Film: Oru Kuttanadan Blog
Cast: Mammootty, Anu Sithara, Raai Laxmi, Shamna Kasim, Lalu Alex
Idon't usually order food while watching a movie at the theatre. But Mammootty's latest, Oru Kuttanadan Blog, made me order something during the interval because after the first half, I knew I needed something to cheer me up. But I didn't get what I ordered because it wasn't available. I had to be content with something else for the same price, much to my chagrin. The same can be said for the movie. It's an experience you have to go through whether you like it or not.
Watching Oru Kuttanadan Blog is equal to going to a colourful party hosted by a family who forces you to sit through a show of their only child's variegated talents. The kid here is Mammootty, celebrated by his friends and well-wishers as a rare genius who is blessed with the ability to fix all problems and charm all the women in the neighbourhood. Like Mammootty's recent movies, Oru Kuttanadan Blog is a tiresome and torturous exercise in superstar glorification.
I don't know how and why such movies get made. I would like to know the whole process behind green-lighting a project like this. I guess there is no point in asking anymore why Mammootty, an actor whom I greatly respect, continues to sign movies like these.
A married couple living abroad is going through a blog which they are fascinated by. This blog is written from Kuttanad by a friend of Mammootty's character Hari. I've lost count of the number of times they've used his name in this. There is always someone saying something about their beloved 'Hariettan'. Considering the fact that the film's characters mention 'Hariettan' a lot, I'll try to fill this review with as many Hariettans as I can.
If Hariettan is Lord Krishna, the youngsters circling him are the gopikas. Hariettan is their saviour, their last resort. Love problems? Call Hariettan. No money to buy a house? Call Hariettan. Free Wi-Fi? Call Hariettan. He is so kind that he wouldn't mind if you break into his house one day and steal all his belongings. He might even say, "Here, take all my gold". Unfortunately, Hariettan wasn't able to save us from a movie about him.
Hariettan's boundless benevolence is treated with suspicion by the panchayat president (Lalu Alex) and his cronies. Everyone except Hariettan's gang and his father seems to have a problem with him. They're looking for a golden opportunity to break him. But he treats every challenge that comes his way as if they're nothing. And come intermission time, he'll get his first taste of humiliation — that is, if he is going to allow himself to be humiliated. This is Hariettan, after all. He is a "valiya sambhavam" (big deal).
The problem is, Hariettan is not an interesting character to begin with. He is an NRI businessman who returns from the Gulf to visit his hometown, Kuttanad. The youngsters, the "new gen" friends he is always hanging out with, give him a grand welcome. Once he arrives, he asks them, "Isn't this all a bit too much?" I was asking the same question. This Hariettan glorification is also pointed out by another character. However, in spite of showing few signs of self-awareness occasionally, the movie continues to bombard the viewer with uninvolving tales of Hariettan's goodness. It's very, very exhausting.
The three female characters — played by Anu Sithara, Shamna Kasim, and Raai Laxmi — have not much to do other than emit love waves from their eyes whenever they see Hariettan. Anu Sithara plays Hema, a young girl who looks sensible on the outside but is stupid on the inside. She gets impregnated by some random guy on Facebook whose real name she doesn't even know. To avoid humiliation, she blames Hariettan instead. You also get a lame joke at the expense of this scene. One character says, "Don't mention her name. Saying 'ira' (victim) is the new trend". This character is played by an actor who has made a habit of showing up in every Mammootty movie that comes out these days.
Will Hariettan end up with any of these women? Though it does something fresh with its finale, this is another Malayalam movie that, in addition to continuing the unhealthy trend of glorifying its lead star, also includes the overused 'jilted lover' trope into its plot. It all leaves a bad taste in the mouth.