Cast: Dileep, Mamta Mohandas, Samvrutha Sunil
Strange are the ways through which the mind travels to make or mar relationships. This may be the reason for men and women ‘falling’ in love even after witnessing umpteen number of separations, sometimes in their own lives. Here, Shyamaprasad makes a smooth landing in his 17th feature film in Malayalam with ‘Arike’ (So Close).
The director, who relies much on written text for almost all his films, goes back to Bengali writer Sunil Gangopadhyaya, whose novel was the base for his earlier film ‘Ore Kadal.’ The 118-minute film narrates the love and life of Kalpana (Mamta Mohandas) and Anuradha (Samvrutha Sunil) with Shanthanu(Dileep).
Though romance fills almost every frame, it is not a regular triangular love story.
Kalpana plays Cupid between her close friend Anuradha and Shanthanu as he says ‘there is nothing to hide from Kalpana’.
Anuradha could boast her love life from the class VIII and keep on falling in affairs but has given a special space to the present one with Shanthanu. Meanwhile, Kalpana is waiting for a man’s proposal only to deny him, probably to bury a brief but bitter affair in her teens. Anuradha is all set to defy the dictum of her upper caste family who wants to marry her off to a more successful young man than Shanthanu. But destiny had something else in store for all of them.
The film has many factors to its credit for making it a classy love story devoid of old clichés, beginning from the location. Alagappan’s camera captures Kozhikode in its nostalgic grandeur to give an authentic milieu to the characters.
‘Arike’ brings out the natural performance from all the actors, including Prakash Bare, Dinesh Panicker, Chitra Aiyer and Madamb Kunhikkuttan, not to mention the three in the lead, thanks to a welladapted script (by director himself). The sync sound recording by Sohel Sanwari helps the film retain even subtle feelings without any loss. In fact, it is a relief listening to the female characters in their original voice rather than the much-clichéd voices which have lost their charm over the years.
We have some surprise performances like Vineeth, whose less than 10 minutes in this film, is undoubtedly the best in his career which spans more than quarter a century and Innocent, who used to imitate himself in almost all the films he acted.
The film uses Ouseppachan’s music and Shibu Chakravarthy’s lyrics in a decent manner and the beautiful rendering by Mamta Mohandas adds much to its melody.