'Happy Journey' starts off where the recently released '1983' left off, with a child cricket prodigy named Aaron getting selected to the under-15 state cricket team. The boy and his mom Alice (Lena) dream of a spectacular sports career ahead, when an unexpected accident renders the boy blind.
Boban Samuel's new film tracks the boy's journey into his youth, where he matures into a charming youngster (Jayasurya) who skillfully manages things on his own, despite being visually disabled. And he starts telling his story to a fellow passenger (Aparna Gopinath) in a bus bound for Chennai, and she even ends up writing a book on it!
Some themes do manage to capture our attention when it comes to the distinctive milieu that they are set on. As someone asks in the course of the film, how many of us have in fact heard of the Blind Cricket team of the country? Or for that matter how many of us have actually watched these blind sportsmen play?
Not many of us, I'm sure, and even then, 'Happy Journey' turns out to be a yawn of a film. There is only the script that does not have any specific purpose or aim that has to be blamed for the miserable state of affairs that the film finds itself in.
The last half hour of the film, in particular, is insufferable, with the audience literally taken for a ride. So when a song spurts out all on a sudden, only to be followed by yet another in quick succession, you realize that the journey isn't half as happy as it claims to be.
There are a few light moments in the first half of the film, and surprisingly they have nothing to do with the central theme as such. They concern Aaron's cousin Freddy (Balu Varghese), who is the sole lively spirit in the entire film. Wait, there is another fellow named Pranchi with whom Freddy is always engaged in a war of words, and together they are a blast.
The 'Chak De' team, that coach Gopikrishnan (Lal) assembles together is indeed reminiscent of the Bollywood film. However the representatives from the different states in 'Happy Journey' make a clumsy group, with none of their identities explored. And when there is the rare attempt to delve into the lives of one or two of them, like for instead the Tamilian (Chemban Vinod Jose), the results are corny and disastrous.
All said and done, Jayasurya does come up with an endearing performance as the blind sportsman, and its purely on account of the actor's mode of delivery that we patiently sit through the entirety of the film. Of course, there is Balu Varghese as well, who makes you smile, which is saying a lot, when it comes to a film as this.
The interest quotient in Boban Samuel's 'Happy Journey' remains the minimum, and at the end of it, its nothing more than a series of disparate scenes that try their best to hold together. It's a bit sad, since the source material that the maker had in his hands could have evolved into something infinitely better, with perhaps a bit of a shift in perspective.