Death is a dull business in Ranjith’s drama that seems and sounds like a pale walkover from several of the director’s former films. It’s an inept satire that lacks the bite that whirls and wheezes all the while, trying vainly to get its stage, settings and actors all in place.
Death is a dull business in Ranjith’s drama that seems and sounds like a pale walkover from several of the director’s former films. Replete with tested, tried and tired sequences on failing familial relationships, Ranjith shifts the site of his latest cinematic endeavour to London, where Rosamma (Arundhati Nag) whiles away the final days of her life at her daughter Mercy’s (Kaniha) place.
The end is all sudden, and Mercy discovers her mother lying dead on the bed, and intimates her brothers Benny, Philip and Jomon (Tini Tom, Suresh Krishna and Niranj) and sister Ammini (Subi Suresh) regarding the terrible news. They decide to offer their mom her final respects at London, and seek the services of a funeral arrangement agency headed by Dixon (Dileesh Pothen), who sends over their star employee Raju (Mohanlal) to assess the situation and make essential arrangements.
Jomon drops a bomb however, when soon after flying in, he reveals that Rosamma wanted to be laid to rest beside her husband’s grave at Kattappana. While his brothers and Ammini think of it as an unnecessary and impractical suggestion that they shoo off with much disdain, Mercy who knows the truth regarding her mother’s final wish is left in a quandary.
There are no delightful machinations in sight in ‘Drama’, the kind that had made some of Ranjith’s former films like ‘Pranchiyettan and the Saint’ endearing to us. There is no consistency in tone either, with the narrative desperately wanting to bring in some humour through the conversations between Raju and his assistant Podiyan (Baiju) and some sombreness with all the talk on how everything including emotional bonds are casually tossed aside for money these days.
When it comes to the characters, there are few that are relatable, and even when they are, the writing gets patchy beyond imagination. Rosamma herself is offered no opportunity to establish herself as a character whom we would want to reach out to, and her children are left with even fewer chances to do so.
There is an infinitesimally tedious aside that talks of Raju’s personal life, where his wife Rekha (Asha Sarath) has shown him the door, after a casual fling of his with one of her friends has been exposed. Raju wastes plenty of time – both his and ours – knocking on the glass windows outside her kitchen, imploring her to let him in, while she indifferently sits inside.
In another wobbly scene, Raju is seen striking up a deal with Mukundanunni (Shyamaprasad), Mercy’s husband. Lasting several minutes, this is one of those scenes that makes you comprehend that the film probably is more about dramatics than drama itself, and by the end of it and what actually transpires out of it, we realize how far it appears from the watertight plot-lines that Ranjith has in the past laid out before us.
It has come to a point when a fantasy element has become almost mandatory in Ranjith’s films and the twist that arrives at the halfway point reaffirms this fact. However there is hardly anything redeeming about the entire episode that follows, and the chapter strikes you as a mere gimmick than anything else.
‘Drama’ has an impressive line-up of actors led by a dapper Mohanlal, none of whom have anything spectacular to dish out. It’s an inept satire that lacks the bite that whirls and wheezes all the while, trying vainly to get its stage, settings and actors all in place.