Director: Basil Joseph
Producer: Suvin K Varkey
Production Co: E4E Entertainment, Little Big Film
Music Director: Justin Prabhakaran
Cast: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Dhyan Sreenivasan, Aju Varghese, Neeraj Madhav, Mamukkoya, Noby, Srinda Ashab, Sneha Unnikrishnan, Kalpana, Sudheer Karamana, Mamukkoya
Basil Joseph’s ‘Kunjiramayanam’ shows flashes of a gifted director at its helm, but suffers from some poor storytelling that is more confounding than charming. Crammed together and hobbled by a frail script, all that ‘Kunjiramayanam’ has on offer are a few fine moments here or there.
Kunjiraman (Vineeth Sreenivasan) has his eyes and heart fixed on his Murapennu, when a sex tape scandal makes his marriage plans go all topsy turvy. The man behind the disaster is none other than his cousin Lalu (Dhyan) and Kunjiraman vows to wreak vengeance. He leaves for the Middle East only to return in style, but realizes that much has changed in Desom ever since he had flown abroad.
It’s an intricate canvas that Basil Joseph plots his story on, and it teems with a multitude of characters, bumping into one another, sometimes sounding sane and at other times astonishingly crazy. But they go on with their respective businesses of bawling around almost continually, that makes Desom appear like a madhouse.
‘Kunjiramayanam’, despite making efforts to keep you entertained, loses out eventually, since the focal points on which it decides to drop anchor on, do not quite hold up. For one, the obsession with a liquor brand that takes up the whole of its first half, starts looking strangely awkward, once the initial interest that it generates has died down.
The latter half promises to spice up things a bit, when marriages in Desom end up doomed. Kunjiraman flies back and forth frequently, and Lalu’s lady loves keep changing every year. And towards the climax arrives Manoharan (Biju Menon) and brings along with him a few tremendously light moments that form the best part of ‘Kunjiramayanam’.
But the progression towards the finale that I just talked about isn’t that easy, and the film appears tremendously unhurried at times, with very few events managing to grab your attention. It’s obvious that the makers must have been aiming for something much bigger, but somewhere along the way seem to have forgotten to add some vigour to the story being told.
There are few laughs to be had, and the entertainment quotient suffers as well. ‘Kunjiramayanam’ does manage to keep bobbing up, with an incessant flurry of dialogues that are flung at you in quick succession.
Vineeth Sreenivasan does a neat job of playing Kunjiraman, while Dhyan fumbles about a bit as Lalu. One tremendously talented actor who is yet to get his due is Deepak Parambol who leaves a mark in the role of Sasi, and there is Neeraj Madhav and Aju Varghese in roles that are tailor made for them. Srinda Ashab, Sneha Unnikrishnan and Arya Rohith make notable appearances in brief roles as well.
Vishnu Sharma ensures that ‘Kunjiramayanam’ looks stunning on screen, and the fantastic title cards with the villagers beaming at us do raise your expectations to the skies. Justin Prabhakaran has come up with a specifically diverse musical score for the film, which remarkably gels with the general tenor of the film.
With more back stories than the real story occupying the screen time, ‘Kunjiramayanam’ looks tonally strange and a bit under-nourished at times. I’m sure Basil will be back with a bang and would bounce back with more lively films that will make us forget this false start in no time.
2 out of 5 (Okay)