Friday, April 8, 2016

ജേക്കബിന്റെ സ്വർഗ്ഗരാജ്യം (Jacobinte Swargarajyam) (2016)

Director: Vineeth Sreenivasan
Writer:    Vineeth Sreenivasan
Cast:         Nivin Pauly, Renji Panicker, Lakshmy Ramakrishnan 
Language: Malayalam

The film's title translates as 'Jacob's Heaven' and the Jacob in the title role is played by Renji Panicker, who is a successful businessman in Dubai with a settled family and four kids. During the aftermath of 2008 financial crisis, which hit Dubai rather badly, Jacob is cheated by his business partner and their business goes for a toss. Jacob had to go away and the rest of the story follows how his eldest son gets back their shit together.

First things first, I am not a fan of Vineeth Sreenivasan's films. Twenty minutes is all I lasted when I tried watching both 'Malarvadi Arts Club' and 'Thattathil Marayathu'. Vadakkan Selfie had a decent first half and its comedy worked well even though they were very skit like. So you can take my opinion with a pinch of salt if you are a fan of those films. That said, it is new territory for Vineeth, with this film being mainly for family audience.

The film has got the ultimate excuse for all its clichés with the tagline that it is based on a true story. One could argue that clichés exist because that's what happens in real life and it gets reflected in the cinema. But you have to make it interesting enough to make them a tolerable watch. Jacob is shown as a shrewd businessman with a heart of gold and an ideal family. Among his four children, one of them is the clichéd rebel, and two of them got a smile always plastered on to their face. Nivin is the normal sort of elder son. The way they show Jacob getting cheated, for such a shrewd businessman that he is, is laughably bad and they also introduce a cartoonish villain to make it simplistic enough for the audience. It seems that all business deals in Dubai involves cash only, like it is for real estate in Kerala. The money that Jacob owes to investors is 13 crores, very helpfully converted and told to audience, and shouldn't be a big deal for a family that is portrayed in first half in the first place.

During the second half of the film, Vineeth plays it safe by adding a dose of comedy, that is very near to his comfort zone. The main problem with the film is that it is all too predictable and is never interesting enough to make it a tolerable watch. At close to 150 minutes, it is just a tedious watch, even though it is shot very well.

As far as performances are concerned, Nivin was in the background for most of first half and he did very well there, making his presence felt whenever required. In the second half, he defaults back into his comfort zone along with the director. Songs in it are rather good, like your would expect in a Vineeth film. Renji Panicker does rather well considering the fact that he has to do a lot of preachy stuff during the first half. The ultimate failure of the film is that, it had to resort to words to preach us about the greatness of family, which shows a lack of confidence from the makers. The lines from the mother character, proclaiming the awesomeness of her being an 'Achayathi' were pure cringe. To sum up, it is a tedious watch where everything is rather too predictable. That said, it should do well at the box office as it is quite an inoffensive watch for a family audience who generally like simplistic stuff.

Rating: 1.5/5