Matchbox (2017) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen


‘Matchbox’ hardly manages to strike up a flame that is blown out in no time, in a sturdy gust which draws in a heap of romance truisms that land all over the place. Looks like a damp box, this one, which is very unlikely to set the box office afire.   


At times, the prime reason why a movie catches your fancy could be its lead actor. Sivaram Mony’s ’Matchbox’ has Roshan Mathew in the lead, and if you walk into the theatre expecting the fine young performer to work wonders with a film that has zilch to offer beyond a trite romance, you would end up real disappointed.

Ambu (Roshan Mathew) discovers love the cinematic way, and the bus stop is where he runs into the girl of his dreams (Drishya Raghunath). Having decided that she’s the one for him, he starts relentlessly pursuing her around, only to discover that  Nidhi, as she’s called, is all set to let someone else into her life.

This is a love story that is as stale as last year’s butter, and the unsurprising mess that it lands in is courtesy the sheer obviousness that continually hangs around. The love smitten-anxious-dejected routine that in due course switches over to the jubilant mode has been one that we have been dragged along on, a hundred times already, and ‘Matchbox; does little to lessen our weariness.

The film has a script that takes no chances, and hence ensures that it does not leave out even one of those tried and tested formulae that had formerly drawn in some applause. It’s sad really since there is a lot of screwball energy on show, with a bunch of enterprising youngsters around, all of which ends up misplaced.

The comic track is one that is all over the place as well, and for the comedy to work in the given circumstances would anyway have been an exceptional challenge. The very occasional laugh here or there notwithstanding, ‘Matchbox’ has perhaps very little to offer on the hilarity front, barring a comic standout by Vishak Nair.

‘Matchbox’ has as its backdrop the city of Calicut, and fervently tries to emphasize its love for the city. But beyond the title cards, very little of this fondness for the town actually transpires on screen, just as in the case of many other things in ‘Matchbox’ that suggest a promise here or there, but which eventually only lets you down.

There is the climax for instance that does remind you of a fantastic, lengthy shot that you had already witnessed in one of the best films to have come out this year, and yet which comes nowhere even near. This is where it dawns on you that it isn’t enough to be merely inspired, and that the inspiration needs to seek out unsullied manners of expression as well.

There are times when you feel that even love has been taken for a ride, and by the end of its running time, you hardly even care if Ambu does get to discover his treasure, Nidhi. Bijibal’s musical score is easy on the ears, but in ‘Matchbox’ that would hardly of course make a difference.

Roshan Mathew lives up to the expectations, and asserts once again that he is a dependable actor who could even make a stale screenplay appear believable. But ‘Matchbox’ restrains him harshly, and Roshan finds himself wedged under one predictable situation after the other. A special mention is also to be made of  Vishak Nair who delivers a laudable performance in the film.

‘Matchbox’ hardly manages to strike up a flame that is blown out in no time, in a sturdy gust which draws in a heap of romance truisms that land all over the place. Looks like a damp box, this one, which is very unlikely to set the box office afire.


Verdict: Bland Romance


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