We are still at the start of the week and I decided to handpick a film from my never ending watch list and review it. And I finished watching Driving License on Amazon Prime. The thing why this film was in my watchlist for a very long time was that I had watched Ayyappanum Koshiyum(AK) a while back(whose review can be found on the site) which was brilliant and almost immediately stumbled on this film too. The screenplay here was penned by Late Sachy who was the directed of AK. And it had a very similar premise. That was the sole repelling factor of getting into the mood of watching this film. Last night I decided to give this film a shot amidst much skepticism. Does this film manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Driving Licence follows the story of an ego clash between A reigning Superstar in the Film Industry and a Motor Vehicle Inspector when the former is asked to visit the RTO to renew his driving license. If you look closely that is the exact same plot in a different setting in Ayyappanum Koshiyum. But herein lies the brilliance of Malayalam Cinema. The treatment is so different that all my skepticism almost vanished in the first 5 minutes of the film. The screenplay is brilliantly penned like is the case in all Malayalam films. While AK had a more intense screenplay and equally strong headed characters, the tone of the film is different here. So the two individuals that are introduced here are polar opposites. The character of the Inspector is shown to be this gullable man who happens to be a fan of the superstar. So the friction here is almost not present at the very beginning which is very refreshing. Also the situational comedy introduced here is a highlight here. It instantly puts a smile on your face. By the time things begin to escalate between the two individuals, you are well versed with both the characters – and you don’t hate either of them, instantly both of them are affable here, something which was very well done in AK too. This is the brilliance of Malayalam Cinema. Almost the same trajectory is followed in both AK and Driving License right in front of your eyes. Yet, it never feels that the two films are similar, none of them eat into each other’s territory. Additionally, some of the social issues are smary integrated in the screenplay featuring “blind” fans of the superstar. The twists are turns provided here will keep you engaged culminating into a heartwarming yet hilarious final act. This film wasn’t so much about toxic masculinity as seen in AK. Instead, this was more of an ego clash between two very affable individuals. A brilliantly executed screenplay this!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are excellent here and do enough to lift the mood of the film. The music gels well with the drama, the BGM is exceptional whether it was during the entry of the superstar on the big screen(a clever simulation of the massy films that are showcased today) or the tensions escalating between two individuals. The cinematography is yet again outstanding. Director Lal Jr does a brilliant job keeping the tone of the film intact. The situations that are created allow the audience’s sympathy to be divided between the two protagonists and this is truely the victory of the director.
The performances are brilliant. Deepti Sati as Bhama looks so pretty and does a fabulous job in a cameo. Mia George as Elsa is equally brilliant as Elsa. The expressions that she brings to the table will make you chuckle. Saiju Kurup as Johnny Peringodan as the goofy politician will definitely tickle your funny bone. Prithviraj Sukumaran as Hareendran has super stardom written all over him. He puts up a towering act yet again, a character with so many layered beyond the super stardom that the audience generally see. But my pick of the actors is Suraj Venjaramoodu as Kuruvilla, the inspector. Such an endearing character, he will put a smile on your face in the first half while you continue to sympathise with him in the second half. He is the same actor who was in not so much of a likable role in The Great Indian Kitchen. These two roles are polar opposites of each other and it showcases his wide range as an actor.
Driving License may seem similar to Ayyappanum Koshiyum but is equally enjoyable and another winner from the Malayalam Industry. Available on Amazon Prime and Highly Recommended.