Even if you choose not to pay heed to the believability factor, ‘Careful’ remains resolutely rooted in mawkish mediocrity. It hosts a promising idea that is mostly lost in execution, and comes across as a hurriedly scripted didactic film on traffic rules.
There comes a moment in ‘Careful’ when you push yourself back on a seat that refuses to budge any further, and recline jadedly, wondering what it is that prompts a film maker as V K Prakash to come up with a remake fiasco as the one playing out on the screen. This certainly isn’t instructive cinema at its best, and tries albeit a bit hard, to deliver a message that ends up all over the place.
Inspired by the Kannada film ‘U-Turn’, Prakash’s film, as a character in it states, dwells on how a seemingly trivial mistake could shatter someone else’s life. Rachna Nambiar (Sandhya Raju) is a journalist intern at Kerala Times, where she is constantly pressured by her boss to come up with a hard line story.
An increasing incidence of road accidents draws Rachna’s attention to a busy road in Cochin, where motorists have been known to repeatedly defy traffic rules. When the cops led by Inspector Jayakrishnan (Vijay babu) land up at her place late one night, little does Rachna realize that a few of the traffic violators that she had taken note of, are no more, and that she is the prime suspect in this series of unnatural deaths.
‘Careful’ is replete with instances galore where you are flooded with a hundred questions, none of which are offered straight answers. Rachna is hurled off by cops for an interrogation and she returns the next day back home, and her sudden disappearance without a trace after a phone call that was cut off midway, seems to have had little effect on her boy friend Bijoy (Vineeth Kumar). He makes no attempts whatsoever to find out where she had disappeared overnight!
One also wonders how a journalist of all persons, is subjected to the kind of torture that she is made to endure in the hands of the cops. The police officers get away with a simple apology that is readily accepted, and Rachna goes about her business, as if her ordeal were simply a customary grilling that was all a part of the day’s work.
‘Careful’ brings in a supernatural element into the story, and it’s easy to make connections, even if you haven’t already watched ‘U-Turn’. The plotline that involves a blissful couple (Saiju Kurup and Jomol) is too much of a dead giveaway and leaves too many clues lying around. It only takes a while to piece them together into a coherent hole; as specious the whole might sound.
Even if you choose not to pay heed to the believability factor, ‘Careful’ remains resolutely rooted in mawkish mediocrity. It hosts a promising idea that is mostly lost in execution, and comes across as a hurriedly scripted didactic film on traffic rules. The set up looks a bit too contrived to be taken seriously, and this leads to its final collapse.
Vijay Babu, with a sturdy performance, stands apart in ‘Careful’, that is otherwise ridden by mostly passable feats. Sandhya Raju scores with her super model looks, but is at a loss when it comes to emoting, while Parvathy Nambiar is miscast in the role of a police officer. It’s refreshing to see Jomol back after a while, and Saiju Kurup is impressive in a brief role. Vineeth Kumar, Ashokan, Sreejith Ravi and Aju Varghese are seen in key roles as well.
The very last scene in ‘Careful’ is probably the best in the film, though it takes quite a while to reach there, after the climax that had gotten over, several minutes back. It is this scene that leaves behind a thought that is poignant; such a far cry from the several others that had preceded it.