Shebi proves beyond doubt that his is a talent to reckon with, if you go by his first film. Like the popular ad goes, every one says 'cinema for the new generation; here is a man who has actually delivered 'cinema for the next generation'.
The debut feature by Shebi Chavakkad tells a delightful coming of age story that provides you with a fulfilling journey into the land of teen angst. The small film that it is, 'Plus Two' has in store a few harmless chuckles, a few memorable scenes and some lilting music - much more than you can ask for these days.
'Plus Two' talks of five higher secondary school students Prince, Faizal, Shambhu, Mathews and Ranjith (Roshan, Vishnu Mohan, Justine John, Deepak Murali, Sajin) who have just realized that it isn't quite easy being seventeen. When a young girl Meenakshi (Shafna) takes refuge at Prince's place where he stays alone, the boy falls in love and looks forward to adulthood.
'Plus Two' is a modest film that knows it cannot depends too much on its low profile star cast and hence banks even more on its mode of delivery. Shebi delivers the stuff most of the time, and the final impact of the film could have been much better if that script was trimmed of its loose ends and further polished to perfection.
The major difference that sets apart Shebi's film from the rest of the stuff being churned out in the name of entertainment that targets youth is that it has taken into account the subtlest nuances of adolescence - a phase that its leading characters are passing through.
The smiles that the film offers have that inherent freshness as well, without ever stooping to vulgarity. Take for instance the boys' attempts to grab a few girls' clothes from a textile store and all the mess that emanates when they are stopped in the middle of the road by the local guardian (Maniyanpillai Raju) who isn't amused at finding what's packed in those shopping bags.
All the five actors come up with quite impressive feats and Shafna matches it up to them with a controlled and detailed performance. The technical crew behind the film deserves a special applause as well for making it a stunning lyrical portrait of love. 'Plus Two' is visually elegant thanks to some real slick editing (Mahesh Narayanan) and fantastic cinematography (Dileep Raman). Manu Ramesh is another top scorer here with a couple of marvelous songs that smoothly gel with the mood of the film.
All that screen advertising for hair fixing could have been done away with, because it juts out of the film like a shark fin on a calm sea. The move towards the climax appears a bit labored as well, and the end is pretty obvious. These clutters not withstanding, I would strongly recommend this small and simple film for a peaceful weekend watch.
There is plenty of hope for Malayalam cinema in several of these fresh and vibrant directors thronging the scene. Shebi proves beyond doubt that his is a talent to reckon with, if you go by his first film. Like the popular ad goes, every one says 'cinema for the new generation; here is a man who has actually delivered 'cinema for the next generation'.
2.5 out of 5 (Fairly Good)
WHAT THE RATINGS MEAN:
0.0 - 1.4 : Poor
1.5 - 1.7: Poor, A Few Good Parts
1.8 - 2.3: Okay
2.4 - 2.9: Fairly Good
3.0 - 3.4: Good
3.5 - 5.0: Very Good