‘Pranaya Meenukalude Kadal’ review: love saga that revels in a volley of clichés

October 05, 2019 01:37 pm | Updated 01:55 pm IST

Vinayakan in a still from ‘Pranaya Meenukalude Kadal’

Vinayakan in a still from ‘Pranaya Meenukalude Kadal’

Ajmal, the young hero of Pranaya Meenukalude Kadal , is a wannabe star and hardcore Mohanlal fan. He has watched Thattathin Marayathu twenty times and swears by the first rule of candyfloss romances — the hero has an indisputable right to fall in love with any pretty face.

Jasmine is an islander, a girl from an aristocratic family, home-schooled and smart, with no particular interest in Ajmal, the dock-hand from Malabar. He starts off by stalking the girl, taking her pictures without permission and giving her screen-inspired lectures on 'mohabbat'. Of course she rebuffs his advances, but some minutes into this wooing dance, he forcibly kisses her underwater and bingo! Once violated, she easily nosedives into love, or the film's version of love. What follows is the regular low-born-loves-princess fare, which lacks any depth or even the carefree energy of a benign teen romance.

The film has its basic storyline built around three generations of women from the noble Arakkal family and what happens when a gang of khalasis land in Kavaratti to repair an uru (vessel). Director Kamal's new-age love saga revels in a volley of romantic clichés, but the flaw of the film lies in its narrative pattern. The craft fails to elevate the threadbare plot and the script fails to evoke an air of poignancy, turning the film into an average affair. The screenplay, penned by Kamal and John Paul, often loses its grip, leaving many character arcs fragmented and half-defined. The drama and intrigue never hit a wholesome crescendo or stay on screen enough to create a lingering impact.

While Riddhi Kumar plays the vivacious Jasmine well, Gabri Jose (who plays Ajmal) seems to have limitations as an actor. He works his performance around the child-man Ajmal, all the while sticking to two or three standard expressions. Vinayakan plays Hydru, the loyal underdog and a man oscillating between aggression and subservience for no apparent reason. The spear-wielding shark hunter shares an umbilical bond with the sea and the film has some underwater sequences that document his adventures. But at the island, he stands stripped off all the glory and is referred as the dog of his mistress, another stereotype.

The best part about Pranaya Meenukalude Kadal is the way it showcases Lakshadweep in its mesmerising tones of turquoise, bringing in a dash of novelty despite films like Anarkali . But then, it's the only saving grace of the film as the rest of it feels as artificial as Hydru's GFX sharks.

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