Thursday, November 12, 2015

ഇടുക്കി ഗോൾഡ്‌ (Idukki Gold) (2013)

Director: Aashiq Abu
Writers:  Dileesh Nair, Syam Pushkaran
Cast:       Maniyanpilla Raju, Babu Antony, Shebin Benson, Vijayaraghavan, Prathap Pothen, Raveendran, Anil, Anoop, Fabin Raveendran
Language: Malayalam

Five friends get separated during their school days, meet up after 35 years and decide to head back to their school in order to relive their teenage indulgence- smoke joints of marijuana that was exclusively available in Idukki. Its better known as "Idukki Gold". As the movie concludes they realize that true Idukki Golds was their friendship and not marijuana that they were searching for. 

The film begins with one of them coming back from Czechoslovakia and taking out a classified ad requesting his long lost friends to meet up. The film proceeds as a series of vignettes from both the past and the present without a story structure. Malayalees are so used to the three act structure of storytelling that they soundly rejected this effort from Ashiq Abu, which is a shame. Nostalgia has been a very marketable genre for Malayalam films recently and the film makes a couple of in-jokes on that. You can also see the Grindhouse effect on the film with the past portion getting that treatment. Visuals are quite stunning and the Idukki locales are always a guarantee for that. It is a habit in Malayalam films these days to unnecessarily bring great visual greenery when the film or the story does not really warrant it. That is not the case with this one. One gripe I have with this film is that it relies too much on coincidences in meeting up with many of its characters. Many of them are totally unnecessary and are just there for the sake of including some of the comedy scenes. The characterization of  the uptight French wife was also a bit off. The awkwardness in meeting up after 35 years is conveyed very well though.

Overall it is a good watch and is Ashiq Abu's best film so far in my opinion. I didn't like '22 Female Kottayam', his most acclaimed film, and 'Salt n Pepper' was a decent watch. Better to not talk about 'Gangster'. Aashiq Abu tries to do something different in each of his efforts but generally falls back to rely on traditional tricks ultimately to make them commercially viable. It is also true for this film as he goes for an unnecessarily dramatic ending that is totally out of sync with the rest of the film. I wish he had stayed true to its original intention. The performances from the young actors who play their old selves are really good. BGM and the couple of songs in it, done by Bijibal,  are also very good. The film was adapted from Santhosh Echikkanam's short story with the same name. 

Rating: 3/5