Tastes evolve, trends change, and trendsetters of yore sometimes end up playing catch-up. Bereft of ideas to inject some novelty, they may even repeat the tried and tested. This seems to be the case for filmmaker Alphonse Puthren with Gold, which comes seven years after Premam. Glimmers of his craft appear once in a while, but when they disappear, one is left wondering how someone who had such an understanding of the audience’s pulse, could get it so wrong this time.
Gold, just like Puthren’s debut Neram, happens over a short period of four days. Joshi (Prithviraj Sukumaran) finds an abandoned vehicle filled with a consignment of portable speakers at the entrance of his house. The driver is nowhere to be found, and he has no way of getting his newly-delivered car inside the compound. Unni (Shammi Thilakan), the filthy rich owner of the consignment — which is not what it appears to be — is looking for the same, while the police are also facing a situation similar to Joshi’s.
It is quite the mix that could have created an entertaining comedy of errors on screen. Unfortunately, that is not how it turns out. On the surface, almost every element that can make up an Alphonse Puthren film is present, right from the deft editing by the filmmaker himself, the many references and overlay captions, to Rajesh Murugesan’s high-tempo music, and attempts at situational comedy. However, other than the initial novelty of the situation created by the abandoned vehicle, there is nothing underneath all the glitz on the surface to sustain a mammoth runtime of 165 minutes.
What stands out the most is the never-ending parade of stars, introduced and forgotten, throughout the movie. Sharafudheen, Roshan Mathew, Chemban Vinod Jose, Sabumon, Soubin Shahir, and quite a few others appear, as if in a roll call of actors in contemporary Malayalam cinema. But none of them stay long enough to get their presence registered. Even Nayanthara ends up as one of them, in an almost cameo-like role, having just a few lines to deliver.
Despite these failings, the film might have still worked, had all the attempted humour worked. However, unlike Neram or Premam — both of which had humour as their high point — only a few of the situational comedy scenes work here. Some of the sidetracks, especially an extended one involving Lalu Alex, become almost unbearable. Similarly, a few of the elements which worked in Premam, like the organic shots of nature, are repeated here too. But the recurring shots of the praying mantis, ants, butterflies, and the sky — as supposed symbolic imagery — appear more like gimmicks here. The epilogue to whitewash the protagonist, a common feature of many star vehicles, appears as the last straw. Such is the amount of flab in the movie that the editor in Alphonse could have salvaged it by cutting it almost by half.
In Gold, the protagonist strikes gold from a seemingly ordinary consignment. However, the viewers get plated gold, and not what the title says.
Gold is currently running in theatres