Critic's Rating: 17/5
Saturday 12 October 2013
Pratap Pothen, Raveendran, Maniyanpillai Raju, Vijayaraghavan, Babu Antony
Five friends, who studied in an old seminary school in Idukki, come together after 35 long years in Aashiq Abu's Idukki Gold. They all decide to go to their alma-mater on a trip that take them back to some good and some not-so-good memories.
Michael (Pratap Pothen) has come from Czechoslovakia and he places an advertisement in a daily to find his old friends. After some search, he manages to find Madan (Maniyanpillai Raju), Ravi (Raveendran), Raman (Vijayaraghavan) and Antony (Babu Antony).
Madan is running a cattle and agricultural nursery, Ravi is a struggling photographer, Raman is a government employee and Antony is running a restaurant with his French wife in Fort Kochi.
The story, originally written by Santosh Echikkanam and made into a script by Shyam Pushkaran and Dileesh Nair, has a decent premise and the film has some nice moments. The entire first half is aimed at evoking some nostalgic feelings, with some fine scenes.
On second thoughts, the film has 'drugs' as its backdrop and it has been shown all along as something normal. The protagonists get into a high without any kind of remorse or after-thoughts. In fact, the real stars of the film are the five artistes who played the younger version of the gang. They are having a blast during the school days and are enjoying life to the hilt.
But at no point in the film you will understand why the stories of these men are so special? Maybe it is in tune with the current trend in Malayalam where booze, drugs, double meaning dialogues and womanizing are labeled as entertainments.
The holes in the script are evident when the interesting chapters to which the narrative is divided initially, vanishes after a while without any credible reasoning. The mention of the controversial Rajan episode and the involvement of a former Kerala chief minister end up looking like a mimicry skit.
It is not sure what the makers of the film were thinking when a funny scene was created with Raveendran praying in front of a photograph of late Tamil actor Raghuvaran, as he starts the day smoking a joint. You can include sequences like this making fun of a real life person and get away under the excuse of calling it comedy?
Let's make this clear. We are ready to accept a movie without a conventional or a hard-hitting storyline, if it is entertaining. But the film never really succeeds beyond a point in that way and Aashiq Abu tries his best by packaging the whole film deliciously. Shyju Khalid is amazing with his camera and Biji Bal's music is good.
The five lead actors and their younger versions have done it all with real honesty. Pratap Pothen is genuine, Raveendran stands out with his smart one-liners, Vijayaraghavan looks confused and Maniyanpillai Raju hams it up at times.
Nostalgia has been shown in various forms in Malayalam from Classmates to 2 Harihar Nagar or in Bollywood films like 3 Idiots, during recent years. Here it is limited to some rather ordinary adventures by a group of school students. Babu Antony's character has perhaps been inspired from Arjun Rampal's role in Rock On!! The rest of the cast, including Lal, Joy Mathew, Sajitha Madathil and Praseeda have limited roles to play.
The trailer of Idukki Gold was quite impressive, but it backfires when you learn that all the best moments in the film have been included in it. And one could be confused if the film is actually promoting the use of drugs in the guise of entertainment! If you are fine about all this, the film may work for you.