It’s a fascinating subject without doubt, but one that is lost in an assorted downpour of musty jokes and sentimentalities. At best, ‘Hey Jude’ makes you yearn for the film maker who had gifted you with a gem as ‘Artist’ not long back, and fervently wish he would demonstrate to us what it means to capably blend the tragic with the terrific, yet again.
A bleak looking Jude gapes at the camera and hesitantly admits that while he has no trouble figuring out numbers and the magical patterns that they generate, emotions baffle him to the hilt. Stretching out his lips into a strained grin, he asks if this is what joy means, and how it is that one could judge if someone is happy?
Shyamaprasad’s film ‘Hey Jude’ is one that constantly shifts between extremes, and while leaving behind a handful of marvellous moments, persistently reminds you of what a befuddled script could do to an interesting idea that lies at its core. Juggling between humour and schmaltz, ‘Hey Jude’ randomly scores a point here and there, but slips and trips all through its journey to Goa from Kerala and back!
Dominique (Siddique) and Maria (Neena Kurup) have lived with the realization that their son Jude (Nivin Pauly), has a personality unlike most other people his age. Jude has an exceptional talent when it comes to remembering facts or churning out figures, and yet does not think twice before declaring to a young woman, straight on her face, that she is excessively fat.
A trip to Goa, acquaints Jude with Crystal (Trisha Krishnan) and her dad Dr. Sebastian (Vijay Menon), a psychologist who in no time diagnoses that Jude has Asperger Syndrome, a condition that falls within the Autism spectrum, that renders him unable to effectively socialize. Crystal and her music band opens up a whole new world before Jude; one that he eagerly takes to with extreme caution and an even greater inquisitiveness.
The best instants in ‘Hey Jude’ have Jude in an introspective avatar, when he gets busy filming himself for the video diaries that he devotedly maintains. This is a young man who is perpetually puzzled as to why the people around him are at a loss to gauge his uncertainties, as he moves around getting fired from jobs, ridiculed and continually disparaged for the way he is. Jude dreams of owning a salt water aquarium despite nursing a perpetual fear of the water, refuses to look people in the eye, and sees to it that his room wholly reflects the puzzlement that relentlessly ebbs within.
The worst instants are however, the offshoots of this premise, and focus instead on the hilarity that arises out of this peculiar condition. Dominique, for instance, has had it with his son, and through his explicit statements over the first hour of the film, the script by Nirmal Sahadev and George Kanatt establishes sans any doubt, that a few light moments are its sole intention. If that weren’t enough, we have a hitchhiker in the form of Aju Varghese, who is appalled by Jude’s incessant chatter, and who hops out of the car as speedily as he had managed to climb in, but not before letting out an avalanche of abuses all over the latter.
When Sebastian reveals that Crystal has been under medication for bipolar disorder, and explains further that it is probably their disabilities that drew these two vagabond souls close, one isn’t sure if one should frown in disapproval or exclaim in agreement. Crystal and Jude indeed make an odd pair, and while the film skims over the delicacies that underlie their relationship, there is also a lack of depth in the character development that ultimately alters them into unfinished caricatures.
Jude springs to life, thanks to Nivin Pauly’s highly uncharacteristic and intensely persuasive performance. There is also Trisha, who is a far cry from the films that we have often got to see her in, and as Crystal, she is astonishingly good. I wish more film makers would see what a terrific actor Vijay Menon is, or rather could be, and stop reining him in roles that shamelessly drool over his English accent and little else. Siddique, Neena Kurup and Apoorva Bose deliver convincing feats, Girish Gangadharan’s frames are picturesque and Rahul Raj’s musical score, as distinctly agreeable as ever.
It’s a fascinating subject without doubt, but one that is lost in an assorted downpour of musty jokes and sentimentalities. At best, ‘Hey Jude’ makes you yearn for the film maker who had gifted you with a gem as ‘Artist’ not long back, and fervently wish he would demonstrate to us what it means to capably blend the tragic with the terrific, perhaps once again.
Verdict: Mixed Bag