17 November 2017 | arungeorge13
These 'revelations' are barely arresting! [+37%]
It certainly would have ignited a spark of joy when we initially heard that both the Lals (director Lal Jose and superstar Mohanlal) were finally going to unite for a film. But after watching 'Velipadinte Pushthakam', I just so wish that they had decided against collaborating at all. The film is marred by shoddy writing (and bland execution) from start to finish. Even a massive ensemble and skilled set of technicians can only do so much to elevate a second-rate script (by Benny P Nayarambalam).
Notwithstanding the fact that 'Velipadinte Pusthakam' does manage to pull out a few tricky 'revelations', the viewer barely feels connected to any of the characters. What we get is just surface-gracing of a bunch of 'somewhat-interesting' character sketches - be it the Sameer-Franklin (Arun Kurian - Sarath Kumar) conflict, Prem Raj (Salim Kumar who struggles to bring in the 'adulterated' laughs) the Vice Principal with a fetish for the 'other kind' of whatsapp videos, Mary (Lichi a.k.a Reshma Rajan from 'Angamaly Diaries') whose presence in the plot is just to reinstate the chief protagonist's (or the superstar's) capability to draw attention from young women even when he steps into his late 50s, Vishwan (Anoop Menon) the good Samaritan with a thug-like vibe who dies in the very first scene but stays pivotal to the story, or even the film's leading light i.e. Michael Idiculla (Mohanlal) a professor with a gentle heart who overwhelms both students and others alike.
The scenarist employs too many plot devices to drive the film forward and this imparts incoherence to it. At first, it seems like the tale of a heated college rivalry and how the entry of Michael Idiculla brings forth a change in the attitudes of everyone around him including the student-gangs (the college is located very close to a beach and its strength is composed of the fisher-folk's children from the nearby village along with city-bred 'cool' kids). Midway, when Idiculla is done cleansing the campus of deceitful elements and having no further 'preaching' to do, the story takes a turn all of a sudden and nosedives into the scenario of 'film-within-a-film'. This is also where the film starts to loosen its grip on the viewers.
'Velipadinte Pusthakam' wants to be a whodunnit, a family drama, a film about friendship and a comedy all at the same time - a feat it fails desperately in. Director Lal Jose seems to have his feet stuck in a sand pit - he tries to employ every single crowd-pleasing tactic in a (vain) effort to simultaneously rake in the moolah (capitalizing on the star-power at his disposal) and entice the viewers. The vapid scripting barely challenges the true actor in Mohanlal. He sleepwalks through the role of Michael Idiculla - at times, certain scenes look forcefully inserted to showcase the star's acting prowess. Hint: We don't need screenplay contrivances to remind us how good an actor Mohanlal is.
'Velipadinte Pusthakam' is probably amongst the weakest in Lal Jose's filmography (that features a few gems like 'Ayalum Njanum Thammil' and 'Arabikkatha' while also including awful endeavors like 'Spanish Masala' and 'Pattalam') - a film with barely anything to salvage but runs for a tedious 157 minutes nearly drowning on its route to the finish-line. 'Jimmikki Kammal' too has become dreary by now.