Spinning stories from a railway hotel

A still from ‘Kerala Café.’

A still from ‘Kerala Café.’  

Kerala Cafe

Ten prominent directors have come together to make Kerala Cafe.

It comprises one movie each by Anvar Rasheed, Anjali Menon, Lal Jose, B. Unnikrishnan, Shaji Kailas, Shyamaprasad, Revathy, Uday Ananthan, M. Padmakumar and Sankar Ramakrishnan.

The movies are set around a railway restaurant named Kerala Cafe. The films move along the ‘long journey’ theme and explore various aspects of the Malayali psyche.

Nostalgia, directed by M. Padmakumar is the first one in the sequence. Johnykutty (Dileep) is millionaire who works in Dubai. His penchant for good old Malayalam melodies is too well known. He dreams of returning to Kerala. But he lands up in the State and is in utter dejection for many reasons. His real intention is to dispose of his ancestral property against the wishes of his parents. And after that he is back in the Gulf. The director tries to expose the lack of sincerity in our nostalgia.

Debutant Sankar Ramakrishnan’s Island Express has a flamboyant Prithviraj, a writer, talking about his favourite heroes in life. He goes to Kerala with his editor-publisher girlfriend. An aged Narayani (Sukumari) waits at a bus station, while a tired army officer (Jayasurya) sleeps sitting nearby. A man in his fifties (Manian Pilla Raju), somewhere afar, talks of an incident, a tragedy, that took place 21 years ago. Shaji Kailas’ Lalitham Hiranmayam is about infidelity. In Uday Ananthan’s Mruthyunjay, a young journalist tries to unravel the mystery surrounding a ‘mana’ owned by Thilakan.

Anjali Menon’s Happy Journey is a hilarious take on the modern man’s pretensions. B. Unikrishnan’s Aviramam portrays, in a touching manner, the difficulty of pulling on in the face of adversities. Shyamaprasad’s Off Season stands out for the photography. Anwar Rasheed’s Bridge is definitely the best movie. Two different stories are bridged together. Revathy’s Makal deals with child trafficking. Lal Jose’ Puramkazhchakal is based on a story by C.V. Sriraman

G. Jayakumar

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