Film: Ladies and

Gentleman (Malayalam)

Director: Siddique

Cast: Mohanlal, Mamta Mohandas, Meera Jasmine, Padmapriya, Krish Sathar, Mithra Kurian

It seems the ultimate fantasy of every man is that every woman who smiles at him is in love with him. Of late, some of our screenwriters seem to be caught in such a fantasy going by the characters that they create repeatedly for the superstars, especially Mohanlal. Though Ladies and Gentleman, at its surface looks like a story of a middle-aged man guiding a set of youngsters through life’s twists and turns, the underlying ‘message’ is that all the young ladies are craving for the man’s love.

One of them says that his drunken act is ‘a brilliant shield’ to keep away all the women who might otherwise fall in love with him. Cringe!

Set in the backdrop of the IT industry in Kerala, Siddique’s latest film is a pretty disturbing mix of life improvement philosophy, drunken antics, love quadrangles, and product placements. Chandra Bose (Mohanlal) is a drunkard who justifies every act of his with the line ‘Because I am a gentleman’ (with background music). He comes into the lives of Sarath (Krish Sathar) and his friends as a guardian angel, by saving two of them from suicide. This sets the stage for Bose to intermittently deliver his life-changing philosophy, all of them culled from self-help books. As the film progresses, Sarath mysteriously slips out of our view till the climax leaving just Bose and the girls. Perhaps he was just an excuse in the script for the ‘gentleman’ to get close with the ladies, who fall over each other to impress Bose and make him happy.Mamta Mohandas, as the IT high-flyer, and Kalabhavan Shajoon, as Mohanlal’s sidekick, salvage some of the sequences.

The script serves us two ‘twists’ centred on Bose’s background, both of which fail to surprise and lead to a tame climax. Ladies and gentleman is pop philosophy on screen, filled with drinks breaks, and advertisements.

S.R. Praveen