The humour is intermittently effective, and at times all over the place; there is so much happening on one side, and so little on the other. The context is as unreal as it gets, plenty of opportunities are missed, and grace is far from sight.
Even with your basic senses locked up in a freezer, ‘Mera Naam Shaji’ is a laborious watch, because it repeatedly questions reason in all possible ways it can. The best you can do then, is to just let things be, and wait for the tangle to unknot, and it takes a bit more than a couple of hours for that to happen.
‘An International Local Story’ is a sparsely funny attempt that will not have connoisseurs of comedies laughing their hearts away in merriment. Notwithstanding the efforts of its director, it hardly has anything on offer except a harmless chuckle or two that you might encounter on the way.
‘Nithyaharitha Nayakan’ is a heap of stereotypes that have piled on, most of which are ill-conceived. Jumbled and disconnected to the core, ‘Nithyaharitha Nayakan’ flounders all along, and in jaded circumstances as these, what use is a talented cast determined to do an honest job?
‘Aanakkallan’ is a disappointment of colossal proportions that makes you want to reach out to Biju Menon and point out that he needs to take a breather. One long look at the kind of choices that he has made of late, and he should sense that it’s time for him to perhaps take it a bit slow, lest the crowd enthusiasm in his films drops down like a stone tossed from the top of a hill.
Vinayan’s ‘Chalakkudikkaran Changathi’ is ultimately undone by the flaws in its script. It hardly lays bare the multiple layers that made Mani’s persona appear so appealing and complex to people like us, a principal failing that leaves Mani’s screen portrait a far from perfect one.
‘Vikadakumaran’ does not manage to work wonders with the slender thread of promise that lies at its core. This one has a plot that gets creakier with time, and at two hours and ten minutes, it huffs and puffs along, before eventually running out of steam.
‘Kuttanadan Marpappa’ tries to make do with the done-to-death romantic tropes and ends up a much less assured version that it originally must have set out to be. The leaden comic touches do not much help either, and it isn’t a wonder that it ends up in the water, quite like many of its characters who literally do in the film.
‘Kalyanam’ makes a celebration of being lost in its formulaic twirls, and forces an unabashed repetition of household instances from a dozen romantic capers of yore. It’s a pretty tiresome marriage, as my fellow spectator insists, one of which, the jubilations are very unlikely to last long.
Shamdat decides to go for a partly experimental account in ‘Street Lights’, but gets stuck with mostly one-dimensional characters in underdeveloped situations. With an add-on climax that goes on a few minutes even after all the action has come to a close, ‘Street Lights’ seems and sounds a bit too contrived to be real.
‘Aana Alaralodalaral’ tries to make the best of what it has, but the sad thing is it doesn’t have much, and the little it has, has an outmoded air to it. The ultimate result of this trumpet that lasts for a couple of hours but which seems and sounds much longer, is nothing but mediocrity, and that too, stacks of it.