Friday, November 6, 2015

Ben (2015)

Director: Vipin Atlee
Writer:    Vipin Atlee
Cast:       Gaurav Menon, Adish Praveen, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Anjali Upasana, Nila Noushad
Language: Malayalam

Film revolves around the titular character Ben (Gaurav Menon) and holds a mirror to society. It delves into things like goodness of Joint families, badness of nuclear families, goodness of small schools, badness of English medium schools for upper-middle-class and Kerela society's propensity to resort to God and religion which inevitably pushes them into the exploiting arms of religious freaks, Godmen/Godwomen etc.

As can be seen from the synopsis, the film is not a fan of subtlety. I prefer films to deal with things like these in a subtle manner which is not to say that you cannot make good films by being deliberately unsubtle. K. G. George's comedy classic 'Panchavadipalam' is a prime example for that. In 'Ben', debutant director Vipin Atlee, has made a conscious decision to have cartoonish characters and unsubtle treatment. Problem for me is that the funny bits are not funny enough and you get a sense that he is trying to have a rant through the medium against things that he thinks need attention. He has stated in an interview that the film and its story is very close to him as it is autobiographical and I would presume he might be the peripheral elder cousin. It does carry the 'Based on a True Story' tag on its sleeve. That can be an excuse for going over the top since the audience give you some leeway automatically. I just feel that he over-played his hand. It is another one of these social message films with some relevance and can be a decent watch for its target audience. 

The largely unknown cast does a decent job and the kids in it have a certain rawness which is good. Film is technically good with dynamic camera movements. The exploitative religious characters and such sequences are done quite well and the film could get some fillip if there is some unwarranted protests against it. It is not really a children's film and could become a TV hit in future.

Rating: 2/5