‘Thalsamayam Oru Penkutty’ (Malayalam)
Director: TK Rajeev Kumar
Cast: Nithya Menon, Shweta Menon, Unni Mukundan
When William Shakespeare made Jaques to deliver, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players,” in ‘As you like it,’ ‘reality TV’ would not have been in his wildest dreams. While living in an era of 24x7 live channels and live cam, everyone would be world-famous for 15 minutes, or more.
‘Thalsamayam Oru Penkutty’ (TOP) has an innovative idea of taking camera (literally) into the life of a country girl, Manjula (Nithya Menon), daughter of Ayyappan Pillai (Maniyan Pillai Raju). She is the first girl among the dozen selected for one month, in an year-long, live show produced by Sareena (Swetha Menon).
But her ambitious pet project gets out of her control by the wily, soft-spoken channel honcho Ravi Kumar (Siddique) who dreams of nothing but on reaching the top of TRP ratings with another producer Thomas (Babu Raj). The entry of Sooryan (Unni Mukundan) and a millionaire Shibu (Suraj) happens in between.
Though the show promises to be one without a written script, we learn that each movement of the girl was planned by omniscient management for a mercurial rise in the TRP.
TOP tries to sneak into the ugly world behind the beautiful smiles that steal much of our valuable time and how its intrusion can result in near future. It could have been a harder hitting spoof on reality shows and entertainment industry as a whole, given the umpteen number of incidents behind the screen. There are many instances in the film itself like the one where an actress, famous for his role as a loyal wife in a teleserial, getting caught with a political leader or how some channel heads decide the policy during late night parties. The ending makes one think to that the torrent of events in the second half forces the director for such a hasty winding up.
Sunny Joseph and Manuel George have presented a novel idea in the screenplay based on a story by T K Rajeev Kumar, the director. Nithya’s expressive face tells she’s going to stay here as an artist while Siddique’s modulation suits it to the character.
Suraj Venjarammod fails to evoke any laughter for his mundane acting whereas many other artists like Tiny and Ajeesh get applause occasionally in the halls. TOP is a brave attempt in a road less travelled. But the journey could have been made less bumpy.