Film: Ordinary (Malayalam)
Cast: Kunchako Boban, Biju Menon, Asif Ali, Shritha Sivadas, Anne Augustine
When announced, ‘Ordinary' promised a whiff of fresh air, just like the mist-veiled Gavi, where it is set. And the movie does bring in a lot to cheer about the present scene of Malayalam cinema; how our new film-makers seek material from their surroundings and make it work, too.
As ‘Ordinary' meanders through the mountainous forests of Gavi, a quaint village in Pathanamthitta, we cannot help but marvel about the KSRTC, arguably an important icon of our collective self and nostalgia. Debutant director Sugeeth, who has also written the story, has done an excellent job of making the maximum out of this to kick-start the movie in all grandeur.
Quite a few laughs later, a carefully selected cast joins the protagonist bearing a contemporary name, Iravikkuttan Pillai, a bus conductor played brilliantly by Kunchako Boban. Biju Menon, who plays the bus driver, has got a mixed slang up his sleeve this time, and instantly inspires awe. The duo takes us to Gavi and back, unveiling the plot on the way. Asif Ali dons the rustic dam operator in torn sweaters and carries the movie forward in the second half.
Out of the closet
An attempted thriller, ‘Ordinary' talks about a death and all the ghosts it pulls out of the closet. The bus, the crew, and the travellers, along with a picture-perfect Gavi, endear themselves to the audience so effortlessly that they would hardly be prepared for a climax reeking with predictability. Songs catch them unawares, hitting the pace of the narrative.
The female characters work their charm and recede to the backstage as the story begins to sort out the loose threads.
It is a shame that even the new-generation filmmakers do not think twice about including a scene where the woman character, the leading lady in this case, being slapped by the hero.
A lot of things work for ‘Ordinary' while the crucial elements of suspense and the build-up towards the climax leave much to be desired. Still, moviegoers do owe a lot to those behind the wheel for giving them an exhilarating ride, at least till tea-break.