Flim: Konjam Konjam; Director: Udayasankaran; Cast: Gokul, Neenu, Priya Mohan, Appukutty
Tamil cinema has always made space for films rooted in familial emotion and one of the staples is, of course, the brother-sister bond. Konjam Konjam aspires to be a Pasamalar, but falls woefully short.
Debutant Gokul is a hero of multiple talents which reveal themselves as and when the story requires. He designs a weathercock to predict rain. It also doubles up as a provider of wind energy that powers a bulb for the backyard at night. He is also a sketch artist who has drawn a decent portrait of his mother and sister.
He also turns into a dancer when he sees a poster that announces a prize money of one lakh rupees, the exact amount he requires to help his sister out at a crucial point in the story. He also solves a Rubik’s Cube in less than a minute. He has all these talents but the problem, for him, is that he is not ‘literate’ according to social norms and so, he works in a scrap metal shop in Kerala.
While it is perhaps noble of the director to show that there are such ‘village vignanis’, the way he has gone about to convey that message is convoluted.
The first half is all over the place with no thread to draw you in. There are several problems though. A woman of north-eastern descent gets demeaned in the film. And what of the horrible love angle? The heroine is followed by the hero because he is ‘concerned’. When she finds out, she asks, “Enna eppovume follow pannite irukka? Kadhalikkariya?” and proceeds to smile seductively at him. I kid you not. Later, there is a scene between two Malayalam-speaking villains at the end of which Mansoor Ali Khan enters in a solar-powered car with villainous swagger. And in less than five minutes, he is out of the film and returns only at the very end. You don’t understand what happened.
The only reasons why this film is barely watchable is the work by the cinematographer Nikki Kannan and debutant composer Vallavan. While the former makes sure Kerala is shown beautifully, the latter shines with a brilliant background score and some lovely songs. It’s a pity their work is undone by poor writing.