After working with Mammootty in a few movies like Kalikalam, Golanthara Varthakal etc., Sathyan Anthikad now gets the chance to work with his son, Dulquer Salmaan in his latest family entertainer, Jomonte Suvisheshangal. Dulquer is one of the hottest stars down South and his fans are eagerly waiting for his every release. Premam fame Anupama Parameswaran and Attakathi star Aishwarya Rajesh are the heroines in the movie. Here’s our review for the first major Malayalam release of 2017…
What’s it about
Jomon (Dulquer Salmaan) is the youngest and the most pampered son of a Thrissur based businessman Vincent (Mukesh). Jomon is a carefree and irresponsible young man, who missed his sister’s wedding because he was caught drunk driving, and even ruins a couple of businesses his father had set up for him. Though Vincent is very business-minded and is wary of Jomon’s lax attitude, he shares a brotherly like bond with his son. In between, Jomon also falls in love with Catherine (Anupama Parameswaran), a rich heiress. Their idyllic existence is shattered when Vincent suffers losses in business and is rendered a pauper. While the rest of his siblings desert his father in these unfortunate circumstances, Jomon takes it upon himself to take care of Vincent and bring back his old glory.
Who doesn’t like a tale of warm relationships that thrive even in trying circumstances? That’s what Sathyan Anthikad plans to achieve through his latest movie. The story of father and son sharing a friendly bond, and of a hero rising through ashes like a phoenix is something we have always loved in countless Malayalam flick. So Sathyan Anthikad has a comfortable, safe subject to charm his audience, though whether he does a good job at it or not is something that needs to be discussed in another section. But what the veteran director does best is provide a few heartwarming moments, mostly courtesy through the relationship between Vincent and Jomon. While the screenplay strays a lot in the first half taking its own sweet to get to the point, the second half fares slightly better when Vincent and Jomon try to make the best of their miserable circumstances. It’s in these moments that show the flair of the director. But more than the narrative, it is the fantastic performances of Dulquer Salmaan and Mukesh that hold the all the brittle portions of the movie. Dulquer Salmaan uses his charm to get through a role that he can perform even in his sleep. Mukesh once again proves why he is the most loved and yet one of the most underrated actors in Malayalam cinema with yet another terrific performance. Whatever smiles Jomonte Suvisheshangal manage to elicit is mostly through the camaraderie of these two.
While Dulquer and Mukesh make things bearable for us, the rest of the movie falls into a predictable mess. This is certainly one of Sathyan Anthikad’s weakest efforts, even fragile than 2015’s Ennum Eppozhum (which only worked because of the casting of Mohanlal and Manju Warrier). It’s really sad to see the man who gave us some glorious, rewatchable movies in the ’80s and ’90s had to resort to rehashing his old gems to make his latest assembly line project. So you can recognise shades of Veendum Chila Veettukaryangal, Varavelpu, Manassinakkare and Katha Thudarunnu in Jomonte Suvisheshangal. But more than the director, it’s Iqbal Kuttipuram’s screenplay that needs to be blamed. I do wonder what made the makers go for a theme that Vineeth Sreenivasan and Nivin Pauly did with tremendous success in last year’s Jacobinte Swargarajyam, which is still fresh in everyone’s minds. Not only does Jomonte Suvisheshangal look like a muddled version of the 2016 hit, the way Jomon gets his father out of the financial crisis is so weakly handled that we wonder if those portions are written by a fourth grader. Brilliant actors like Innocent, Muthumani, Irshad, Sivaji Guruvayur are underutilized, as their characters are tropes we see in a lot of this director’s previous movies, as they disappear almost entirely in the second half. Anupama Parameswaran gets absolutely no scope in a sketchily written character while her chemistry with Dulquer leaves a lot to be desired. The other heroine, Aishwarya Rajesh, fares far better but even her character comes across more as a mandatory romantic angle to Jomon rather than a strong female role as Samyuktha Varma played in Veendum Chila Veettukaryangal. Jacob Gregory is cast only to exploit his ABCD connection with the lead star. The music is passable at best.
Even the humour, one of the biggest strengths in any Sathyan Anthikad movie, is patchy here. Last but not least, there is a trend I have been noticing in some of our recent movies about making fun of migrants who come to work in Kerala for their daily food and wages. Have we Mallus forgotten that there is no corner left in this world where we won’t find someone who would greet us saying ‘Hi macha!!!’?
What to do
As the first major release of 2017, Jomonte Suvishesangal is certainly a disappointment, especially as it comes from the vision of Sathyan Anthikad, many of whose movies are my favourites. Dulquer Salmaan’s youth appeal may bring in the crowds, and certain portions of him with Mukesh may be touching at times. But the lack of strong narrative and a cliched, predictable storyline will turn you off.