'Trivandrum Lodge' (Malayalam)
Director: VK Prakash
Cast:Jayasurya, Dhwani, P Balachandran, Saiju Kurup, Thesni Khan
Success is tempting and in films, successful formulae are more than tempting not to be repeated. This may be the reason for a director of the stature of VK Prakash, who normally opts out of repeating himself, strides in the track of his last commercial hit ‘Beautiful,’ in ‘Trivandrum Lodge’. The movie has many things, including the tone, location, actors and even characters’ names, in common with ‘Beautiful’, from the same team.
Written by Anoop Menon, and revolving around an archaic dwelling set in Mattanchery, the film has arrayed some distinct characters. But all of them suffer from the same desire - the eternal one - carnal. Whether it is a man for every job Abdu (Jayasurya), a writer divorcee Dhwani Nambiar (Dhwani), Kora Saar (P Balachandran), cinema reporter Shibu Vellayani (Saiju Kurup), a wannabe film star Arun, wife of a marine exporter Zarina (Devi Ajith) or a sex worker (Thesni Khan). Thesni carries her name Kanyaka from ‘Beautiful.’ Going one more step ahead from ‘Beautiful,’ almost all the characters love to speak with a tinge of sensuousness, maybe because the makers define boldness as going verbally open on sex.
There’s a sexual undertone in most of the dialogues in an apparent move to cash in on the new generation for whom sex is conversing and texting over cell phones - the surging sexual activity in recent times than watching mere skin show.
It’s natural that the marks of a master refuse to fade even decades after his demise. Thus, the master filmmaker P Padmarajan becomes one of the oft-quoted names in the deliberations about good Malayalam cinema.
However, to the makers of ‘Trivandrum Lodge,’ the legendary film maker is more than an obsession and even one of his characters, Thangal (Babu Namboothiry) from ‘Thoovanathumbikal,’ makes an appearance in the film.
Abdu is a modern day ‘Thakara’ and Korah Saar is a new version of ‘Chellappan Aasari’, both penned by Padmarajan in ‘Thakara.’
Actor-director P Balachandran puts up a terrific performance as a grey-haired Casanova who dreams of a sexual fantasy for his 1,000th partner and who shies away when he is invited by a bold young woman.
Jayasurya etches his role well as Abdu who craves sex. One can’t find any reason for having braces on his teeth other than to tempt Dhwani.
Anoop Menon, who failed to create any ripple at the box office earlier as a sole hero, gives a decent performance here as Ravi Shankar. Master Dhananjay, as Ravisankar’s son Arjun, and Baby Nayanthara as Amala also equal their elders in performance.