A Sweet-Natured Romance That Needed To Be Sharper, Quirkier

Director: Shamzu Zayba

Forged: Anu Sithara, Jacob Gregory, Shine Tom Chacko

Shamzu Zayba’s Maniyarayile Ashokan is about in a village the place the scent of affection fills the air. The opening credit seem over an object of affection (Unnimaya, performed by Anu Sithara), who makes each single man pine for her with a lovelorn sigh as she walks previous them in gradual movement, to the strains of a track. There’s the sense of wanting somebody who’s method out of your league, and appropriately, we segue proper to our protagonist, Ashokan (the affable Jacob Gregory). It’s the day of his marriage ceremony, however at night time, his bride — whose face we don’t see but — asks him a wierd query. Is it true that he was married earlier? Is it true that he has two kids? Earlier than we will be taught the reply, we lower to the previous, the place one other lovely lady walks via one other track. It’s one other stretch in gradual movement. Who’s this, now? And the story begins.

Ashokan is a lowly clerk in a lowly authorities workplace. His “drawback” is that — as a potential bride who’s out of his league places it — he’s not tall, not truthful, not engaging. Aren’t there quick, darkish, completely odd wanting ladies on this village, who’d don’t have any qualms about marrying this very good, very respectable man? That’s one thing the movie doesn’t hassle itself with, in any other case there’d be no story. (I nonetheless want they’d addressed this concern.) Each lady Ashokan considers (one in all them even falls for him) is heroine-pretty; in different phrases, method method method out of his league. Someway, nothing works out. Ashokan seems longingly at a newly married colleague, who will get on his bike and asks his spouse to wrap her arms round his waist. He even envies his father’s knee aches, as a result of the person has a loving spouse to therapeutic massage natural oil into his joints.

Maniyarayile Ashokan is sweet-natured and laborious to dislike, however the writing is flat and it’s laborious to care about anybody’s plight. Shine Tom Chacko performs Ashokan’s buddy Shaiju, who’s estranged from his spouse and younger son. The author (Vineeth Krishnan, working from a narrative concept by Magesh Boji) doesn’t assume it’s essential to inform us why. The observe is sort of redundant, and the way in which it resolves itself is sort of insulting. One other buddy, Ratheesh (Krishna Sankar), comes with one other half-baked relationship observe. He’s nearly redundant, too. Shaiju, in a few scenes, comes throughout as a power teller of tall tales. Folks chuckle at his exaggerations, however this trait disappears nearly as quickly because it seems. Like most issues within the film it provides as much as nothing. Nothing that occurs with them, to them, round them impacts our understanding of Ashokan in any important method.

If all you need is to spend two hours in a pleasing method, with delicate laughs, you can do worse. However with this premise, this movie ought to have been a lot better. I considered Amol  Palekar‘s Thodasa Roomani Ho Jayen (1990), the place Anita Kanwar performed an ordinary-looking lady whose lack of ability to discover a man turns into everyone’s enterprise. That movie went into some very darkish locations. There was despair, despair. There was additionally a way of self-discovery, emancipation. Maniyarayile Ashokan is content material to be “cute”. Even at his lowest, Ashokan by no means comes throughout as something greater than rattling I missed the bus and now I’ve to stroll sad. In making an attempt to make the proceedings “entertaining”, the movie cheats its protagonist, who stays a flat line from begin to end. We get an individual. We don’t get any character.

There are too many songs (by Sreehari Ok Nair). There’s an excessive amount of gradual movement. There are useless star cameos — they’re actually enjoyable, however they yank the movie out of its small, unassuming world. The one time I began to get into the movie was when Ashokan does one thing the remainder of us would take into account “mad”. It’s a captivating growth. However this quirky detour wanted a quirkier screenplay. Take Trance. The protagonist is off, and the writing is equally off. Some tales can’t be instructed straight, and so they can’t be instructed “cute”. (Put in a different way, if you wish to give the viewers an excellent time, you shouldn’t go close to this type of story.) By not wading into darker waters, Maniyarayile Ashokan comes off as a disappointingly shallow expertise.

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