Imagine a caretaker, chauffeur and cook all rolled into one, and one who is the epitome of all virtues. That is what Sethu; the character played by Shankar Ramakrishnan is blessed with in the form of Mammootty's Bavutty in Renjith-G.S.Vijayan team's hackneyed family drama Bavuttiyude Namathil. Coming from Renjith's pen which churned out a slew of quality stuff of late, this one is a painstaking exercise in didacticism. Lower your bar of expectation at the very outset, to assuage the feeling of being let down. Pare down the anticipation that the Renjith- Vijayan pair has something noteworthy and novel to offer, so that your sense of disappointment is alleviated to a fair degree at least.
Bavutty, an orphan, is the all in all of the wealthy family of businessman - Sethu who eats drinks and sleeps business. His hands are always full with multitudes of responsibilities, not least offering advice to Sethu regarding business. He even calls the shots in the kitchen with his expertise in cooking and looks after the children with devotion. He is the trustworthy cog around which the wheel of Sethu's wealthy family revolves around. Kaniha's character, who enacts the role of the housemaid in the family, assists Bavutty in carrying out his onerous chores. Sethu s wife Vanaja, superbly portrayed by Kavya Madhavan, giving an altogether different dimension to the movie which was supposed to be on Bavutty s life. It would not be an overstatement to say that Kavya towers above the rest with a performance of incredible maturity and finesse.
Bavutty harbours a soft corner for Rima Kallingal who is a regular at Sethu's house. Curiously the song 'Anuragathin Velayil' from 'Thattathin Marayathu' makes its appearance whenever Mammootty and Rima Kallingal are together on the screen which becomes plainly irritating beyond a point. The imagination of the scenarist is shown in poor light to see that he has to make use of such pedestrian stuff to evoke giggle and tickle the funny bone of the viewers. Although his hands are already full with tasks galore, Bavutty gives vent to his histrionic abilities by venturing out to make a homemade movie!, produced by Vanaja without the knowledge of her husband who looks down upon these things. As the plot moves nowhere with only aimless conversations taking place ,the arrival of a haggard looking Vineeth like a bolt from the blue, by the time interval impends, seemed to salvage the movie, which was in danger of going awry as it stood at a crossroads till then, being neither hilarious nor heart touching.
Infusion of a bit of interest in the laggard proceedings, was brought about as Vineeth's character seems to have a past that is intricately interlaced with the life of Vanaja. His link to the main plot which is narrated in flashback and the mayhem and confusion that ensues after his arrival form the second half. Bavutty, whose life is dedicated to the family and for whom the welfare and well being of Sethu, Vanaja and their children is everything, takes it upon himself to set things right as, the movie meanders towards a predictable and ordinary climax. Chauffeur Bavutty's attempts to separate chaff from the grain ,of the life of Sethu and Vanaja, teaching some lessons on fidelity is what the movie is all about.
Bavuttyude Namathil, is a family drama, a drama in the real sense of the term. Mammootty must have felt, whether he is in the set of 'Vesham' or 'Rappakal' on many occasions as the shooting of this film progressed. Rehashed scenes are too numerous to count. Mammootty always excels in the rendition of dialogues in any dialect and this one is no exception. His superb and controlled performance is a treat to watch and he along with Kavya Madhavan stand head and shoulders above the rest of the cast, which includes Harishree Ashokan,Sudheesh, Kottayam Nazir, Shankar Ramakrishnan etc.
The assumption that cinema is a medium to convey ideas on what constitute virtues or values and engaging in a bit of preaching through the characters seems to be the latest obsession of Renjith . One wonders whether he is going the way of Sathyan Anthikkad in this regard. Simplicity has strength, unless it is doctored. That is what the greatest handicap of the movie is. It seeks to be simple at the cost of originality. It is sad to see such a bland blending of sentiments and melodrama and G.S.Vijayan simply has not managed to raise the mundane script even a wee bit from the marshes of ordinariness. Manoj Pillai's camera has not got much to do, as locations don't assume much significance at all in this movie. Songs don't live up to the expectations coming as it does from the successful pair of Rafiq Ahmed- Shahbaz Aman, with only the title song being somewhat enjoyable. Flash back scenes are used to offer a commentary or two on the ill effects of politics. Why struggle to give an impression that politics play a major part in relations in Northern Kerala unlike other parts. Isn't it a cliche of first order ?
Bavutty although not a super hero who is a moustache twirling macho man, is almost made to look like God like, by his acts of relentless selflessness. It is heroism inverted so to speak. Renjith repeats his' Nandanam' thought, that God makes an appearance amongst us in human form when righteousness goes out of the window. The character of Bavutty is almost raised to that level as the very last scene evidences. If only it were true in real life !!! .
Words cannot be minced in saying that Bavuttyude Namathil is plainly disappointing. No movie can assume even a semblance of quality, just because it comes from the stable of an able scenarist going through a purple patch. When makers don't walk the talk, viewers may think twice before walking to the nearest theatre when they have better things to do. Either make unabashedly commercial masala movies or engage in making cinema devoid of predilections. Half cooked stuff will induce revulsion. Artificiality can't be passed off as honesty. Better take the DVD of a previous Renjith movie, give this one a go by.