Siby Malayil sure has seen better times. Violin, the latest film from the director that hit the screens this week, has an airless and stagy feel that makes it quickly topple downhill. It looks glossy all right, but the melodrama that unfolds is depthless and adheres to the Fort Cochin Movie Rulebook with all sincerity.
The lives of Angel (Nithya Menon) and her two aunts Annie (Lakshmi Ramakrishnan) and Mercy (Reena Basheer) are transformed, when Abey (Asif Ali) walks in, as their tenant. After a bout of initial resistance from Angel, romance strikes, and the two fall in love.
The obviousness that mars the script plays spoil sport time and again. There is absolutely nothing in this film that you wouldn't be able to foretell. It's almost as if the entire sequence falls into place as you have in your mind already. Where are the surprises?
Films set in Fort Cochin run the huge risk of falling into a cliche cavern and disappearing without a trace. Violin doesn't escape this danger at all. Everything from the costumes, the ambience, the conversations and the smell of a rusty lineage are maintained without fail.
And then towards the end, the story finally moves a little bit away from your plans, and you think that finally things are going to look up. Sad, because in no time you realize that predictability was better. The last fifteen minutes stretch on and on without no sense whatsoever, which makes the climax of the film a big let-down.
I have always wondered why the Violin is seen as an icon of despair in Malayalam films. Haven't we come across any number of scenes where a character plays a melancholic tune on the violin, for one last time before he blows himself off or somebody else? What has the Violin actually done to deserve this miserable fate?
The three women have been living alone for quite a while, and looks like the rest of the world is plotting against them. So they spend their lives baking cakes, going to church, and hoping for better days ahead. And to add further anguish to the despondent scene, there is the Violin as well, that Angel keeps playing every now and then, as if to ensure that they are neck-deep in trouble.
Even as things stand, I wouldn't mind watching bits and pieces of Violin once more, and the reason is Asif Ali. The charm that he fills up into the character of Abey is absolutely endearing, and this is easily one of Asif's best performances. Nithya Menon is equally good, though she has two totally strong contenders in Lakshmi Ramakrishnan and Reena Basheer. A special pat on the back for the talented Abhishek Raveendran as well, for bringing in some mirth into the proceedings.
That song that goes 'Ente Mohangalellaam..' set to tune by Anand Raj Anand is out of this world.
Violin is old fashioned to the core. It sticks to conventions and keeps you hoping that some discovery is about to be made. Unfortunately, nothing of the sort happens, and you walk out of the theatre lamenting the film's downfall.