Clint (2017) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen


As dispiriting as it sounds, ‘Clint’ is a film that only partially does justice to the incredible life that has inspired it. I would have loved it had it been an uncompromising and moving feature as it should ideally have been, instead of the too straight paper-to-screen adaptation that it has turned out to be.


The night of the 15th of April on 1983 was when Clint finally flew away to be one among the stars on a brightly lit night sky , leaving behind thousands of coloured rainbows over the lives of those whom he had touched with a stroke of his painting brush. Harikumar’s biopic is the chronicle of a momentous life that had abruptly come to an end, and yet  which will ceaselessly awe many more generations to come.

Clint (Alok) was named after the Hollywood actor Clint Eastwood, by his dad Joseph (Unni Mukundan) who had become enamored by the artiste, having watched several films of his. Joseph and his wife Chinnamma (Rima Kallingal), having discovered the incredible flair that their young son displayed in his constant scribble adventures with the paint brush and the pen, decide to let him stay at home rather than be schooled, much to the derision and disdain of those around.

A cinematic adaptation of the story of Clint is one where you would want the genius to manifest itself through extensive flourishes of the colouring pencils or the brushes dipped in paint, and where the focus would then probably hover over the highly intricate personality traits that made the child extraordinarily exceptional.

However, the characterization in Hari Kumar’s film is one that even appears strained to the point of being artificial, as the initial scene that involves an art critic would  amply demonstrate. Poorly written and stilted further by some inflated acting by Salim Kumar, this is a scene that deserves to be nowhere near a story as solemn as this, and even if it were a real incident, deserved a much graver treatment than the one that has been meted out to it.

This mellowness in treatment is indeed very rare in the film, which is perhaps why when it finally arrives, it catches you by surprise.  In a remarkably well written scene, Joseph and Chinnamma lead Clint on to the barber who has arrived to shave the child’s head. Once adamant about not having a haircut, a visibly worn-out Clint walks out without a word and lets the barber have his way. Chinnamma and Joseph linger around on the verandah not able to look at their son as he is subjected to what he had always considered an ordeal, and when Clint walks back into the house with a tonsured head, only a dead silence remains.

It sounds almost impossible that a film based on an epic life as that of the renowned child prodigy Edmund Thomas Clint could flounder, and that is surprisingly what Harikumar’s cinematic piece does. It is without doubt a plausible interpretation of a regrettably short life that had overwhelmed many and which continues to do so, and yet one which shows rampant signs of a direction that lacks focus and form.

Alok is indeed wonderful as ‘Clint’ , and the child actor brings in enough and more sensibility into his portrayal of the painter who was gone before the world could see for itself what he could have been capable of. Rima Kallingal plays the distraught mother to perfection, and despite a very crucial scene where her voice mysteriously gets replaced by someone else’s, comes up with a really decent act. Unni Mukundan does try hard, and there are instances when he is convincing to the core, and others when you feel he should have been a bit more persuasive.

As dispiriting as it sounds, ‘Clint’ is a film that only partially does justice to the incredible life that has inspired it. I would have loved it had it been an uncompromising and moving feature as it should ideally have been, instead of the too straight paper-to-screen adaptation that it has turned out to be.


Verdict: Average


Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply