|Jayasurya, Nyla Usha|
In a land where comedy sells more than any other genre, Ranjith Sankar’s Punyalan Agarbathis could be something to cheer about. The wafer thin storyline has been peppered with some good performances and fantastic music, which is sure to work well with the audience.
The historic land called Thrissur and the unique accent of the natives there attains the prime importance here as a local lad Joy Thakkolkkaran (Jayasurya), a wannabe youth with skyhigh dreams, becomes the protagonist. After proving a failure in several business ventures, his latest adventure is to make incense sticks from elephant dung and he has named his brand, ‘Punyalan Agarbathis’.
With a supportive wife, Anu (Nyla Usha) and a close friend, curiously named Greenu Sharma (Aju Varghese), Joy goes around collecting elephant dung from anywhere he can find a tusker! Joining them in the venture is a local driver named Abhayakumar (Sreejith Ravi).
But the story wanders around without a definite direction, after the initial laughs while establishing the characters. At best, it turns out to be a social satire scripted by a couch potato, whose analysis of the world around is based on his assumptions, without getting out of the cool comforts of his room.
The script is in fact an overdose of a few aspects like the pains that the protagonist takes in collecting the dung, the Thrissur accent, a caricature of a courtroom, the concern about the politicos and the frequent harthals in the state.
Jayasurya’s mimicking of the Thrissur accent looks fine, though it is never in the league of what Mammootty did spectacularly in Pranchiyettan and the Saint. The social concerns and the hypocrisy of the politicians are mostly superficial, unlike some of those fantastic social satires in the past like Sandesham, Vellanakalude Nadu, Varavelpu or a more recent, Arabikkatha.
But then, Ranjith Sankar and his team clearly suggest that this one is not meant to be taken too seriously. Sujith Vasudev’s visuals are top notch and Biji Bal’s superb music needs an applause.
Jayasurya performs with dedication and confidence, coming up with easily one of the best performances in his career. He shares a charming chemistry with Nyla Usha, who looks really good.
Sreejith Ravi is a revelation and displays his versatility, along with good performances from Sunil Sugatha and Rachana Narayanankutty. The rest of the cast, which includes Aju Varghese, Innocent and Edavela Babu, are fine.
Punyalan Agarbathis may be far from perfect as a social satire, but the film has its moments. Let’s say, it’s like your picture of what is happening around you, if you rely on Facebook more than the dailies or news channels. It’s a decent entertainer by all means. Grab your pack of popcorn and enjoy this one!