Have you ever thought of falling in love so that your Mathematics homework will be done by your lover? Protagonist Ryan Philip (Master Sanoop) in the debut flick by Rojin Philip and Shanil Muhammed starts to think this way, when he is being continuously punished by his Maths teacher Pappan (Vijay Babu) for not doing homework.
The movie talks about the adventures of Ryan and his friends and the metamorphosis of Ryan from a mischievous fifth grade student to a role model.
After My Dear Kuttichathan (1984), a dearth of children’s movies was felt acutely in Malayalam filmdom. Popular movies that fall under this genre like ‘Children’s Day Out,’ ‘Children of Heaven,’ ‘Taare Zameen Par’ and ‘Pasanga’ were welcome openheartedly by the audience here.
Though there were many half-hearted attempts to make a movie for children in Malayalam over the past three decades, none could make a mark as ‘My Dear Kuttichathan.’ ‘Philips and the Monkey Pen’ makes a valiant attempt to fill this lacunae.
The movie starts with Ryan Philip rehearsing the multiplication table. He lives with his mother Sameera (Remya Nambeesan) and father Roy Philip (Jayasurya). Ryan’s close friends are Innocent P Varghese, Raman and Jahangir who stand by his side for whatever mischief he can think of.
He has three enemies as well: mathematics, its teacher Pappan and Decimal (who is the brightest in the class). Finding it difficult to deal with Mathematics, Ryan plans to propose Joan who is his classmate, hoping that she will help him do his mathematics homework. But he fails in making her fall for him.
Soon Ryan meets his grandfather Richard Philip (Joy Mathew) and gets hold of a ‘magical’ monkey pen from the grandfather’s house. The pen becomes the epicentre of his life and Ryan’s life changes for the better.
The major highlight of the movie is the excellent performance by the child actors and especially Master Sanoop.
The cinematography by Neil D’Cunha makes a mark with the opening scene itself with a wide-angle visual of the sea. Along with the child artists, Jayasurya, Mukesh, Vijay Babu and Joy Mathew have done justice to their roles. However, Remya Nambeesan fails to muster the maturity demanded from a young boy’s mother. The music composed by debutant Rahul Subramanian (Remya Nambeesan’s brother) passes muster.
The movie loses focus while trying to integrate the problems of the children with that of the adults.
The makers should have rooted more for the children. The unnecessary preaching tends to be boring and some trimming could have made the movie a lot more crisper.
It is a feel good movie and may go down well with children, its target audience.
Film: Philips and the
Direction: Rojin Philip,
Cast: Master Sanoop, Jayasurya, Remya Nambeesan, Mukesh