It seems that the habit of going to theaters with family (includes a group of mother, wife, father, cheriyamma etc etc) has come to a pause since my son’s birth. We may have to wait for another year to pursue the habit, and make my son a part of the family of movie buffs. So this time I’ve to go for it all alone, without telling my wife, as she always wanted to go together. It was first at Kairali @ Kozhikkode I went to watch Passenger without telling anyone. But unfortunately I missed the show due to a traffic pile. I reached the theater 5 minutes after the commencement of the show. Even though there were tickets I opted not to watch the movie, as always.
I tried my luck at SreeKrishna Theater @ Manjeri. This time we managed to convince my in-laws to look after the son for couple of hours. When I and my wife reached the theater, we were welcomed by the poster of ‘Zakhmi Nagin’!!! I don’t know what reason the theatres had to change the movie on a Thursday. The days after confronted me with the pirated DVDs of Passenger at commercial street and Koramangala. But, like any other pirated DVD, this also never fascinated me. I’ll still on with my choices against pirated movies.
Finally, when the movie has reached Bangalore, the chances looked gloomy as I had to travel to Kerala on Friday to bring my family back to Bangalore. And once they are in Bangalore, it is unlikely to watch the movie in next 2-3 weeks. By then the movie may be off from Bangalore theaters and I may end up watching it post DVD release – sure, I was not going to wait till then!
The movie is released in 3 theaters in Bangalore, I opted Sangeeth @ Sivaji nagar as it was near to Kalasipalayam (place from which the private buses to Kerala starts from) which facilitates me to watch the 6:15pm show and reach the bus stand on time. Sangeeth was one theater which I’d stopped going due to bad condition. But, thanks to UFO, the theater was better in projection and sound. Since UFO status, I’d watched many movies from there. Anyways I was pretty sure Passenger would be projected in Film. I packed my bag in the morning, went to office and left early. When I reached the theater at 6:00PM, there was a fairly good crowd. I fetched the ticket and dropped myself into seat which is in the 7th from the back row, so that I could get a good feel of sound. I waited with anxious mind, and I had my own reasons for the same.
I’ve been avoiding anything which media reported about the movie, except the director’s blog. This is something I follow for any movie which I plan not to miss. I’ve glanced through the ratings given to Passenger by multiple reviewers including Chithravishesham, rediff and Indulekha. And it had happened many times that despite rave reviews about some movies I felt them unexciting or average. I never wanted to happen that with this movie. I’d gone through the director’s blog well before the release of the movie and was thoroughly following the director’s journey. Like many other in blog world, I too had compared the director’s passion with that of mine. I remember one of the serials, Nizhalukal, penned by Ranjith Sankar had attracted me in my school days. Honestly, I never remembered the screenwriter’s name then, but when I saw the reference in director’s blog, somehow, I felt happy. None of his other screenplays had come across my attention. Still I felt for the director and could not stop praying for his success. It could sound selfish, but somewhere I started to believe that his success could stimulate my aspirations of becoming a film maker. So, In the darkness of Sangeeth, when the film started rolling and titles started showing up, I said to – “here am I, anxiously waiting for the passenger to start its journey, hoping for the movie to satisfy my expectations!”.
I liked the titles and the starting scenes. Very rarely you will see scenes shot in a public place with no spectators extending their curious faces into the frame. Minutes after the movie somehow I started feeling more nervous. It is not going the way I expected. I was looking forward to experience a sleek stylish racy thriller – from start to end. This one, even though not sluggish, was medium paced. Intend was evident – director was taking his own time to build the characters, their characteristics and premises. They came one-by-one constructing their space. Part of the spaces build was interesting; few had déjà-view feel, few novel; and few inspiring (for new film makers). With in minutes from title I got introduced to Sathyanathan (Sreenivasan), his friends folk (Harisree Asokan, Anoop Chandran and Kochu Preman), the young couple Adv. Nandan Menon (Dileep) and TV journalist wife Anuradha (Mamta Mohandas) and community fighting for their survival against Karimanal (Beach-Sand) mafia supported by Thomas Chako (Jagathy Sreekumar).
I felt that this base-building exercise took little more time than required. But when it reaches its threshold, cards are opened up one by one in adequate pace. I got glued to my seat till the end with rare occasions thinking whether these are the places the director overlooked his sharpness. Mainly happened in the below occasions.
• Anuradha’s interview with Thomas Chacko which Sathyan and Nandan are watching lacks the normal TV news format with no scrolling headline or feel and look. Latter, news from the same news channel (which comes in climax as live) is intact with proper news format
• Sathya tries calling Right TV to inform on Nandan’s ill-fate, but no-one seemed to there in office to pickup the phone. Very unlikely in an office which brodcasts 24/7
• What was the necessity for the company representative to show the animated illustration of the plot to minister? From the movie we understand that it is a recent master plan came from minister. No one needs to create such a detailed animated graphics, when the client (Chacko) is very confident about the plan. This makes the whole scene looks fabricated.
• We see a broadcasting quality video (DVD format) of duration 1:21 minutes being sent by an email in a flash using a data card internet connection. Technically, I’m not sure how feasible is this?
• The same video which is being transferred to Sathya’s mobile shows ‘copying Video_TS to My documents’. I expect Sathya’s mobile has a folder ‘My documents’
• When Anuradha call home, Sathya picks the call and doesn’t respond. This should have made Anuradha suspicious. But she stills wait in the library for Nandan to come. Pretty non-sense from a dynamic media person
• Anuradha, being a known face in media world, could not find anyone to approach during a crisis. What she does is keep dialing Nandan at his mobile and home. Some where I feel media person cannot be that much isolated from professional friends
The screenplay makes an impact. The narration is new and fresh for Malayalam movie-goers. The characters are from our surroundings, not tailor-made for stars. The incidents happen in their life are genuine and realistic. The performances are behavioral in nature – Sreenivasan, Dileep and new villain face impresses. Except few, dialogues were neither clever one-liners nor witty, as you might expect from a smart thriller. They were ordinary, even in serious scenes, where the viewers were expected to be impacted or shocked. On the contrary, the absence of heavy dialogues is a welcoming factor. Hope the director will do more home work on this for his next film.
Effort behind the camera has come out well. P Sreekumar does no mistake with his cinematographic skills, while Ranjan Abraham and Sabu Raam deliver their best in editing and art direction respectively.
At the end, when the darkness was eroded by light, I felt so relieved; I stood up and said silently – “Well done Ranjith. Your efforts seems rosy, but the challenge sustains till you deliver in your next attempt. Good luck for that!”
Labels: Drishyan, Passenger, Ranjith sankar, ദൃശ്യന്, പാസ്സഞ്ചര്, cinemaoutlook, സിനിമാക്കാഴ്ച