'Jawan of Vellimala' (Malayalam)
Director: Anoop Kannan
Cast: Mammootty, Sreenivasan, Mamta Mohandas, Asif Ali and others
A protagonist who has hallucinations, guarding a dam set in an exotic locale, is certainly a brilliant character for the take off of a film.
Thus, ‘Jawan of Vellimala,’ directed by debutant Anoop Kannan and written by James Albert, has a lot to promise with its extraordinary story line. The film raises much expectation as Mammootty is making his debut as a producer with the movie.
Gopi Krishnan (Mammootty), a watchman at Vellimala dam, has a rare disorder and claims that he could see ghosts of those who committed suicide in the dam. Gopi, the son of a martyr who died fighting for the dam, was a soldier. But he had to discontinue the service after a mishap occurred during an encounter in Kargil war. Anitha (Mamta), whom Gopi wanted to marry, is a project officer at the dam site and works for the well being of society.
Executive engineer Varghese (Sreenivasan)- an upright officer - becomes a thorn in the flesh of higher authorities, including chief engineer Chacko (Babu Raj) while pointing out irregularities. Koshy Oommen (Asif Ali) enters the scene to clear off the bills to settle the huge debt made by his the late father Oommen Koshy, who was a contractor.
Varghese put the bills on hold as there is an allegation of sand mining against Oommen Koshy. But there is a larger conspiracy brewing against the dam. Rest of the film narrates how Gopi and Koshy fight with Chacko and his team to rescue both Varghese and the dam from abandonment. Despite a rather decent beginning, the film flips into a banal second half filled with mundane scenes that ran over a thousand times before the viewers. The makers took too much than they could chew and the end product suffers from indigestion.
Disease, anti-corruption, valour, humour and patriotism - everything come and go in flashes. Mammootty with a striking performance eases into the role of an ex-soldier with a social commitment. Curiously enough, the most of the actors in side roles feel out of place. The director, a new comer, can be excused to an extent, but relying much on the script has made him a mute spectator even after getting a good thread and good technicians. Camera by Satheesh Kurup and art by Prasanth Madhav make a cut above the rest.
The writer who scripted a film like ‘Classmates’ fumbles a lot and most of the dialogues fail far below the mark. But there are some good dialogues which take a dig at the Facebook activists. In an attempt to fit the character into the typical Sreenivasan mould, the sarcastic dialogues of Varghese lacks originality suited for the situation. Songs are conceived and presented in a clumsy way especially the one which Gopi dreams of fairies. Certainly, it was an effort to portray a socially-relevant theme, but one earnestly wishes it was more convincing.