Ganagandharvan (2019) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen


A story that could have struck gold a couple of decades back, Mammootty in a role that does justice neither to him nor to the hundreds of thousands of his admirers all over the world and slipshod film making that is all over the place – Ramesh Pisharody’s ‘Gana Gandharvan’ is best summed up in these three terse statements.


A story that could have struck gold a couple of decades back, Mammootty in a role that does justice neither to him nor to the hundreds of thousands of his admirers all over the world and slipshod film making that is all over the place – Ramesh Pisharody’s ‘Gana Gandharvan’ is best summed up in these three terse statements.

‘Gana Gandharvan’ has Mammootty playing Kalasadhan Ullas, a stage singer who has been around on the Gaanamela scene for quite a while, but who is yet to make a mark. Ullas grabs an opportunity to fly to the US for a programme, but is appalled when he realizes that he has to play an extra role – that of a woman’s husband – to fly across.

The woman in question – Sandra (Athulya Chandra) – is about to be arrested by the police for a real estate scam that her dad had got her involved in. She sees it as the final chance to flee the country, and coaxes Ullas into agreeing for a mock marriage. Ullas’ real wife Mini (Vanditha Manoharan) however isn’t amused by her husband’s wedding plans and decides to end it all, with disastrous consequences.

What Pisharody very apparently has in mind is quite obvious, and the film centers around Sandra and her scheming ways, making it evident that the man, and not the woman, is at the receiving end here. Sandra verbalizes this as well, and when she emphasizes more than once that being a woman she holds an advantage over Ullas, the thought is laid out categorically.

‘Gana Gandharvan’ does not however score on any other scale apart from this vagrant thought, which in itself is debatable and downright contentious. While there have been allegations without doubt and legitimate ones at that, there have also been contentions that the frequency of such cases is too little that it does not merit drawing our attention away from instances of real women abuse. Pull the focus off that central element and the rest of it topples down in heaps and lumps like a sand castle caught in a gust of wind.

Structurally too, the film seldom holds ground, and almost all the stage song sequences appear without life or breath. It is such a far cry from several other films of yore that had so beautifully etched down the lives of stage artists – singers and actors – and the stage artists in ‘Gana Gandharvan’ appear discomfited to the core.

The climax holds a surprise in store with a cameo from an almost unexpected actor, but which ends up in shambles on account of the way in which the entire sequence has been penned. There is a whole lot of talk about the horoscope and how Ullas is destined to tie the knot three times. And how it is all made to fall into place, is what the finale that is nothing to crow about, is all about.

This isn’t a role that demands an actor of the stature of Mammootty, and while he does decently well in the title role, there are actors as Suresh Krishna, Manoj K Jayan and Innocent who lend support. Athulya is impressive in a role that has plenty of shades of grey, while Vanditha finds the going tough in a role that couldn’t be any more stereotyped.

What is disheartening is the severe lack of humour in ‘Gana Gandharvan’, despite it being a Pisharody film. If a Physics teacher who cries out ‘law of gravity’ when her husband falls down with a thud is your idea of hilarity, ‘Gana Gandharvan’ might be your cup of tea. For the rest of us, it isn’t.


Verdict: Average


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