of cemented the value of second tier leads held in Malayalam- Jayaram, Mukesh, Siddique & Jagadeesh- who plied under the shadow of Mohanlal, Mammootty and to a smaller extent Suresh Gopi intermittently during the 90s & noughties. Might not be fair of me to judge Biju Menon just based on one film mind.

The film is representative of the rot Malayalam film industry is in. A thoroughly below average film becoming a box office hit helped partly by the space generated since plenty moved into the supposed 'new generation' films. So when a film gives you a simple story without any of the indecency associated with new-gen films, it is a welcome relief for parents who can take their children to a film that is not of 'Koprayam' actor Dileep's. So Vellimoonga is a compromise film-simple enough with a catchy title tune to lure children in and not as shit as Dileep films which is a relief for their parents. Doesn't make it any good though.

Rating: 2/5