Aparichithan Malayalam Movie

Feature Film | 2004
Jun 13, 2004 By Paresh C. Palicha, IANS

Directed by Sanjeev Sivan, younger brother of acclaimed cinematographer-director Santhosh Sivan, this is one more addition to the long list of supernatural thrillers churned out in Kerala.

The film tries to rise above the substandard quality dished out by the scare fare in recent times. But it does not quite succeed.

The much-awaited and much-delayed Mammooty-starrer "Aparichithan: The Stranger" hit the theatres last weekend.

It is the story of three carefree college friends - Minu (Kavya Madhavan), Simi (Karthika) and Devi (Manya) - who keep landing in trouble. After one such incident where Devi, the leader of the trio, is caught red-handed trying to steal question papers on the eve of exams, they have to go underground to avoid facing their peers and families.

They take the help of Chacko (Vineeth Kumar), Simi's fiancé, who arranges their stay with a woman psychiatrist, who is also an expert in "tantrik" mysticism, in an isolated house. Fresh trouble begins there. The landlady chases the girls out, saying a wandering soul is following them.

Then Chacko takes the help of his friend Vinod Varghese (Siraj), who promises to take them to a guesthouse in some forest range, but their bus meets with an accident and they are compelled to walk in the wild.

There they meet a mysterious wildlife photographer, Raghuram (Mammooty), who turns their lives upside down.

"Aparichithan" was hyped as a Mammooty film, with him in the title role, but the mega star makes an entry only a few minutes before the interval.

His fans should not be disappointed as his role has enough meat. In fact, it is his presence that salvages the second half from becoming a total disappointment.

Of the other actors, Kavya Madhavan is dependable. Her character, with a penchant for the occult, requires histrionic maturity. Manya, as the vivacious Devi, is good. Karthika, Vineeth Kumar and Siraj are just passable.

Technically, the film is sound. The celebrated return of cinematographer Santhosh Sivan to Malayalam cinema is not wasted. One sees flashes of his brilliance in some places.

Editing by Sreekar Prasad is competent, but he should have done away with the flash cuts, just to avoid predictability.

The most disappointing aspect of the movie is its screenplay credited to the director himself and A.K. Sajan. The plot and the build-up are good in the first half, but the writers somehow lose control over the proceedings in the second half and the film becomes the usual revenge-oriented horror film in the end.

One can dare to say that "Aparichithan: The Stranger" can be watched only if one doesn't expect something totally new.

Paresh C. Palicha, IANS