27 July 2016 | TejasNair
Feels. ♦ Grade B-
Khalid Rahman is a fairly new name in the Malayalam cinema scene, but the way he has concocted his debut feature - a feel-good family drama - is an indication that the industry still has hope.
Raghu (Menon) is a no-nonsense cop who lives with his wife Suma (Sarath) and two children, Abhi (Ali) and his kid sister, in an upper middle-class house. Even though he is a great policeman, his behavior towards his family members, especially his wife, is entirely dominant. Suma, a disciplined homemaker, fears Raghu and takes care of him and caters to all his needs in the best way possible, while Raghu, to his discredit, neither pays attention to her needs nor appreciates her role in his life. Abhi's adolescent life is a story arc where he is trying to get rid of Eli (Vijayan), a girl whom he previously desired and successfully executed a one-time fling with. This forms the base of the story which moves on to narrate the family drama from chiefly Raghu and Abhi's perspectives. Things take a turn for good when Raghu one day sees his childhood sweetheart in the city.
Anuraga Karikkin Vellam succeeds in showcasing an average patriarchal family in Kerala. It marvelously depicts the characters involved and speaks volumes about their struggles and thoughts as they live life. Raghu is the husband next door who should be thankful to his family, but is instead worked up with his profession and a past episode of romance. Abhi is a relatable character who is unable to express to Eli about his inability to continue his relationship due to lack of or subdued interest. One can definitely relate to at least one of the characters in the story, which is why it will delight you. Use of humor and other story arcs involving Sreenath Bhasi and current king of comedy Soubin Shahir will further increase the delight one will reap from the narrative.
Naveen Bhaskar has taken a contemporary, non-novel foundation and etched a family drama into it where the primary element is chance. It is by chance that Raghu sees his sweetheart, which is what is the backbone of the film. Relationships are hard to maintain, and factors like profession, passion, and fleeting romance can affect them. It is up to the person to take pride and pleasure in small things. Of course, this preachiness is not conspicuous in the film; it's a highly entertaining comedy drama with a well-written and well-executed story.
Biju Menon is terrific in his character and has successfully landed in my list of best Malayalam actors of the 2010s decade. His command over his character is absolutely fantastic, and with that he creates an aura on-screen. Another actor speedily trying to enter my top actors' list is Asha Sarath. She is glamorous, flawless, and gracious with her character. Ali and other supporting roles are fine, too. Also stealing the limelight is newcomer Rajisha Vijayan with her explosive portrayal of a girlfriend. She nails it, really.
With a perfect background score and energetic tracks, the film is a total entertainer. This is only the second Malayalam film I watched with my parents and the experience was amazing. One of the best films of 2016 so far, just behind the brilliant Maheshinte Prathikaaram.
BOTTOM LINE: Khalid Rahman's Anuraga Karikkin Vellam is a well- cooked dish that is palatable for all. Worth the theater ticket price.
Can be watched with a typical Indian family? YES