Well, the concept is all there in 'Vallatha Pahayan', and it's a sturdy one at that. But it's one that doesn't make news anymore. In fact, it's one that is anything but news these days.
'Vallatha Pahayan' is all about the travails of Balan (Manikandan), a peon at a government high school, to build a house of his own. Sumitra (Rachana Narayanankutty), his wife, is all supportive and gets tremendously excited at the thought of finally moving from the rented house that they have been living in for long. Balan entrusts the construction of the house to builder Prahladan (Sreekumar), who promises to finish off the job at a rate way below the estimate.
The 'Marimayam' magic that had worked so wonderfully well on the small screen, does not however repeat its fete on the big screen as well. The chief reason behind the no-show would be that the film fails to offer us anything new.
As I told you already, it has all been seen earlier. The husband who strives a bit too hard, the wife who is all supportive and a bit too naÃ¯ve, the extremely compassionate neighbors, the caustic colleagues - are all people whom you know like the back of your palm now.
The fun is not entirely missing however, and there are a few hilarious gems here and there, which do make you laugh out in all earnestness. But the effects that are built up aren't entirely side-splitting, and you wish that things were better.
If you had expected some social critique in the film, it is there in abundance. There are plenty of those darts that hit the spots left, right and center and some of which fall way off target. And it's all done in a subtle and often restrained manner.
True to its tagline, this film is an 'ordinary film about ordinary people'. It's this ordinariness, this predictability that works against it as well, and makes it merely yet another film that gets lost in the crowd in no time.
The resemblances to several other films cannot be forgotten in a hurry either. Though visually quite different, the parallels in the theme in films like 'Lucky Star' and 'Immanuel' - both which dealt with a family trying to build a house of its own - are definitely there.
'Vallatha Pahayan' does not of course turn you off like some of those films in the recent past, but that doesn't make it really engaging either. What I mean to say is that not being revolting isn't reason enough to watch it.
The 'Marimayam' team doesn't disappoint when it comes to performances on screen either. Maninkandan, Sreekumar and Rachana have already left their mark on the big screen, and the rest of them too impress, no doubt.
I should not forget to mention the best thing about 'Vallatha Pahayan' - the title sequences are simply brilliant and comprise of a few highly imaginative and creative works of art by kids who had taken part in a competition for the same. If only all that inventiveness had spilled over to the film, would 'Vallatha Pahayan' been an appealing film. As of now, sadly, it is not.