I have always wondered how it would feel like to be cold and dead. Somehow the entire scenario, complete with the cotton pushed up the nostrils and the strip of cloth strung around your face, shutting the jaw tight, never looked like something to be pleased about. Nevertheless I should admit, I have never been scared of dying. Until I saw T V Chandran's 'Shankaranum Mohananum'.
I just realized how frightening this whole process of dying could turn out to be, especially if you have a beautiful wife stacked away at home, whom you have just married. Come to think of it, you have gone bald and while fast heading towards your forties bump into a girl whose dad has had a paralytic stroke. You feel that the heaven has just opened up for a brief while and that you have had a glimpse of God, and that you are the luckiest man on earth. You can already hear the wedding shenanigans at a distance. The marriage is a dream affair of course, and when you walk out all elated the morning after the wedding, a serpent bites you, and you are dead!
Thus it all ends for Shankaran (Jayasurya) even before the beginning. There are a few things that we need to be clear about here. First, do not ever leave things half done. It's another matter altogether, that the snake is clueless about our plans, but just remember to give it your best always. And I tell you this, so that you wouldn't have to spend the rest of your dead life taking part in a fancy dress competition.
See Shankaran for instance. The long-departed man is still madly in love with his bride, and hence starts pestering his younger brother Mohanan (Jayasurya), who is alive and kicking for a change. Mohanan isn't amused at all, and it takes a while for him to sneak out from under the blankets, and to understand what Shankaran's intentions are - to let his wife Rajalekshmi (Meera Nandan) know that he is still around.
It's almost like a double tragedy has struck the poor man. He is dead and well, almost gone. And presto, he has developed this new fetish for being anyone on the streets. Three fourths of his lifeless existence that must have been contentedly spent somewhere dark and cold pushing up daisies is spent instead running after KSRTC buses and roasting in the hot sun. And it's not just the dead that gives us the creeps. Mohanan has had it up to his nose with his wife Jyothsna (Reema Kallingal) who has been away for quite a while. A fashion designer by profession, Mohanan says that he had never wanted to intrude into her freedom.
Someone was telling me the other day, that all this has been inspired from real life. Phew! We have dreams of course; all of us, of dead and living people, but when the dead ones start haunting us day and night, rest assured, that there is a huge problem somewhere. It's a tough job finding out where exactly the trouble lies, but I feel the dead should really be excused in this case. A shrink could probably be a solution.
So you have two brothers - one mortified and the other living - and you have little else on your script than the dead one imploring the other to believe in his presence. This isn't exactly material for a two hour film, and chances are quite high that not many living beings would find the torment easy. The dialogues are corny, and the plot development dismal.
Of the two brothers, Jayasurya does greater justice to Mohanan, the younger one, while the older one Shankaran looks a bit too fidgety. There aren't really any fresh challenges for him as an actor here, and eventually even the make-overs start getting exasperating. Meera Nandan is strictly okay as the young widow, while Reema is back on her home turf - playing the exotic, hard-to-reach urban girl to perfection.
So that's what we have in 'Shankaranum Mohananum'. The crossover of the director to commercial cinema, if at all it has been attempted, is a total disaster. As much as it remains a fantasy, there is absolutely nothing in the film that would confront your intellect, and there is plenty that would question your intelligence.