Based on Manjadikkuru director Anjali Menon’s fine script, the strength of the film include Anwar’s slick making, Lokanathan’s visuals, Gopi Sundar’s enchanting music and some fine performances.
Faizi (Dulquer Salmaan) has been living with his rich dad (Siddique) and four sisters in the Gulf. He goes to Switzerland to study hotel management and before settling down in London, he comes to their native place in Kozhikode. His father wants him to marry another rich man’s daughter Sahina (Nithya Menen) and they meet. It is one of the best scenes in the film
It turns out to be quite an eventful trip for the young man, as he becomes really close to his grandfather, Kareemikka (Thilakan), who runs a modest hotel called ‘Ustad Hotel’.
His stay in Kozhikode continues for a bit longer than what he had anticipated and during his stay with his grandfather, Faizi learns some new facts about life and the world around him. He realizes that money is not just what matter in this world.
The film begins in an excellent way and things get a bit slow especially in the second half. Perhaps the preachy tone towards the climax and the shift in focus at times, like the sequences involving the band for instance, could include the film’s weak links.
Dulquer Salmaan, who made an impressive acting debut with Second Show early this year, continues with his fine form. The inimitable Thilakan is brilliant as usual. Nithya Menen, who plays Faizi’s love interest Shahana is a scream. Tamil actor Jayaprakash makes an impressive debut as the benefactor of the poor and homeless.
The highlight of the film is Dulquer’s cool dude act, Anjali Menon’s script where she has shown modern Kozhikode Muslim milieu in a realistic manner, Anwar Rasheed’s packaging and Gopi Sundar’s background score and haunting songs.
Ustad Hotel may not shock you with some thrilling plots or dramatic twists, but it is an entertaining watch that can bring smiles on your faces or at certain other instances can make your eyes moist. It could definitely have been less lengthy and more gripping, but it is worth a watch even in this form.
Verdict: Go for it