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Gold

Farhad Dalal
By-
Farhad Dalal
Rating
2.5 Star popcorn reviewss

Introduction

After a day of wild celebrations owing to my birthday and a day off, deservedly so, I am back to the grind. While the birthday hangover is still on, I managed to finish watching the new Malayalam movie Gold which is now streaming on Amazon Prime. The film had a hush hush theatrical release with the makers opting for a fresh strategy of not launching the trailer or teaser of the film. According to me, this is the way to go as the audience would then enter theatres without having an iota of what to expect in the film. I am all for this strategy, however a part of me was skeptical in thinking that what if the movie was a complete mess prompting the makers to release the film with zero promotions. But with a stellar cast and the fact that this was a Malayalam film, and moreover the director of the film being the brain behind Premam, I did have hopes from the film. While the reports during its theatrical run were not the best, I still did have my hope intact as I ventured into Gold. So then is Gold worth your time, stay tuned.

Story & Screenplay

Gold follows the story of a man who in a strange turn of events finds gold at an unexpected place. What happens next? The story here had all the right ingredients for a chaotic rib-tickling comedy. But the screenplay here standing at 165 minutes is overstretched and convoluted, although there are moments of brilliance as well.

Set against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, the drama here starts off on a splendid note. The setup is very interesting with a stalled vehicle containing speakers found at the doorstep of the protagonist. The events seem organic with a tinge of situational humour sprinkled in it. To give you a perspective, when the protagonist does go to the police station to file a complaint, even the police station has a vehicle with timber stalled at their doorstep. Ridiculously funny. The first 40 odd minutes are the ‘gold’en period for this drama wherein I thought, right what is all the fuss about, related to the criticism of the film. Things take a slight wrong turn on the revelation of the conflict where the protagonist discovers gold in the vehicle.

The issue with the drama is that it wishes to say many things at once but it does make a bit of a mess here, although the drama is watchable. There are so many characters in the screenplay that come and go that do make for a visual delight. But the purpose of every character is questionable. The writers do seem to add infinite subplots, each with promise which does manage to excite the audience. However, once the excitement of the audience reaches its peak, for some odd reason, the writers do not reach it towards the conclusion and instead leave the subplots rather timidly towards its closure. The viewers would surely feel cheated here because the proceedings did have a lot of potential. The best part of the screenplay is its main plot but the focus is somehow not quite there on it. Had the focus of the drama been right, the film would have reached its desired impact.

The criss-cross of the subplots do result in decent amount of laughter amidst a lot of chaos. But I was overwhelmingly disappointed with the ending which was just so bad. I mean why would you opt for such a flat ending when you did have the potential to get all characters under one roof resulting in a crescendo of chaos. The ending was probably the weakest that I have witnessed for a Malayalam film this year which was straight forward and timid whereas it could easily have been layered and chaotic. So overall, the screenplay here is underwhelming and a clear case of a ‘gold’en opportunity missed!

Dialogues, Music & Direction

The dialogues are witty and quite well written that do have a desired impact. The music is good here with some peppy numbers, the BGM has a streak of comedy to it that makes for a terrific impact. The unsung heroes of the film are the cinematography and the editing both of which go hand in hand. The editing here adopts a different pattern, often linking the situation and the characters to parts of nature. So while a scene is unfolding, a quick snip to nature before falling back on the scene was a refreshing approach. Elsewhere, the constant forward and backward motions of characters coupled by a quick zoom in and at times a split screen, was a clever use of both the departments. So technically, the film is revolutionary in more ways than one. Director Alphonse Puthren who is the man behind a classic like Premam does show brilliance in the first 40 minutes before tapering off. To be fair, his direction is not bad but the finishing moves are a serious issue here which does make the film a underwhelming experience.

Performances

The performances comprise of the whose who of the Malayalam film industry. Some of the artists that I spotted was Roshan Matthew, Soubin Shahir, Krishna Shankar, Saiju Kurup, Sharath Saxena, Sharafudheen and Vinay Forrt, all of whom do make a nice little guest appearance. Nayanthara as Sumangali is wasted here although she looks quite pretty. Lalu Alex as Idea Shaji is decent, Shammi Thilakan as Unnikrishnan is good. Baburaj as Rakesh is first rate. But the show belongs to Prithviraj Sukumaran who as Joshi makes for an impactful viewing. He is terrific in comedy as well as a few combat scenes and he has a great screen presence as well.

Conclusion

Gold is a promising yet underwhelming comedy that is a case of a lost ‘gold’en opportunity. Available on Amazon Prime.

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