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Jaded ‘new wave’

Smitha Pylee
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Film: Friday (Malayalam)

Cast: Nedumudi Venu, Fahad Fazil, Ann Augustine, Manu

Director: Lijin Jose

A zillion sub-plots linked by the thinnest of threads, and a climax in which the major players, hitherto strangers, come together and go through a life-changing experience… Friday sticks to this new-wave formula, thus forfeiting any claim to novelty. The plot develops over a day and ends, rather runs out of steam, by the next morning.

The formula could have played a role in the choice of location too. The ‘new wave’ has experimented with north Kerala, and parts of the south. So, director Lijin Jose chose to anchor Friday in Alappuzha, yet untouched by the wave. The camera doesn’t have to do much. One can feast on Vembanad Lake and beach from any angle. Yet, the final shot deserves a clap.

The film’s USP was to be Fahad Fazil, or his performance as an autorickshaw driver. Till now, Fahad had packed a particular wardrobe, a cleansed look, and a soft accent from film to film. Here, he plays a Konkini Brahmin, sports a beard, wears a lungi, and projects the same intensity. The tears, distress and anger do not look laboured. His link to the plot is Nedumudi Venu, playing a grandfather forced to pay dearly for a memory lapse. The duo walks away with the prized moments of Friday . Ann Augustine and Manu, the coochie-cooing pair; Prakash Bare, who tries to tame the adoption process of the land and a fake priest who helps him in it; a precious, and squeaky, surprise which is up for sale on the sly — there are many spokes, barely touching each other. A leaking boat caught in a stormy night serves as the hub. And the story sputters to a lifeless end.

If doled out in excess, even magic potions can be fatal. A winning formula can backfire if clung on to by too many for too long. Ideally, the new wave should make way for newer ones.

Smitha Pylee

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