Director: Anil Radhakrishnan Menon
Producer: Prem Menon
Production Co: United Global Media Entertainments
Music Director: Rex Vijayan
Cast: Kunchacko Boban, Sunny Wayne, Reenu Mathews, Bharath, Chemban Vinod Jose, Divya darshan, Jacob Gregory, Nedumudi Venu, Sudheer Karamana, Sudhi Koppa, Subiksha, Nebish Benson, Priyalal
Anil Radhakrishnan Menon aspires to whip up a real socially significant film with his latest cinematic endeavour ‘Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi’, but has to make do with a middling output that never actually gains steam. Hampered by a flimsy script that fails to hold ground, ‘Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi’ is an ambitious venture that at the end of the day, never gets to feel the stars.
A group of seven people – Menon (Nedumudi Venu), a retired civil servant, Madhumita (Reenu Mathews), one of the best gun testers in the country, Neelakantan (Vinod Jose), a zoology professor, Ananthakrishnan (Jacob Gregory), a renowned chemical engineer, Sam (Bharath), nature lover and adventurer and Beeran (Sunny Wayne), a young magician – find themselves on the border lines of a forest, into which they are led by their guide (Sudheer Karamana). They have arrived on the behest of Philippose John Varkey (Kunchacko Boban) – survivalist , sound engineer and conservationist – all rolled into one, who inform them of a unique civilization at 7000 Kandi, a village that is embedded deep inside the lush forests.
The basic issue on which ‘Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi’ expresses a deep concern, is the much discussed theme of deforestation at the cost of perturbing the precarious balance of nature. The film takes quite a while to get its point across, and even when it does, the impact that it leaves in the viewer minds is minimum.
The first hour of the film is bountifully spent on establishing its lead characters, and while some of them leave a smile on you (like Neelakantan, for instance, who is obsessed with animal excreta), there are others like Sam and Madhu who thrive on the dramatics associated with their past lives. There are a few highly inflated ones like Ananthakrishnan, whose attempts to make you chuckle, are far from satisfactory.
The film is littered with loopholes all over, the major one being the trudging across the jungle that is made out to be one in which the travellers brave all odds to make it to 7000 Kandi. Not long after, one gets to see the timber mafia who arrive there in bikes and lorries, making one wonder if 7000 Kandi was after all, accessible by road!
The quaint culture that the inhabitants of 7000 Kandi puts on show, comes across as tremendously artificial. Philippose John Varkey is puzzled as to what should be done to move closer to the villagers” hearts, when Beeran scores a sixer by winning them over with a magic show! Philippose, not being one to be left behind, takes up his guitar and strikes a Pied Piper tune, when he is fervently joined by the villagers, who join hands to break into a walloping dance!
The climax is strewn with the leftovers of a modus operandi to drive the encroachers away that at times remind you of a fairy tale that has gone all wrong. Infantile to the core, ‘Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi’ has a dismal denouement that hammers the final nail on to its coffin. There are the comic asides – Neelankantan driving a stunned bear away and Ananthakrishnan displaying an oddly placed tattoo – that fall flat on their faces, which add to the ordeal.
Performances are quite even, and while Kunchacko Boban leads the pack, it is Vinod Jose who scores dime a dozen. Jacob Gregory is astoundingly loud at times, while Nedumudi Venu is wasted in an inconsequential role. Cinematography by Jayesh Nair and the musical score by Rex Vijayan are just about adequate.
‘Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi’ is an emblem of a whole lot of strenuous efforts going up in holy smoke. Though paved with good intentions, Anil Radhakrishnan Menon’s Avatar-esque environmental caper, slumps down under the weight of its awkward narrative structure that finally leads to an exceedingly underwhelming conclusion.
2 out of 5 (Okay)