Producer- P.A. Sebastian
Director- V K Prakash
Cast- Jayasurya, Anoop Menon, Dhwani, Saiju Kurup, Sukumari, Tesni Khan etc.
Music- M Jayachandran
Background score- Bijibal
Review By : Unni R Nair/ Kerala9.com
It would be unfair to compare V K Prakash’ latest offering ‘Trivandrum Lodge’ with his earlier ‘Beautiful’; both are entirely different films. ‘Trivandrum Lodge’ may not appeal to as many people as did ‘Beautiful’ and the family audience may mostly keep away, but there is no denying the fact that the film is good.
There may be critics who’d want to dismiss the film as just another deliberate attempt at the so-called ‘new generation cinema’ and would thereby tend to overlook the film’s plusses. Well, I won’t bother about the format as long as the film is good. Why should I?
An old lodge named Trivandrum Lodge, situated in Kochi and its inmates form the backdrop of ‘Trivandrum Lodge’. There is Abdu (Jayasurya), who does any job, from working at a massage parlour to being a driver. He is also obsessed about sex, being sex-starved. Shibu Vellayani (Saiju Kurup) works with a film magazine and Kora (P.Balachandran) is an elderly guy who boasts about having had 999 women in his life and who wishes to have a policewoman as his 1000th. There is Satheeshan (Arun), who wants to be an actor. Shibu promises to help him and has even given Satheeshan a new name, Sagar. Relton (Janardhanan), an aged inmate, teaches piano and lives in the world of music. Peggy Aunty (Sukumari), who lives there itself, runs a canteen where you get nothing but toasted bread, eggs and tea.
The owner of the lodge is Ravi Shankar (Anoop Menon), a widower who has a son Arjun (Master Dhananjay). Ravi Shankar is a real estate guy and his father Narayanan (P.Jayachandran) runs a small hotel, away from his son’s world.
It’s into this world of Ravi, Narayanan and all the inmates of Trivandrum Lodge that Dhwani (Honey Rose, now rechristened Dhwani) makes her entry. She is divorced, wants to wander around, eat good food and, as she herself says, “fornicate with abandon”. She comes to stay at Trivandrum Lodge, aiming to write a novel with Kochi as the backdrop. The story develops based on all this.
All this being the foundation on which rests the whole edifice of the film, what would you expect? If your expectations are realistic, you won’t be disappointed. You can’t expect a ‘clean’ (you know what I mean by that term) film which you’d want to go watch along with your family on a quiet evening. You can’t expect a straight, linear, conventional narrative and predictable twists and turns. You can’t expect characters who talk of virtuousness, honesty, morality, righteousness and such values all the while in a subject like this. (Well, how often do you come across people talking such things in real life?). So, this film is a mix, a mix of various things and looks at things from different perspectives. You look at it once from Abdu’s perspective, then at another time from Dhwani’s. You also would want to understand the perspective of Dhwani’s friend Zarina (Devi Ajith), who despite being rich and educated, is happily married to a less-educated, less ‘refined’ guy. And won’t you want to look at it all from the eyes of Kanyaka (Tesni Khan), who lives by selling her body and who’d never stop for introspective thoughts or moralizing. Ravi Shankar’s perspective is different while his father Narayanan too has his own way of looking at things. You’d be amazed to see Narayanan calling his wife a slut while Ravi Shankar would disagree, but both of them acknowledge that the woman, who is no more, has had many men in her life. There is also the perspective of Arjun and Amala, the two kids- a perspective that perhaps all of us lose out on at some stage of life and which we should adopt, to remain happy.
So, in total, the film is a blend of perspectives and an assortment of characters whom you come across in real life. You can see them all, if you take a careful look all around you. And, I think this is a film for a society that, like Jayasurya’s Abdu, is sex-starved and sex-obsessed and has so many wrong notions about sex. (Hey, am I greeted with frowns and winks and gasps as I mention that three lettered word?!). That’s what the film is, so different and good too.
I’d also want to mention, among the film’s highlights, the way the innocent romance between the two kids is worked out and the way it all ends, on a very positive note. (I wouldn’t want to dwell on it any further, as I never like to give away things. Go, watch and find for yourself what it is all about!). But watch you must.
Am not taking names this time. Everyone in the film is good; every single actor in it has done his or her part convincingly. I would like to mention that this would be a real good comeback for Honey Rose, who re-invents herself with a new name Dhwani; and this film could also be a turning point in the career of Saiju Kurup. Good to see singer P.Jayachandran appearing on screen after so long a gap.
Pradeep Nair’s cinematography captures the essence of life in Kochi in as live a manner as possible while art-director Bawa and editor Mahesh Narayanan do their work really well. Bawa deserves to be appreciated, because his skills make the lodge reek of a past that we seek to keep alive in our minds all the while.
M.Jayachandran’s songs are good while Bijibal also does good work with the background score.
Kudos Anoop! From ‘Beautiful’ to ‘Trivandrum Lodge’ it has been a real good transition. It’s good that Anoop didn’t care to do something as simple and beautiful as ‘Beautiful’. That’s what most people do these days, repeat themselves rather than re-invent. Wonderfully good work, Anoop. Hey, the ‘Thoovanathumpikal’ connection once again!! That was there in ‘Beautiful’ too, and now again. I liked that and appreciate that, but better not carry it on to your next film. (Personally I won’t mind!). ‘Chaudvin ka chand…’ was also good. The characterization, the end portions, the romance of the two kids and how Ravi Shankar identifies so easily with that and so many other things stand out. Would perhaps go on and on, but better stop!
V.K.Prakash deserves an appreciation for having dared to do films like ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Trivandrum Lodge’. This is nothing new from him; he has also made bold attempts earlier at going unconventional- with ‘Freaky Chakra’ and ‘Punaradhivasam’. He had also dared to cast Mithun Chakravarthy in a film like ‘Phir Kabhi’. From what I personally know of him, he can keep doing films like ‘Gulumaal’, ‘Three Kings’ etc and mint money, but that he stops to do such films is worth appreciation. Keep going, with all kinds of movie. Hats off to you, VKP!!
Verdict- Different, bold, well-scripted, well-directed and with good performances. Must-watch!!