Lal Bahadur Sasthri Review
Director Rejish Midhila has every reason to sport a grin, for his debut film 'Lal, Bahdur and Shastri', is an unalloyed, unsoiled piece of film making that should appeal to one and all. The story of the film as such is no great shakes, but Rejish makes do with whatever he has at his disposal and moulds it into a likeable entertainer that should leave you content.
On a bus journey to Cochin where goes seeking a job, Lal (Jayasurya) meets Bahadur (Nedumudi Venu) and Arjun (Amith Chakkalakkal). While the septegenarian intends to meet a friend who has been hospitalized in Cochin, Arjun has a busy schedule ahead as a dupe for a lead actor at an ongoing shoot. The three go their separate ways, but not before a young lottery seller (Minon) hands Lal and Bahadur a ticket each.
On another corner of the town, Shastri (Aju Varghese) has had it up to his neck at a government office, trying to get a file across. Taara (Sandra Simon) is on her way back to the hospital where she works, after a brief vacation back home. And a teacher (Kavitha Nair) herds a bunch of primary kids across to a painting competition that is on.
It's these characters that make up the tale that 'Lal Bahadur and Shastri' tells, and it's as simple a tale that it possibly could be. In fact, it's a bit too undemanding to the point of uninspiring, the few jokes and gags notwithstanding.
Logic takes a back seat in the film, especially in the second half where everything seems to happen for a single reason. Lost in a big city like Cochin, the characters of the tale keep running into each other time and again, making us wonder if probability has been stretched way beyond reach.
And of course there is the question of believability as well. It becomes entirely impossible to heave a sigh and take in what happens on the screen, by any stretch of imagination. If only life were as simple and uncomplicated as in 'Lal Bahadur and Shastri', but that as we all know would simply remain a daydream.
Yet, if this film leaves a mark on your mind, it's purely on account of the smile that it leaves on your face after the show. And this smile springs up from the oodles of goodwill and optimism that the character of the lottery boy exudes, and with a fantastic performance from Minon, it also becomes the reason why I would rate this film above 2.
'Lal, Bahadur and Shastri' keeps you fairly engaged, with plenty of laughter splattered all along the way. With a running time of less than two hours, there is not much that you would miss out on, especially with the rapid unfolding of the sequences on screen.
Jayasurya is excellent as Lal, and together with the unsurpassable Nedumudi Venu, comes up with a wonderful feat even as the script invites them over to drop into its loopholes. Aju Varghese is adequate as Shastri and Amith leaves an impression. Sandra Simon is a huge surprise, and with none of the diffidence of a fresher, delivers a debut performance that very easily wins hearts.
Here is a small film that could have you all pepped up, provided you chuck out all those ifs and buts straight out of your mind. Lie back on your seat, give Lal, Bahadur and Shastri a wink, and see how it all ends up just fine. And murmur to yourself, Life is Good!
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