The Malayalam movie Anuragam is now showing across cinemas in the UAE. It is directed by Shahad Nilambur and stars Aswin Jose, Gouri Kishan, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Lena, Johny Antony, Devayani, Sheela
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Malayalam movie Anuragam review
In director Shahad Nilambur’s first film Prakashan Parakkatte, he dealt with a delinquent son and a stentorian dad and the rites of passage of growing up. In his sophomore effort, Anuragam, Shahad is on what seems to be his favourite theme: the troubled parent-ward equation and the eventual compromise that the two parties arrive at. It is a story that has resonance in almost every family hence it works well as a relatable cinematic idea too. In Anuragam, the additional riffs of romance and spousal relationships add an extra layer.
Dismissing a film like Anuragam as a lightweight romantic tale can be easy. But hidden in its folds are the big ideas of elderly relationship issues and concomitant sentiments. It is a tricky area to manoeuvre. But the fact Shahad attempted it in the first place itself is something of a minor victory. With more care and caution, he could have pulled it off.
The story is about Ashwin (Aswin Jose, who has also written the story) and Janani (Gouri Kishan), classmates and thick buddies. As it happens, especially in our films, Ashwin is head over heels in love with Janani, who unfortunately cannot think of him beyond a friend. Her emotions when it comes to love are frigid. But why? Well, she has parental issues. Or to be precise, her parents (Gautham Vasudev Menon and Lena) have issues between them. With her dad and mom not on the same page, Janani is not ready to commit to any meaningful relationship.
Ashwin’s mother (Devayani), a single parent, understands love holistically. She understands that for Ashwin to make headway in his love, he has to help sort out the differences between Janan’s parents. It is in these portions that the film comes into its own, as there is plenty of meat in the screenplay to chew on.
Even if predictable, there is a certain warmth to the proceedings that keep us engaged. There is also the track of Sheela (the veteran on a comeback) and her son Johny Antony that offer some diversion. The characters of Sudhish, Jaffar Idukki, and Manikandan Pattambi also add some mirth.
Aswin as the leading man, is adequate without being too convincing. The earlier portions of him being a stalking lover do not belong to this movie, whereas the other portions are decidedly low-key and more agreeable. Gouri Kishan as a young, conflicted lover and a daughter with inner demons, is solid and impressive. In his fourth film in Malayalam as an actor, Gautham Vasudev Menon brings to his role as a dad and a troubled husband a rare understanding and nuance.
The music by Jole Jones is soothing, but it would have helped if the song’s placement in the movie had been more diligent. Suresh Gopi’s (no, not him) camera work fits the bill. Shahad, as the director, knows how to weave the script in interesting directions. But he needs more skill in fleshing out the characters.
An engineer-turned-journalist, K Balakumar’s career began in print publications as a sports writer. That also opened doors for other journalistic avenues like films, music, finance, technology and politics, which nobody can escape in India. After 30 yrs in mainstream journalism, now a freelancer for various digital publications.