Debutant director K B Venu's August Club, scripted by P Padmarajan's son Ananthapadmanabhan, is a journey into the intimate emotions of a devoted housewife.
Now, there is an advantage when you make virtuous movies, where the lead characters are all impulsive do-gooders. Such films usually move ahead on a similar track in which a slight aberration from their angelic ways will be the plot and it will all be sorted out to perfection before the end titles start rolling.
Savithri (Rima Kallingal) is happily married to Nandan (Murali Gopi), a well placed professional. They are living in an exotic bungalow with their two kids and all that the lady does to kill time is to keep herself ready to romance her husband, write poetry and play chess at ‘August Club’.
During a lonely period, when her husband was on a business trip and kids away with their grandparents, Savithri is attracted to a young man named Shishir (Praveen), who seems to know everything about Chess. The constant interactions with him, lines from Emily Dickinson's poems and an eventful trip to a place in Thrissur where the whole village is addicted to the game bring the two closer.
In all fairness, there is a genuine attempt to narrate a small but effective plot here. But the problem is the way it is being told.
The scenarist and the director have evidently decided on what should happen eventually and the characters are painfully drawn towards that, which affects the natural development of the story. The reasons become unconvincing as a result and Savithri's actions rarely find an explanation.
There are certain situations cooked up with some preconceived notions as well. Like, the husband for whom his wife is all about a machine to quench his sexual fantasies (perhaps the reason for the 'Adults Only' rating), the seduction provided by Chess, the sex-hungry female friend of Savithri, the Army man type character played by Thilakan, the tasteless dialogues rendered by the maid played by Sukumari and so on are examples.
The trip to the Thrissur village turns out to be the weakest link in the story and it never seems to end as well. There are constant shifts from focus and that takes the viewer away from the original plot, quite often.
Still, the film has its moments, especially with some dedicated performances by the film's lead cast. Sunil Sukhada, who is turning out to be a powerhouse performer in character roles, come up with a brief but interesting show.
August Club could have been much better but is not such a bad option on a weekend, especially when compared to most of the recent releases. Go with no big expectations and chances are that it could turn out to be an okay one-time watch.
Verdict: Above Average