Sugeeth's 'Ordinary' starts off with Iravikuttan Pillai (Kunchacko Boban) joining duty as a bus conductor on a KSRTC bus that shuttles between Pathanamthitta and the hill station of Gavi. He is quick to establish a rapport with the driver, Suku (Biju Menon) as well as the regular commuters aboard the bus. In no time, Iravi finds more than enough reason to make Gavi his home, when he meets Kalyani (Sritha Sreenivas).
The brilliant on-screen chemistry between the two lead actors in the film - Biju Menon and Kunchacko Boban - works in its favor big time. Of course there are some other very adorable characters as well, like the drunkard Vavachan (Baburaj) or the local school master Jose (Jishnu), and together they do come up with some mirth and easily consumable entertainment during the first hour.
'Ordinary' also has one of the most beautifully executed Interval shots in recent times. There is a rare combination at work here, and there is a whole lot of tension being built up even as the camera moves down over a window pane that's all moist with the heavy mist outside. You get to see Anna drawing her fingers down the panes, with a gentle smile lighting up her lips.
It's been some time since we have had a movie that was set somewhere up in the hills, and its Gavi where Sugeeth and his team leads us to. It's a small village where the fog never even thinks of taking leave; the kind of place where you know love tales are bound to bloom.
So what is it then that punctures this vehicle's tyres? With about fifty percent of the movie almost in tact, all that the writers needed to do was to carry the characters on forward with equal momentum. And its here that they have failed. The film tries way too hard to get real serious in the latter half, and the more it tries, the more it stands in sharp contrast with the very enjoyable first half.
Biju Menon has been busy throwing one surprise on our face after the other, and in 'Ordinary' he towers over the rest of the cast with a superb performance that's sprightly. He brings in a very special genuineness to the character that he plays by dubbing a Palakkadan accent to perfection. Baburaj seems to be getting better with each film, and in 'Ordinary', he is a riot. Kunchacko Boban, Ann Augustine, Jishnu and newcomer Sritha Sivadas leave a mark.
Perhaps its might seem strange that a bus gets mentioned along with the actors, but how could one possibly forget the fascinating KSRTC bus without which it would all have seemed quite parched? She's a beauty really, and painted in red and yellow and with the 'Ordinary' board hung across her waist, I should admit that I never thought of how beautiful these vehicles could be. Not until I cast my eyes on her.
Leading the disappointment front is none other than Asif Ali, who for the last few films has taken to shouting at the top of his voice irrespective of the role that he gets to essay in them. In 'Ordinary' he goes way overboard, and combines the shriek with some real hysterical acting.
Faisal Ali's camera ensures that it all looks stunning on screen, and Vidyasagar's lilting melodies in particular have been remarkably picturised. Sugeeth is a man to watch out for, and as much as his directorial debut remains a mixed bag, the man has proven that he has arrived in a big way.
'Ordinary' stops short of rising above its title into something totally extraordinary, despite having a few good moments as it starts off. With an enterprising first half that fizzles out into a mediocre second half, this film could have turned out into something way above the ordinary with a tauter script.
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