Cast: Murali Mohan, Urmila Unni, Ambika Mohan, Roopasree, Faisal Ali, Ramesh Pisharodi
‘Plus or Minus’ looks like a seven o clock sitcom that is in no hurry to finish off the tale that it has in mind. Dreary to the core, the film follows the marginalized and the downtrodden, along the dried out pathways that they are forced to tread on.
Three street kids Kittu, Appu and Thulasi are looked after by Ashok (Faisal Ali), a street singer. There is none to mourn when Kittu meets an untimely end, or when Appu is kidnapped by the beggar mafia. When a lawyer (Roopasree) comes to their recue, a ray of hope falls by and life finally starts looking up for them.
‘Plus or Minus’ has an aged and shaky look to it that somehow mars the entire proceedings. I am not talking of the very mediocre visual appeal that the film has, but rather of the ambience that the film sports throughout.
This is a story that has been told and retold a million times before, and there is nothing in ‘Plus or Minus’ that deviates from the expected. Conventional and unsurprising to the core, ‘Plus or Minus’ suffers terribly when it comes to its much worn-out theme.
With the script of the film riddled with appalling dialogues and hackneyed sequences, it becomes quite obvious as to where all this is headed. And the tedium does not get any better either; in fact it moves from bad to worse as the film heads towards its climax.
It does remain though that ‘Plus or Minus’ is inoffensive but I am not really sure how that could be considered a merit for an otherwise lifeless flick. There also is the question as to what the purpose of a film ultimately is, and if being harmless adds to its (nonexistent) value as in this case.
With the inherently flavourless content messing up things terribly, there is no possibility of ‘Plus or Minus’ warming up the audience hearts. The cheesiness and the unrelenting generic blandness sees to it that all hopes of salvation are lost, and in fifteen minutes flat you are convinced that this is a game that is already lost.
It still escapes me as to how someone could be persuaded to believe that a film that thus conforms to a timeworn formula as the one in question, could turn out to be one that the viewers care for. ‘Plus or Minus’ takes no risks, and the emptiness that is amply visible in several scenes (especially the ones that involve the bus vendor – played by Indrans – appear a bit too hard to swallow.
A hoard of actors – relatively unknown faces – enact the key roles in the film, and their performances range from middling to mediocre. A few of them tend to go over board as well, and none of the feats come across as imposing. The film has a run of the mill musical score as well, while the technicalities throw up no fresh revelations either.
Even with the least of expectations, ‘Plus or Minus’ is bound to let you down with its patchiness. Sadly there are just minuses around here and not a plus is anywhere in sight!
1 out of 5 (Poor)