Asha Black Malayalam Movie Review
Mere ideas, inventive as they may sound, do not always make a good film. John Robinson's 'Asha Black' is one such film, in which a significantly sensible theme is lost in a scruffy script that is full of dead air.
Rohit (Arjun Lal) runs a band with a few of his young friends, and when he gets a friend's request from a profile named Asha Black on Facebook, he is enthused. When Asha (Ishita) finally appears on cam before him, Rohit realizes that he has fallen madly in love with her. The girl claims that she is seventeen and promises to meet him on her eighteenth birthday at Kuala Lampur, where she is based.
Off he sets off for Malaysia, where he is met with an exceedingly tragic news. Asha is apparently no more, and Rohit decides to find out more about her. The revelations that her mail account has in store are shocking, and Rohit unravels the real Asha that she was.
Even as the basic premise sounds a bit interesting, 'Asha Black' is anything but that on screen. It's a film that goes way overboard with the characterisation, and the scenes way too dramatic. At the end of it all, the characters jut out like boulders about to fall off a cliff, and the tale that they form an integral part of, sound plain plastic.
Without doubt, instances of online harassment and bullying have been making the news headlines, and the core idea of the film is relevant, without doubt. But it loses out on some basic sensibilities while attempting the makeover and suffers from some severe glitches that make it a total mess.
There is this taxi driver in Malaysia, played by Manoj K Jayan, who offers Rohit a helping hand. His sordid tale doesn't however offer enough reason for the man that he evolves into. There is the detective Anwar Ali (Sarath Kumar) in charge of the investigation into a series of murders that have been rocking the Malaysian capital, who has been very poorly conceived on paper as well.
When it finally turns out that it's all because of the lack of love that people turn to unexpected corners for some affection, you gulp down the cliche that has left a bitter taste in your mouth. That's a story that has already been told several times before; it's just that here the tale has been replanted online.
It's obvious that it's difficult to like a film, when there is no liking that you feel towards its characters. 'Asha Black' suffers from this ailment that never lets you get close to its characters. They move about and perform in their private spaces, never letting you in, and never letting you realize the stuff that they are truly made of.
The best thing about 'Asha Black' are the lead performances - Arjun Lal is remarkably good as the love stricken lad, while Ishita is perfectly cast as Asha. Manoj K Jayan hams it up to the hilt, while Sarath Kumar delivers his role in style.
'Asha Black' is a tedious morality fable that squanders the acting potential of its gifted performers. It's too thin a film to sustain itself, and at best a wasted idea that could have been infinitely better.