'Trivandrum Lodge' (Malayalam)
Director: V Prakash
Cast: Anoop Menon, Jayasurya, Saiju Kurup, Honey Rose
Yesteryear directors Bharathan and Padmarajan handled the subject of unsealed sexuality, often considered taboo in a hypocritical society, in the most aesthetic and sensual way in the 1980s. They were the masters and indubitably, they remain so. They received aplenty of accolades for going ‘out of the box’ at a time when love and lust remained in the darkness of the four walls. When they experimented with real life incidents or fantasy, it set a new benchmark.
Come 2012; welcome to ‘Trivandrum Lodge’. Writer-actor Anoop Menon’s latest attempt to expose the world of a sex-starved section of society, however, fails to flare up the passions of movie aficionados. Anoop, arguably the brand ambassador of new age cinema, and director V K Prakash try to emulate their predecessors’ success formula through an unconventional script format, but in vain.
In the first half, you enter into the dark world where everybody thinks, speaks and does sex (only SEX!). They talk with no qualms about their desires, fantasies and frustrations. Wondering where is this wacky abode? This ancient, torn building is owned by a rich realtor and widower Ravi Shankar (Anoop Menon) and maintained, as he claims, in memory of his dead wife.
The versatile society has its resemblance in the lodge; the inmates include Abdhu (Jayasurya) an uneducated orphan, music teacher Relton (Janardhanan), Peggy (Sukumari), who runs a small hotel inside the lodge, small-time film journalist Sunil Vellayani (Saiju Kurup), and Kora (Balachandran) who boasts of having sex with 999 women and wishes to have a police woman as his 1000th.
Most of them suffer from the desire-the carnal appetite. A major part of the film is dedicated to portray the romance of two kids and explain the sexual fantasies of a married woman and her just divorced friend Dhwani (Honey Rose), who wants to “fornicate with abandon”. It also gives a peep into the life of a prostitute (Padmarajan effect).
Dhwani comes to stay in the lodge with a cliched ambition — to write a novel. Jayasurya rises a notch above the rest. The sex-laced lodge story, with excessive double-meaning dialogues and open discussions about sexual encounters of many (strange) characters may be enough to entice the teenagers. Ravi Shankar’s philosophical talk on celibacy is a drag. We also hear sermons about sexual liberation from fashionably dressed new age women. Streetwalkers give a mouthful of unrefined talks about lust and life. But the weak story line makes the characters float in the air and the entire plot looks superficial.
The verdict: Tries to break social barriers, but fails to rise above average.