As the final scene arrives, Khalid Rahman's 'Anuraga Karikkin Vellam' affirms that the stereotypes that it had chucked out of that door, will stay there for good. With no compromises and conciliations in sight, this remarkable directorial debut chooses to remain the heartfelt film that it really wants to be!
Abhi (Asif Ali) is an architect who isn't pretty much sure of what he wants to do with his life. He does know however that it is time to move on, and lets his girlfriend Elizabeth (Rajisha Vijayan) into the terrible news that he wants to break up. Elizabeth goes into an emotional fit and raves and rants, while Abhi remains unperturbed.
Back home, Abhi's dad Raghu (Biju Menon) runs into an old acquaintance Anuradha (Nandini) that sparks off a long lost romance in him yet again. As his coarse ways give way to refinement and warmth, his wife Suma (Asha Sarath) is surprised, but soon discovers much to her amusement that her husband has rediscovered an old muse!
The characterization in 'Anuraga Karikkin Vellam' is exemplary; thanks to a gently sharp-eyed script that doesn't let loose ends hanging around. there are innumerable witty little commentaries on contemporary life, that we are all so familiar with, and I could vouchsafe for the fact that there will be a couple of scenes in this film, that you have been a part of.
There are any number of scenes that I hold close to my heart in this uplifting film, and one such is the one which involves Suma who rushes out to the gate to see her husband and son off. As their bike turns around the corner, a neighbor's voice mutters that it's unacceptable that they never turned back to wave at her. It's enough; Suma retorts with a smile that she is there, with her gaze at the two men who matter most in her life.
What makes 'Anuraga Karikkin Vellam' unquestionably different is the suggestion that it makes with regard to the impact that a refurbished romance could have on your life. Raghu does not evolve into a disloyal husband as you almost expect him to be, and instead, walking through the tender showers of a revived love, emerges as an altered man who gets busy setting right all that had gone wrong with his life.
The three youngsters in the film - Abhi, Elizabeth and Sony - are as different from one another as chalk, cheese and charcoal, and avers that through love one discovers oneself. It takes a while for Abhi to comprehend what it is that he truly wants, while Elizabeth frantically tries to move mountains to ensure that the love of her life isn't lost. And there is the underdog of the lot, Sony who keeps hoping for the best, while all the while readying him for the worst, almost certain that his sort ends up losing the girl at the end.
There is a whole lot of subtlety that this film can boast of, and while at a glance it may seem like deviously simple love tale, it pretty soon becomes obvious that the cinematic archetypes are all kept at bay. The rewards that lie along the way are many, and it moves along eliciting plenty of grins and touching your heart in myriad ways.
It's surprising that this is a film sans any major drama or heavy conflicts and yet it is much more empathetic than any other movie that I have seen in recent times. And it works to its favor that it's small in scale and unassuming in its attitude, with its individual earnest moments making up for the shortages if any in dramatics.
The casting is again brilliant, and Biju Menon is like old wine, getting better with age and each film. Asha Sarath is flawlessly cast as well, and the two actors have a brilliant onscreen chemistry that makes the duo's performance exceptionally good. Asif Ali plays the puzzled youngster to perfection, while new find Rajisha Vijayan grabs the cake and the entire bakery and walks off with a smile on her lips, with a yahoo performance that simply stuns. Soubin Shahir, Sreenath Bhasi are downright efficient and the young actor who played Sony to precision deserves a huge pat on his back as well. Jimshi Khalid's cinematography is top notch and so is the lilting musical score by Prashanth Pillai.
'Anuraga Karikkin Vellam' is an engaging diversion from the sappy romantic tales that are often stuffed down our throats. It's an artfully crafted film that deserves all the applause that it can get, and is an intricately nuanced lesson on love, loss and life!