All the while I was watching 'Doubles', there was just one single thought that was troubling me. How could one possibly manage to have a casting coup of sorts and still ruin things beyond repair? How could one manage to have two of the best actors in the industry and yet terribly squander away their potentials? The answers are all there in 'Doubles'.
Sohan Seenulal's film talks of twin siblings Giri (Mammootty) and Gouri (Nadiya Moithu) who run an Accident Rescue Service at Pondicherry. The reason why the duo has developed a passion towards the job is because their parents were killed in an accident. They are absolutely inseparable, and for the same reason have remained unmarried as well.
What is appalling is that the film has a basic thread that is quite similar to the not so distant 'Lollypop' that we got to see with Prithviraj and Roma in the lead roles. The film that was scripted by Benny P Nayarambalam also talked about a brother and sister who went their separate ways after Bhavana walks into their lives. In 'Doubles', script writers Sachi and Sethu have done pretty much the same thing, and with Saira Banu (Tapasi) arriving into the picture, things go topsy turvy.
There is nothing even remotely fanciful about Saira Banu's character, that you wish she would have half the sprightliness of her name. She remains behind a purdah for a long time, and the script meanders around the 'face behind' for what feels like eons. The antics that the men around her come up with to take a dekko at her face are more intolerable than enjoyable.
We could let go of the flimsy plot structure, if the development was worth a word. But its here that the film lets us down even further. Pondicherry demands that a few Anglo Indian characters be brought in, and hence we have an array of them in the form of the twin's foster family. They live up to the filmi expectations of being Anglo Indian, and speak and dress in conventional terms.
There would be no prizes for guessing who the villain of the piece is, and very rarely would a villain walk in with a deceiving smile on his face, and yet proclaiming that he is the man behind it all. And with the villain having been identified, you could sketch down the rest of the design in ten seconds sharp.
There are a few other things that deserve a special mention as well in this messy hotchpotch. Something seems to have gone terribly wrong with the lighting of the film, and it looks a dull dark in several scenes. Technically too, 'Doubles' leaves a lot to be desired, and the few gimmicks that have been attempted in the action sequences are better left uncommented.
Mammootty and Nadia look the perfect siblings, but sadly that's the only bit they can do in this film. They are repeatedly caught in one synthetic situation after the other, and very soon look bored beyond their wits. Tapasi looks like a picture, but mouths undecipherable dialogues. There is Anirudh, Bijukuttan and Anoop Chandran as well, frantically trying to bring in some mirth, but to no avail.
A special mention however needs to be made of a few actors who play baddies, who look like lambs in distress. The dubbing make them sound like preachers, and the end results are pretty catastrophic. And the much publicized musical score by James Vasanth turns out to be a dud as well.
'Doubles' offers a desultory tour through streets that you have been through several times before. It's a dreary drama that has been dipped in the mundane. So, the disappointments are double, the predictability double and the corniness even more than double.
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