K S Sethumadhavan's 'Venalkinaavukal' that was released in 1991 was bitter sweet tale of a group of adolescents struggling with process of maturing into adulthood. Twenty years later, while watching a film that talks of a similar theme, you start dearly missing that film of yore, as well as the film maker.
'Orkut Oru Ormakoottu' also has four young boys (played by Ben Lalu Alex, Joe Siby Malayil, Anu Mohan and Vishnu Raghav), all eager to become real men, real soon. Longing for female company, they try quite a few tricks in the trade, most of which fail miserably, much to their disappointment.
The film has obviously been in the making a for a couple of years at least, since Orkut has in the mean time made way to the Facebook revolution. One of the four boys in the film however, strike up a rapport with a Germal girl called Crystal (Rima Kallingal) on the social networking website, and soon she lands at his doorstep and announces that she has come in search of her Indian roots.
The first half of the film is almost a breeze, and though it slips across diverse plains of experience only peripherally, makes for easy viewing. But when it starts throwing light on the urban family landscapes that have ruined relationships beyond repair, the narrative turns synthetic.
Parents fall into two categories here - the careless, indifferent ones (Vijay Menon) busy having lives of their own, or the helpless, confused ones (Menaka) who don't have a clue as to what has gone wrong! These are all pretty good, except that we have been through all this several times before.
The script however, does manage to hold through until the initial first hour, and then Crystal drops in like a bomb. The girl takes the boys on a journey, and along with her, the entire film goes on a detour. Out somewhere in a village near Palakkad, several new characters are introduced, and the story becomes Crystal's with the boys being oddly left out.
With the boys out of the picture, the film nosedives into disaster zone, precisely because Crystal's expedition is not half as interesting as we expect it to be. And the conclusions that are eventually drawn leave a lot to be desired. Crystal flies back to Germany all content, and we leave the cinema halls with plenty of questions in mind.
Thus, 'Orkut Oru Ormakkootu' turns out to be a film that decides to go in reverse, just when the going gets strong. With a somewhat steady first half and a haphazard second, the film is a shapeless coming-of-age caper that misses the point by a mile.