Sunday, April 23, 2017

രക്ഷാധികാരി ബൈജു ഒപ്പ് (Rakshadhikari Baiju, Oppu) (2017)

Director: Ranjan Pramod
Writers: Ranjan Pramod, T S Arjun
DOP: Prasanth Raveendran
Cast: Biju Menon, Aju Varghese, Janardhanan
Language: Malayalam

Baiju is a slacker kind of Government officer whose highlight of the day is the time he spends with youngsters on the ground every evening playing cricket. He is 44 years old and is the captain of sports group 'Kumbalam Brothers' which he had co-established as an eight year old. The members had come and gone and he had been the only permanent fixture.

The ground that they play in is quite small and is the kind that we used to play. It is not basically a ground but just a backyard with just sufficient tree clearance to have a pitch set up and play. When we were growing up, surrounding area was undergoing the process of wetlands getting filled up in order to construct houses on them. Once it is filled up, there would be a time gap for the construction to start and we had the place for ourselves to play cricket. Once the construction starts we'll have to look for some other place to play and over the course of me getting from 10-15 years old, we had three such places which got filled up and now three houses stand there. I guess we played a part in getting the soil set.

Above paragraph is what the film is about. It will make you nostalgic in a good way. None of us had any pretensions about being serious cricketers and it was just time-pass. That is what makes this film different from 1983, which was a bit more fairytale like. It doesn't have any storyline per say and is just a series of things that happen without any great resolution. They had a rich friend guy of the protagonist set up during the interval point to save the day during climax, which is a clichéd tradition of Malayalam cinema (Think Balettan). Thankfully, they don't go that route and it is so refreshing to see a light film sans a contrived happy ending. Another good thing is that it didn't feel the need to hammer its 'Message' into your head with a sledgehammer.

Ranjan Pramod had a series of hits in early to mid noughties as a writer and had completely disappeared off the radar after his directorial effort 'Photographer' bombed very badly at the box office. I had seen that film in an almost empty theatre back then. He was the writer to give Sathyan Anthikkadu his last good films. It is really great to see him back. It is a dark horse at the box office and hopefully won't be swept away by the tyranny of Bahubali which is set to hit screens next week. Eros being the distributor gives me hope. Do watch it in a hall with good sound system because the dialogues can be a bit hard to catch. Do watch it if you want to catch a simple film without any melodrama.

Rating: 4/5