Movie - Gulumaal - The Escape(Malayalam)
Director - VK Prakash
Producers - VK Prakash, Sajitha Prakash
Cast - Jayasurya, Kunchacko Boban, Devan, Mithra, Suraaj Venjarammood, Bijukkuttan,
Nedumudi Venu, Salimkumar, Maniyan Pillai Raju and others.
Music - Manu Ramesan
Cinematography - Fowzia Fathima
Editing - Mahesh Narayanan
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues - YV Rajesh
Release Date - 4th December 2009
Many people didnt have any expectations out of this small-budget movie shot on HDV video by adman VK Prakash having Jayasurya and Kunchacko Boban in the lead. But despite that, the film took a great opening today and was housefull for all the 4 shows with much fanfare. The film takes us back to the Priyadarshan/Siddique-Lal kind of cinema of yesteryears where unemployed youths do some 'tharikida' to get their hands on some money to solve their problems. And thankfully, the movie doesnt disappoint. It is surprisingly good and finally, it looks like VK Prakash will be having a solid hit on his hands.
Gulumaal tells the story of two crooks - Jerry (Jayasurya) and Ravi Varma (Kunchacko Boban). Both of them are desperately in need of money, and they would do any tharikida to lay their hands on some money. Ravi is the softer crook among the two where as Jerry strongly believes that sentiments and emotions should be kept away in this profession. A police officer Shambhu, who is as stupid as the comic character Shikari Shambu, is on the look-out for these two as well. After a lot of conning, these two get a great deal on their hands when they get to sell a duplicate Raja Ravi Varma painting to a multi-millionaire(Devan). The confusion that follows forms the story of Gulumaal.
VKP (as he is called in the ad-circuit) handles the movie effectively. He has taken a huge risk by shooting the movie on video(HDV). Even though celluloid is clearly missed and the film looks like a tele-film in many places, you dont really bother as there is enough activity going on in the movie to keep you engaged. But there are many advantages in shooting the film on video as well. You can make small movies in low budgets, save a lot of time and have options of multiple camera angles for the same shots. In fact, HD and HDV are supposedly the future in filmmaking (provided they do something to give us that feel of watching an actual film). The movie seems to be quite heavily inspired by a recent Hindi movie (I'm not giving away the name as that would reveal the ending). But I heard both these movies are inspired from the same foreign film called Nine Queens. In spite of that, VKP succeeds in giving his audience their share of fun throughout the movie. Even though the dialogues for characters like Suraaj are really silly (his jokes are very amateurish, but it goes in sync, bcoz his character is modeled on Shikari Shambhu), the director manages to handle them effectively and make people laugh for those really silly jokes. He has been able to extract neat performances from most of his cast members as well. VKP must be appreciated for taking risks with each movie of his. This time he has a decent script by YV Rajesh to support his experiments as well.
Jayasurya shines as Jerry, the lead con-artist in the movie. His character has some grey shades and the young actor has portrayed it really well. He has been proving time and again that he is fit to do any kind of role unlike many of the other young actors now. Jayasurya's trademark humour is intact and he scores quite a few times with it in the movie, even when the script lets him down. This movie can be called Kunchacko Boban's actual comeback. He really didnt have much to do in the dud called Lollipop. But in this movie, he is really impressive as the soft-spoken junior con-artist Ravi Varma. He has improved considerably with his comic timing also. Suraaj Venjarammood is completely silly and over-the-top(purposely). But thankfully, he doesnt resort to his usual style of double meaning jokes this time around. His introduction was supposedly a take onBaba Kalyani, but people didnt get it I guess. It is such a relief seeing some clean comedy from him. Bijukkuttan was not impressive at all. He has hardly risen to the standard he set to himself through Chotta Mumbai after that movie. Salimkumar is hardly there. Devan is quite good, especially in the last scene of the movie. ;) The heroine Mithra is wooden and no expressions come on her face at all. Nedumudi Venu, Manian Pillai Raju, etc have minimal roles. Director Siddique's cameo was unintentionally hilarious. :P
Music is good, except for the track 'Vennila' which was totally unnecessary. There is actually a 'Cabaret' song in Malayalam after a long long time. (I thought they became extinct after the Jayan-Nazir period :P). The animated portions used in the songs were terrible. It would have been better if they didnt have it at all. Background score also consistently gives the tharikida mood. This is perhaps the first movie to release in Malayalam, shot by a lady cinematographer - Fowzia Fathima. There is nothing spectacular about the camerawork in this movie unlike other VKP movies where the camerawork would be brilliant, even if the movie is terrible. There were some nice shots and good angles, but they were few and far in between. But since the movie does not require exceptional camerawork, it is quite okay. The brightness was very low, but I learned that it was problem with the projection. The video look takes time to get used to. Editing by Mahesh was competent.
All in all, Gulumaal is a reasonably good film which stays true to its title. The climax would come as a shocker to you, if you havent seen the films which inspired this one. (Which is why I havent written about my opinions on the climax here. Why spoil the fun!!). Jayasurya and Kunchacko Boban are really impressive and from the audience response, it looks like the film will have a successful run(but the superstar releases that are coming back to back in the coming weeks may pose some threat to the movie). A lot of promotional activity is going on on the television and radio channles which would help in marketing the film as well. You wont regret seeing this film. Thats a sure thing!!
Rating - 3.5/5