Sunday, February 14, 2016

ഞാൻ സ്റ്റീവ് ലോപ്പസ് (Njan Steve Lopez) (2014)

Director: Rajeev Ravi
Writers:  Santhosh Aechikannam, Ajithkumar, Rajesh Ravi, Geethu Mohandas
Cast:       Farhaan Faasil, Alancier Lay, Sujith Shankar
Language: Malayalam

A moody and confused college going teenager witnesses a gang attack and as his curiosity behind the encounter starts to get the better of him, he realizes that his DYSP dad and the Police are also involved. 

I was slightly put off by the above synopsis as it sounds like some cliched shit. That was before I had watched Rajeev Ravi's debut film- 'Annayum Rasoolum'. It was a film which I was able to finish on my third try only because of the poor sound quality of it on small screen. It had sync sound and the TV broadcast of Malayalam channels is such that you get really terrible output from it. Rajeev Ravi films are ones which you cannot really go by a simple synopsis of the plot because it happens to be much more than about a plot per se. H goes for extreme realism and rich characters and it worked out well for him in his debut film, which was surprisingly a box office success. One fault I found with that one was its running time and he rectifies that in 'Njan Steve Lopez, which is around two hours long. It is also a better film than 'AR' with a a very ambiguous plot and the director deciding to not spell it out for the audience. Unsurprisingly, this time, it was a box office disaster.

The greatest thing about the film is its ambiguity. It is not out of the shock of learning some undesirable things about his father that he decides to act out. His father, played by the excellent Alancier Lay, is a rough character from the beginning. There was not much love lost between them because of the incident. He is just confused and is going with the flow of things as per what he can understand about the situation. There is a certain amount of naivety in how he perceives things and it is not as if the actions of the Police, from what we can decipher, are all that bad. The gangster (Sujith Shankar), with whom he bonds over his own kidnapping (Stockholm Syndrome), was the one who killed a gangster in front of him. It could be that the Police was just facilitating the rival gangsters to restore order by giving them opportunity to exact their revenge. One could even make another film telling this tale from the perspective of his father. 

Overall it is a great watch in the style you would expect from Rajeev Ravi. He even managed to sneak in a wanking scene in what I figure to be a 'U' rated film. It didn't get a DVD release and was made available for streaming through Reelmonk. The film marked the debuts of Alancier Lay and Sujith Shankar in a significant sense and both of them star in very good roles in the recent release 'Maheshinte Prathikaram'. It was also the feature film debut for Farhaan Faasil, in the titular role, and what I heard about him was that his performance was very one note. I am not a big fan of nepotism in Malayalam film industry but his performance was quite good and it was exactly what was required for this film. I just wish I could see this film on a big screen. 

Rating: 5/5