Film: Spirit (Malayalam)
Cast: Mohanlal, Madhu, Shankar Ramakrishnan, Tilakan, Nandulal, Lena
Like in literature, the devices which a film-maker uses to move through the cinematic landscape, towards the climax, are central to sustaining the viewers' interest.
Director Ranjith's Spirit is a spirited attempt to look at the vagaries of men who deduce the complexity of life from the taste or tastelessness of their favourite tipple.
Mohanlal's ultra-natural portrayal of Reghunandan (a genius, aspiring English novelist, television host, and everything else a man can be) is brilliant.
This, combined with the beautiful work by art director Santhosh Raman, shows how the settings and ambiance can speak for itself. A writer's room can be expressive and stating, even without the character talking.
Reghunandan's drawing room resembles a liquor bottling plant and his airy and spacious workroom, stacked with books, is romantic and luring.
The challenges faced by the protagonist, mostly his trembling hands, and an irritating dismissal of everything including the trauma of someone's terminal illness reminds one of familiar faces.
On the other band of the spectrum is plumber Manian portrayed by Nandulal.
The statements about fashionable drinking and the attributes of the rich are received with applause by the audience, but, these could have avoided by an intelligent director.
As the film moves towards the climax comes the spoilsport device, a television show.
All the finesse of the near-perfect blend goes for a toss in that destructive cocktail wherein the protagonist is the headmaster and all others the students of his primary school.
The songs by Rafeeq Ahamed, mostly verses, are soft on the ears. The background score is mildly bland and seldom supports the act. The in-house shooting of a bike ride is unpardonable. Venu opts for a subdued use of his camera.
It gets poignant and touching when Reghunandan meets his differently abled son. Shankar Ramakrishnan supports with a fine performance. Lena, Kalpana, Kaniha, Tilakan, Madhu, and Ganapathi conjure up a good show.