The believability that had made Boban Samuel's debut film so endearing is seriously missing in his second cinematic outing.
Boban Samuel's 'Romans' is pretty much old-fashioned when it comes to the way it tells its story. Barring the once-in-a-blue moon gags that might induce a smile on your lips, it has nothing much appealing to crow about.
Two convicts (Kunchacko Boban and Biju Menon) who make their escape while on a train journey are mistaken by a group of villagers as two Roman priests who have arrived to salvage their church that had fallen to ruins. Within no time they find themselves placed on a pedestal where they even get to perform a few miracles, thereby winning the adulation of everyone around.
'Romans' reminds you of those Bollywood films of the eighties in which convicts on the run would masquerade themselves as someone else, while fleeing from the hands of the law. And it also seems to have been quite inspired (though not literally) from several other films in which mistaken identities have offered us some laughter.
The odd jokes here and there are there for sure as the initial hour of 'Romans' plays over, thanks to Father Sebu (Biju Menon) who takes to eating with a vengeance. He also develops a fascination for the local hooker among several other things. Father Paul (Kunchacko Boban) on the other hand, creates apples and prayer beads out of thin air, thanks to his magician skills that he had been putting to good use before being jailed.
The second half goes for a nosedive even further down, and especially not up to the scratch is the climax where everything is stitched up together in a frantic effort to make it all come to an end. It's a make-do affair with very few highlights that are worth a look, a second time around.
I was thinking about 'Seniors' meeting 'Marykkundoru Kunjaadu' while watching 'Romans'. In fact, there is a liberal mix-up of several elements that we are already much familiar with in 'Romans', starting with the crazy woman who asks if the visitors need tea or coffee (Ponnamma Babu). The circumstances are much familiar and so are the characters.
The predictability and blandness that throw the script into shambles assumes that an entire village consists of imprudent folk who wouldn't think twice before welcoming two vagabonds as their parish priests. Apparently they have been sent across by Father Gabriel (Vijayaraghavan) and no one even bothers to make a call to the senior priest. The faulty landlines and the mobile phones that remain out of range for the better part of the day could perhaps be cited as reasons.
Their chemistry did work a couple of times before, and it does work again in 'Romans' as well. Biju Menon and Kunchacko Boban are individually good, and they are good together as well, but they really don't have the capability to raise a very mundane story from the pits. One feels sorry for Niveda Thomas, who has one of the prettiest faces without doubt, but who has been totally wasted in an inconsequential role that merely requires her to climb meadows.
I kinda liked Boban Samuel's debut film 'Janapriyan' that talked of a man who had an innate ability to spread his inherent goodness all around. But his second film has left me in disappointment, since the believability that had made his debut film so endearing is seriously missing in his second cinematic outing.
2 out of 5 (Average)
WHAT THE RATINGS MEAN:
0.0 - 1.4 : Poor
1.5 - 1.7: Poor, A Few Good Parts
1.8 - 2.3: Average
2.4 - 2.9: Fairly Good
3.0 - 3.4: Good
3.5 - 5.0: Very Good