Sunday, January 22, 2017


Release date:
January 19, 2017
Sathyan Anthikad

Dulquer Salmaan, Mukesh, Anupama Parameswaran, Aishwarya Rajesh, Innocent, Irshad, Muthumani, Indu Thampi, Vinu Mohan, Jacob Gregory, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Manobala
Malayalam with Tamil

Unlike Helen of Troy, Dulquer Salmaan has not built a reputation for setting ships sailing. Instead he employs his smile-that-could-launch-a-thousand-ships to pull off films that need magnetic leads to make up for their lack of heft. Jomonte Suvisheshangal is not terrible. It is just commonplace. After an amusing first half, it descends into predictability yet is at no point unbearable for three reasons: the young hero’s gorgeousness, the combined charisma of Salmaan and his fellow leading man Mukesh, and the warm chemistry these two men share.

If you are not looking for great depth or originality, then this could perhaps be enough for you.

Director Sathyan Anthikad’s Jomonte Suvisheshangal is the story of millionaire business tycoon Vincent and his irresponsible son Jomon who is too busy spending his father’s money to make a career for himself. Since he is a sweet, harmless chap, his family is indulgent towards him. As is expected, a dramatic turn of events soon compels Jomon to grow up.

The pre-interval portion of Jomonte Suvisheshangal is spent establishing Vincent’s wealth and money-mindedness, and luring us with Jomon’s charms. The youngster’s shenanigans are not distasteful, he is what is called a ladies’ man but his behaviour towards women is not offensive, and the only irritants are some incongruous dancing and the song Nokki nokki ninnu needlessly inserted into the proceedings, possibly because one song per romantic interest is mandatory according to established formulae. This part of the film is light-hearted, breezy and funny.

The second half is a coming-of-age saga. Here the action shifts from Thrissur in Kerala to Tiruppur in Tamil Nadu. This is where Iqbal Kuttippuram’s screenplay falters. Jomon’s initial work struggles hold out promise, but after a while, matters start sorting themselves out too conveniently. With nothing unique to say beyond a point, no detailing whatsoever in any aspect of the storytelling and no particular insights to offer about the new culture within which the story now operates, the narrative becomes tired.

From here on, Jomonte Suvisheshangal skates along on writing that is thinner than thin ice but is prevented from cracking by the appeal of its two male leads.

The eye-catching locations are well shot, but short shrift is given to all the supporting characters in the story. Because of the space they get, Salmaan and Mukesh display their acting chops despite the limited writing, but the actresses in the roles of Jomon’s girlfriends Catherine (Anupama Parameswaran) and Vydehi (Aishwarya Rajesh) are stuck with playing colourless sketches rather than fully fleshed out people. The problem is not with the screen time accorded to them but the indifferent characterisation. Both Parameswaran who debuted in 2015’s Malayalam blockbuster Premam and the talented Tamil artiste Rajesh deserve better than to be treated as mere pretty asides.

A potentially interesting sub-plot involving a French businesswoman is left inexplicably unexplored. She is shown physically assaulting her Indian contacts, it is even implied that she hit Jomon’s boss and seriously injured him. The fact that this point is left hanging speaks volumes about our collective national post-colonial obsequiousness towards white-skinned Westerners.

Jomonte Suvisheshangal’s lack of substance is particularly disappointing because of Anthikad’s track record. The multiple award-winning director appears not to be resting on his laurels here, but on the safety net that is his lead cast. Mukesh is a fantastic actor. Salmaan – handsome and gifted – is emerging from a year in which he delivered cracking performances in two cracking films, Kammatipaadam and Kali. He could sleepwalk through a role like Jomon and might still make it work. Both deserve scripts that challenge them better than this one does.

After an entertaining start, Jomonte Suvisheshangal dissipates into ordinariness. It is left to Dulquer Salmaan and Mukesh to rescue this overly thin film.

(Note of caution for viewers who understand only Malayalam: the Tamil dialogues in Jomonte Suvisheshangal were not accompanied by subtitles in the hall where I watched it.)

Rating (out of five): *1/2

CBFC Rating (India):
Running time:
158 minutes

This review has also been published on Firstpost:

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