offers a probing slice of life that is resonant with moments that are startling, funny and honest. It has a clear-cut quality to it that makes the cautionary tale that it tells transform into a poignant piece of film making.
Mathews (Mohanlal) has built a heaven for himself at the rustic lands of Kodanadu, where he along with his dad Germias (Thilakan) has almost brought about a revolution in bio farming. When the real estate ring starts eying his land, Mathews makes plain his dissent, little realizing that trying times lie ahead for him.
It's an idyllic paradise that Albert has crafted for the film, so much so that it looks almost out of this world. The hordes of cattle that graze along are accompanied by a gaggle of quacking geese; the windmill sails swivel across a landscape that has the freshest of sprouts springing up from a fertile ground, where man and nature becomes one and harmony reigns.
You would fall in love with the film, not because it tells an earth shattering story, but because of the faith that it has in itself. And it's on account of this faith that we remain with Mathews through his ordeals to the very end, while he determinedly tries to rebuild his life.
It's a relief that there isn't a hero in Ividam Swargamanu.
The protagonist on the other hand, is shorn of all the heroic adornments and we get to see him for the first time trying to pacify an annoyed cow. On this very first scene, he draws you towards him and offers you a place beside, and when he confronts issues that nobody likes to deal with, we are together with him in the tussle, taking sides and surging through the highs and lows.
Some films are slow, as this one is, but the results could be quite rewarding. There are plenty of high notes that the film delivers. Life is full of unexpected turns, and Mathews hangs on despite all the pitfalls, and the optimism that the film holds close to its heart, makes it a joyride.
The unfussiness with which the script conveys its messages across is commendable. There is an instance when Mathews asks the Amicus curiae
(Sreenivasan) as to why he has agreed to make a speech on a social issue, since there was not a soul around to hear him anyway. The lawyer smiles and retorts that if he wanted the public to take note, he might as well do a cabaret. That a single man has taken note is what matters; and it might be a futile exercise to expect more.
There is an incredible shine in Mohanlal's performance as Mathews that easily captures our hearts. The adorable farmer that Albert's script demands him to be is safe in the actor's hands, and the film rolls on with elan. The star disappears, the actor evolves, the character emerges.
Lakshmi Rai as the tough lawyer leaves a mark among the ladies, while Priyanka and Lakshmi Gopalaswami are more of mere embellishments. Lalu Alex though is terribly miscast as the ring leader of the local land mafia, and often makes us wish the inherent goodness that is so characteristic of him didn't come across so evidently on screen.
Running for about three long hours, the film could have done with some smart trimming that could have made it snappier. The pacing is what drags the film down. There are quite a few loose ends hanging about here and there that could have been easily chopped off. Like the last bit about Mathews going on about the three women in his life and the choice that he has made, clearly sticks out like a sore thumb. There is the fragile climax as well when a bunch of hardcore criminals are made to look like a cluster of balloon bursting buffoons with neither brawn nor brains.
In Ividam Swargamanu,
Roshan Andrews maintains a fine symmetry between empathy and satire. Rousing some genuine feelings in the minds of the viewers, this is a brilliant way to end the eventful year.