Wednesday, July 8, 2015

സ്ഫടികം (Sphadikam) (1995)

Director: Bhadran
Writer:    Bhadran
Cast:       Mohanlal, Thilakan, Sphadikam George
Language: Malayalam

Aadu Thoma (Mohanlal) is the village rowdy who is at odds with his very strict father, Chacko Master (Thilakan), a retired school headmaster. Over the course of the film we learn that his father, who believes that Mathematics is World's heartbeat, wanted him to be a genius in mathematics whereas his son's interest lied with practical science. The corporal punishment and constant discouragement forced him to leave the house as a teenager only to return 14 years later as the village rowdy. Film is basically about the relationship between the father-son duo and the title of the film translates as Prism, which is a metaphor for how differently humans can behave when faced with different kind of experiences in life.

These days we are not so blessed with a deluge of films that are classed as 'Mass', a word that I very much hate when used to describe a film or a scene. This film would qualify as such without even trying to be so and that makes it much more better when compared. In stead of having scenes that try to milk the audience for effect, this one is all about the character and so the scenes just comes naturally without feeling as if it is a set-piece. Film maker invests enough time in developing the character. Aadu Thoma is like a Christian version of Mangalassery Neelakandan from 'Devasuram' but while the latter mellows down very much after the first half of that film, Aadu Thoma is pretty much the rough guy the whole way through. I do think first halves of both these films are very much superior to their second halves since it is more interesting when we don't know much about the characters. I do rate both films overall around the same level and these two anti-hero characters are iconic when you talk about Mohanlal's filmography and it is precisely this anti-heroism that makes them so.

Overall it is a very good watch but there is an element of laziness when it comes to continuity in certain scenes. Also there are some scenes in which some characters just turn up conveniently for no apparent reason. The ending of the film seems very rushed and putting a time-bomb in a lorry doesn't seem that logical to take out a character as there is no guarantee that he will be in the lorry when it explodes, especially when timer is set for hours later. There is a unique visual tone to the film which gives it a Western feel sometimes and there are some great shots from under the lorry. Action sequences are very well done with a realness to it. Ending of the film have the protagonist getting arrested and you will really feel for the character in the same way that you felt for Mohanlal's character from 'Naduvazhikal'. A non-triumphant ending is something that you don't see nowadays in such kind of films and they always have laughably convoluted ways by which the hero escapes justice after killing dozens of people. Film was the highest grosser from 1995 and ran for a total of 225 days at the box office. 

Rating: 3.5/5