|Sreenivasan, Mammootty, Meena, Jagathish|
Once again in Katha Parayumbol, Srini is brilliant as the common man, a barber E.P Balan who is principled and fighting a losing battle against corruption and craze to acquire all creature comforts in life. He makes digs at his own physical appearance, colour of his skin, loaded statements against the Marxist, state of the nation after liberlisation and arrival of multi-nationals in the retail sector, role of Christian missionary schools, and other favourite punching bags. Sreenivasan and Mukesh are the producers of the film directed by the writer’s brother-in-law M.Mohanan.
The story is about a commoner Balan (Sreenivasan) a barber, in Melekavu village somewhere in Idukki district who runs the run-down 'New Kerala Saloon' and lives in abject poverty with his family consisting of his wife Sridevi (Meena), two daughters and a son. Balan is struggling to keep afloat with his old tools, as he cannot find anyone who would give him a loan to modernize his shop without taking a bribe and competition from rival 'Modern Hair Stylist' run by a slimy character (Jagadish) is killing! Added to that, being a Puniyavalan( principled man) living in a house with no basic amenities, three school going kids in a convent school makes him a butt of ridicule among the villagers!
All that changes one-day when superstar Asok Raj (Mammootty) comes to the sleepy village to shoot his new film Pakshikal Parakate. Life takes a U-turn for Balan as the superstar crazy villagers come to know that Balan is a childhood friend of Asok Raj! Now all the villagers who spurned Balan want to be his friend, so that they can get close to the superstar and go on a celebrity chase. But Balan is made of different mettle and refuses to acknowledge or meet Asok Raj, leading to a stunning climax.
The writer Sreenivasan and his director Mohanan has skillfully caricatured the characters you meet in a remote village- the moneylender and local 'blade' Eapacchan Muthalali (Innocent), Das Kattumantha(Salim Kumar), the boring village bard, guy(Mukesh) who runs the local tutorial college, rival hair stylist(Jagadish) tea shop owner(Mamookoya), self centered local politician who always talks about his connections(Augustine). Sreenivasan has also explored the craze among ordinary people for getting close or seen with a superstar. There is also a message that stars become superstars only because of their script writers who have given them memorable roles. The comedy laced satirical song 'Vyathyasthanaaya…. tuned by M.Jayachandran is a rocker. P.Sukumaran camera has beautifully etched out the Thodupuzha countryside.
The film with a wafer thin story line works big time due to its climax, which has been worked out very well by Sreenivasan and a riveting performance by Mammootty. Everybody in the film from Sreenivasan, Meena to the girl playing his eldest daughter, Innocent, Sooraj Venjaranmoodu, Salim Kumar, Mukesh, Jagadish and others are all apt for the characters they enact which has made the film touching and appealing to the audiences.
Katha Parayumbol is a rollicking comedy that cracks with verve and also pulls at your heart strings. Hats off to you Sreenivasan, you have given us an enjoyable Christmas outing. Go for it!
Verdict: Very Good