In 'Bicycle Thieves', Asif Ali plays Chackochan who has had a miserable childhood ever since his parents had decided to end their lives, leaving him all alone. He flees on a stolen bicycle, and runs into a bicycle thief (Salim Kumar) and his two young accomplices (Saiju Kurup and Bineesh Kodiyeri). However the team splits up, after a highly ambitious plan to loot a business man (Sai Kumar) goes kaput, and Chacko relocates to another city far away.
A lack of focus is the chief downer in 'Bicycle Thieves' that takes almost an hour to establish the basic narrative. You feel like you have found the major characters, when all on a sudden they make their exit, and a whole crop of new ones walk in. and thus it goes on, for a very long while, until the half time break comes up on screen.
The story goes off on another tangent altogether after a while, and its here that Meera (Aparna Gopinath) enters the scene. A bank employee by profession, she does not realize the conman that Chackochan is, and is quick to fall in love with him. And for Chacko too, life seems all afresh, with the loneliness that had pervaded all over, slowly vanishing into the thin air.
Of the many characters that walk in and out of the film, the lawyer named Kashi (Vijay Babu) does catch your attention, precisely because of the slightly odd character that he seems to be. Chackochan takes up a part time job as his driver, and then you start wondering where the whole thing is headed, with very few of these events actually making real sense.
The real task of the film maker then lies in pulling all these disjointed pieces together, thereby lending them a proper frame, and placing them at vantage positions in the narrative, so that together they flow out smooth. But sometimes, it so happens that this isn't so much of an easy task, and despite all earnest efforts, a few pieces jut out like unrelenting pieces of rock along the way.
The last fifteen minutes therefore consists of twists galore, and you end up suffering from a twist overdose. Some stories simply do not have the potential to suffer a series of surprises or shock, and this is one such; so when the shockers are forcefully wedged into the storyline, along walks in something called implausibility.
The reason I tell you this, is because several years and several kilometers away from the life that he has had enough of, the people around Chackochans remain the same. It should indeed be a very small world for the man to run into all of them time and again and it's here that the improbability ruins the entire picture.
Asif Ali has a worthy opponent when it comes to performances, and Vijay Babu seems to be getting better with each film. Aparna Gopinath is remarkably charming, though she looks pretty much the same as she did in her debut film.
At best, 'Bicycle Thieves' might qualify for a harmless one time watch. It certainly does not qualify as a thief of viewer hearts.