Film: Oru Pazhaya Bomb Katha
Cast: Bibin George, Hareesh Kanaran, Prayaga Martin, Kalabhavan Shajon
Rating: 2/5 stars
In more than one place in Oru Pazhaya Bomb Katha, some of its characters comment on each others' ability to crack lame jokes. Thankfully one of them dies midway, but the rest of them all survive to tell more lame jokes which test our patience, for a duration of around 150 minutes.
How come the makers didn't have the same self-realisation that these characters had? These outdated jokes carry so much potency that I feared I might not make it out of the theatre alive. This is a movie that lives up to its title -- it's an old bomb story, literally.
This is the sort of movie that Dileep used to do many years ago. Bomb Katha reminds you of Kunjhikoonan and Sound Thoma. Take the hero Sreekuttan, for example. He is a differently abled man, both on-screen and off-screen. This is the first Malayalam movie where a differently abled man is playing the lead character. But, that doesn't necessarily make it special.
If Dileep were playing this character, he would be imitating a differently abled man; and, in this day and age, that would be deemed offensive by the politically correct brigade. Casting Bibin George, however, removes that little complication. Bibin, for his part, displays a sincerity befitting the story. And Sreekuttan is someone who can manage without anyone's sympathy.
But there are two big problems with this movie. First, it's replete with stale jokes which belong to a bygone era, and, second, for a movie that may have been intended as an uplifting piece for the differently abled (a noble intention if true), you get the sense that the protagonist's disability has been used as a tool to mine sympathy out of the viewers. I say this because some scenes are needlessly and agonisingly stretched that it all looks a bit...cheap.
Bibin plays Sreekuttan, a mechanic who has the misfortune of running into an antagonistic, ruthless cop Rajendran (Kalabhavan Shajon). The self-serving cop carries an ego the size of a dinosaur and has no qualms about breaking the law. When a dire situation involving a corrupt financier (Vijayaraghavan) invites tragedy into Sreekuttan's life, he schemes revenge against Rajendran. And the plan he comes up with -- which requires the help of a long-lost friend (Vishnu Unnikrishnan in a cameo) -- doesn't warrant a movie of such excruciating length.
The "physically weak man tormented by the bad guy" plot has been done to death, and the plot of Bomb Katha is no different, and could've been told in an hour. But it seems to go on forever. And there is an attempt to make the narrative more interesting by including a parallel track about a hunt for Maoist insurgents. No matter how much you try, it's hard to not look past the ridiculous logic behind it all.