It is still a Tuesday but I still have a couple of leftovers from the weekend. With that, I finished watching the new Malayalam film Poovan which is now streaming on Zee5. One of the reasons why I was looking forward to watching Poovan, apart from it being a Malayalam film is because it starred Antony Varghese who is a prolific performer. I had watched some of his earlier works like Angamaly Diaries, Jallikattu and Ajagajantharam and I was blown simply by the intensity of his performance. Each of those roles did require a sense of physicality to the characters, and Antony pulled it off with aplomb!
Poovan did seem like a feel-good kind of a film which was a far cry from Antony’s previous works. And I was really looking forward to seeing how he would adapt to the genre. Honestly, I was brushing through a few reviews and they didn’t quite exude the kind of confidence which one would associate with a Malayalam film. But by now my faith in Malayalam films is so strong that I would almost overrule everything that I read. So then does Poovan manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Poovan follows the story of a man suffering from insomnia who believes that much of his problems are related to a rooster in his neighbourhood. The story here has a unique concept to it and it does make for a pleasant watch with tinges of the feel-good vibe. To give you a perspective, this story is set in the mould of the Malayalam film Jo & Jo which was set in a small town and primarily worked on character dynamics and situations to fuel the narrative ahead. The screenplay standing at about a 130 minutes does make for a breezy watch but I still did feel that some part of the drama could have been edited out to reduce the overall length of the film. The concept here was good and ideal for a short film, however the writing fairs well in fleshing out a full blown screenplay.
The drama opens with the introduction of the protagonist who we are told, is suffering from insomnia pretty early on in the film. Slowly, you are also introduced to an interesting mix of characters that do promise for a joyride. Of all the problems in the world, who would have thought that just a little chick would create havoc in the life of the protagonist, so much so that his equation with everyone around him would suffer. And that is what forms the crux of this interesting tale.
The proceedings are engrossing and entertaining but I did not quite connect with the humour of the film. It was almost conversational in its template and it did make for some interesting conversations but the humour was slightly missing. Honestly, I don’t think the writers may have intended to integrate humour consciously, they seemed to be more dependent on the situations, which were fairly well written. The situations were almost independent on one another and did form for some interesting events but the best part was that they did not make the drama disjointed in any manner.
The events start to get a little repetitive in the second hour and I did feel either some of the drama here could have been edited out or atleast hurried through to reduce the overall runtime of the film. But it did not quite bother me to the point of me wanting to turn off the film. In fact, I was curious on where the drama is headed and how would the writers choose to end the drama. And that is where the drama does falter, in its final act. I feel the messaging was a bit confused on which side it ended to tilt towards. I personally feel that this was a lost opportunity because they could have ended the drama on a heartwarming note by almost manipulating the feelings of the protagonist and in turn the audience. But then taking nothing away from the drama which did have a feel-good vibe to it and did make for a good watch.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are light and frothy and make for a solid impact. The music is melodious and goes perfectly with the setting of the drama. The BGM is good as well. The cinematography and colour grading elevate the drama really well by almost giving it a fresh vibe. Director Vineeth Vasudevan does a good job here in telling a very unique tale, although his direction is a little rough around the edges as seen in the confused final act. But the skills are definitely in place and he shall only get better from here.
The performances are brilliant by the ensemble cast. Girish AD as Sudheer as his moments to shine as does Vineeth Vishwam who is quite good as Manu. Rinku Ranadeer as Diji is first rate. Anishma Anilkumar has a sweet presence onscreen and I really loved her little subplot of her eventually falling in love with a guy she didn’t see eye to eye with. Akhila Bhargavan as Veena is quite good and she does impress with her acting chops. Vineeth Vasudevan(who doubles up as an actor) as Kannan is terrific and does a swell job. Sajin Cherukayil as Benny is hilarious and shines so well in some of the comedy scenes with his impeccable comic timing. Antony Varghese as Hari is wonderfully restrained and looks comfortable in a genre which did initially seem to be outside his comfort zone. I quite liked his measured act here.
Despite its shortcomings, Poovan is a feel-good drama with good performances that can be watched once. Available on Zee5.