Srinath Rajendran's directorial debut 'Second Show' is a film that could make you smile in delight, nod in agreement and flinch in despair. It does have a head-spinning quality to it that leaves you dazed at times, but remains entertaining and witty to the hilt.
Lalu (Dulquar Salman) lives with his mother (Rohini) and best friend Kurudi (Sunny Sujith). He works with the sand mafia at night, and soon climbs up the stairway of crime to become a henchman of the local thug Vavachan (Baburaj). With Vavachan bumped off in no time by his adversary Vishnu Budhan (Sudesh Berry), Lalu gets drawn to the drug dealer and the smelly world of hashish that reeks of money and blood.
The best thing about Second Show is that it's a film without any airs about it. It doesn't come across as a decked up launch vehicle of a star son, and instead displays an inherent sincerity in attempting to paint something new on an old canvas.
Srinath Rajendran and his writer Vini Viswalal craft their film around the proverbial tale of the man who lived by the sword and died of it. The Tarentinoesque film set somewhere on the urban landscape of Kerala has an almost nonlinear story line and does indulge once in a while in the aesthetization of brutality.
Pappu's shaky camera does its work perfectly well, and lends a realistic feel to the proceedings. There aren't any gimmicks as such, and instead it fills up the frame with close-ups and at times deranged shots as the characters grope about in the darkness that has filled within and that surrounds them all outside.
The hiccups in the narrative do appear at times in the form of musical interludes. A couple of them at least in the second half do dampen things a bit, and leave the pace uneven. Not all the dialogues in the film are likely to be received with applause by the women folk. Like for instance, the one in which Lalu insists that women have always had only one lover in their lives - money! Ahem!
Perhaps it's a bit unfair, that none seem to be much surprised at the incredibly mellowed performance that Dulquar Salman comes up with in his debut film. Even as they shrug indifferently that those are his remarkable genes at work, Dulquar throws a few surprises on your face. For a change, a remarkable actor has arrived. The star can wait.
No review of Second Show could perhaps be complete without a mention of Sunny Sujith, the actor who plays Kurudi in the film. At the writing level, Kurudi is less of an aide to Lalu and more of a brother, and Sunny's performance elevates the character to another plane altogether that makes Kurudi one of the most adorable vagrants we have ever met on screen.
Srinath Rajendran's 'Second Show' thankfully doesn't focus on an actor, but more on a story and the characters that infuse life into it. The action and the accompanying spectacles are offshoots of this solid design which makes this violent odyssey a gripping watch.