Aspiring filmmakers are a mystery. Those outside their zone can rarely fathom their passion for the medium, the grind they go through, and the sacrifices they gladly make for that precious break. The tenacity is mostly lost on the average filmgoer, whose sole link to cinema is the cinema hall.
Strikes a chord
Yet, Lal’s Ottappalam Unni, forever the associate director and never the director, strikes a chord with the viewer. The man with a non-existent ego and an infinite capacity to absorb barbs, gamely struggles towards his goal. Trials lurk at every bend, but fate intervenes, smoothing out humps. There are clichéd dialogues and doses of avoidable melodrama, but director Shyju Anthikkad has traced Unni’s journey from obscurity to fulfilment with sufficient restraint.
Scene Onnu… was promoted as Thilakan’s last film. The thespian has a small but crucial role — as one of fate’s many tricks — but it is by no means heavy-duty. Though he is upstaged by Lal here, the ‘last’ factor sits heavy on the viewer.
Navya Nair gets a decent comeback as the supportive breadwinner of the family.
The reason why she grins and bears the mounting debts of the in-house dreamer is satisfactorily explained. Unni’s friends, and co-dreamers, played by Harisree Asokan, Sudheesh, and Kalabhavan Shajon, represent those who breathe cinema, but cannot make a living of it. A host of baddies are lined up as producers, with Lalu Alex playing the sole exception.
Anthikkad attempts to encapsulate the never-ending ‘crisis’ of Malayalam film industry.
The highhandedness of ‘superstars,’ the injudiciousness of producers, and the much maligned ‘satellite rights’ are touched upon. Yet, out of this man-eats-man industry, a blockbuster emerges (a fleeting glimpse gives no indication of a money-spinner), purely through goodwill and camaraderie.
Hard to stomach, though Shylesh Divakaran’s script liberally provides justifications.
Lure of cinema
However, when the sweat and tears take solid shape, and the ‘baby’ is brought out, snug in an iron box, the lure of cinema speaks in many expressions. Pride, relief, contentment, even disbelief. Those out of the loop can only sit around and wonder.
Film: Scene Onnu Nammude Veedu
Cast: Lal, Thilakan, Navya Nair, Lalu Alex, Harisree Asokan
Director: Shyju Anthikkad