Film: Crocodile Love Story (Malayalam)
Director: Anoop Ramesh
Cast: Praveen Prem, Avanthika Mohan, Ashokan, Manikuttan, Kalabhavan Mani
The concept of the ‘interval’ is an irritant for some movies, but for some others it serves as a blessing. The Crocodile Love Story fits the latter category. You could saunter in half-way through the movie and not miss a thing. No exaggeration here.
Boy-meets-girl stories are the staple of our cinema, and it is often light strokes of brilliance that set one apart from the other. Debutant director Anoop Ramesh set out to add a twist in the “tale” by tossing in a crocodile and claiming to introduce ‘animatronics’ (inspired from Steven Spielberg’s classic Jurassic Park) for the first time in Malayalam cinema.
An hour into the movie you are left wondering why the movie was titled or marketed as Crocodile Love Story. The love story is insipid and the crocodile nowhere in sight. And when the reptile does surface, after an excruciating hour-and-a-half, and the slightest possibility of an adventure rears its head, the plot shifts to a supposed “satire” instead.
Kiran (Praveen Prem) and Nitya (Avanthika Mohan) have run away from home to spend time together. Marooned on an island, they are perched on a tree, with a menacing crocodile lying in wait below. But going by their reactions and their eagerness to grab the packet of chips and water bottle that lay beside the reptile, you’d be excused for thinking it could have been a dog in place of the crocodile. That, on a more serious note, would have saved the filmmakers some bucks and definitely evoked more laughs from the viewers.
Joining the misadventure are mediapersons who set up camp and begin live streaming, and ill-equipped police officers and fire and rescue personnel.
Well, if the makers had their eye on a comic satire of sorts, they should probably have looked up the 2010 Hindi film Peepli Live. Or the film with a man-eater as a central character should have been made on the lines of Hollywood thrillers or even I.V. Sasi’s Mrigaya nearer home.
Marketing the movie solely on the claim of using Hollywood-like animatronics and the character of a crocodile, with no scope for either, is inexcusable. And no crocodile can be expected to save a film that was in deep waters from the start.
A weak script, poor performance by lead actors and false marketing do the film in. Though Anoop Ramesh, who has served as assistant to leading directors such as Shyamaprasad and Shaji Kailas, wields technical control over the film, that does not make up for the squandering of a storyline that did have potential.
This love story crawls, through and through, at a snail’s pace and not that of a crocodile’s.