The Vampire Bat had to fight off many bad omens before watching this movie. There were so many souls talking in his dreams that this is going to be a bad movie. To add to it, when the Vampire Bat was travelling on his medieval machine which ran at ten kilometres per hour, the fastest ever invented by a non-human, and there were traffic problems. In the end, the Vampire Bat reached the theatre thirty two seconds late – not too impressive for a creature well known for punctuality. I guess this reveals another thing about the Vampire Bat. He can’t fly – to be frank, it is more like he won’t fly. It is mainly because he is against it, not because he is like that bird in the movie Rio. He has decided not to fly, even if he is pushed off a cliff with non-vampire crocodiles underneath. He is so adamant, but he is no Meursault, for he is as much as a believer as any living soul in Noah’s Arc. Back to the omens, the vampire bat happened to see so much reckless driving and breaking of traffic rules; but if that is to be considered an omen, the Vampire Bat would have seen no other movie.
So the movie has Deepu Anthikkad in his directorial debut, starring Jayaram and Rachana Narayanankutty. It is the story of a small family of Ranjith, Janaki and their daughter Megha. Our hero is a man who always dreams of becoming rich, and the family as a whole has quite huge dreams, and there is a little boasting which results in no big evil. The hero is a tailor who stitches dresses mostly for movies – a random person who got stuck in the city of Chennai after coming there with big movie dreams which he still cherishes. As the couple had love marriage, they live far away from their relatives, both physically and mentally. Ranjith is looking forward to a big enterprise which he plans to start with a bank loan which seems too difficult to get. His desire to send his daughter to one of the best schools in the area, makes the financial situation even worse. He ends up facing an incredible shortage of cash for his liking, which has to be met one way or the other. This has no movement in the Swapna Sanchari direction, that is for sure, but a comparison at certain points might be worthwhile.
Continuing the sotry, the next important character, Doctor John comes up with an offer of ten lakhs for a surrogate mother for the child of an American based Indian couple who wants the mother to be good-looking. But he fails to find a woman of their liking. Janaki herself takes a decision to go for the money despite the initial refusal from her husband. The American couple pays them half the amount as advance and agrees to return to pay the remaining five lakhs after the birth of their child. But after the birth of the child, Ranjith and Janaki find that the parents of the new-born baby will not return as they have already divorced and started to live their own life. They could no longer be expected to have any interest in a child which belongs to both of them. The initial reaction was to abandon the child, but later the kid grows up as their son and their financial situation also improves – meanwhile, an incident causes the original mother of the boy to return and ask for her son – something which changes the situation completely.
The movie might bring back the memories of 1989 Malayalam movie Dasaratham and 2012 Hindi movie Vicky Donor, the former which was a classic and the latter the Vampire Bat knows not too much about other than what he heard from his noturnal allies. But the known facts tell the Vampire Bat to leave the second one further away. Well, this one is less emotional than the 1989 movie for sure, and they are surely not the same. This is more funny and without doubt, quite enjoyable, as they first half is not short of its funny moments. There might have not been many positive reviews about this one, but I would say that this is a highly under-rated movie. It has a debutant director and a debutant leading actress along with the supporting actress, but it never really losses its footing. The two leading actress and Jayaram has had a firm hold in the movie. There are moments where the story might have lost the soil under its feet, but it never really does – from what the Vampire Bat knows of the soil, he never really liked falling head first into the soil, something which happened only three or four times in his life time. In the end, the movie has strong pillars and is a job well done with its limited resources.
A good story presented in a nice package, which should be very attractive to the family audience, but still not so sure about the new generation lovers looking a continuous supply of that word which starts with the first letter of Fan, Freak, Frog prince, Fanny Browne, Faustus the doctor, Frozen dessert and Fool. For your need for everything evil and not-so-nice, find some other movie. There are enough of them with lip-locks, alchohol, drugs, cigarettes and sex; and leave this one alone, for this has goodness and it cherishes on it. The movie goes on and banks on its goodness and cast performances in a balanced manner. There is no overdose of anything, but simple dose of what would make a family-comedy-drama a success. The biggest advantage of this movie might be that it is light hearted and centred on family, the type of role in which we always wished to see Jayaram – like Veendum Chila Veetukaaryangal, Njangal Santhushtaraanu, Bhagyadevatha, Manasinakkare, Georgootty C/O Georgootty, Ayalathe Adheham, Meleparambil Aanveedu, Aadyathe Kanmani, Veruthe Oru Bharya and so many others.
T. G. Ravi and Mamukkoya have smaller, but noticeable roles to play in the movie. Even as there not that much power in any department to strengthen the movie, there is not much flaws around. To be frank, what might have affected the movie more might be the prejudices; the most significant of them might be based on the name – for a name like “Lucky Star” is a little unattractive for movie; a little closer to the first name of the Indian Premier League Cricket team from Cochin, IndiCommandos Kerala, and not that far away from the names like Chennai SuperKings and Sunrisers Hyderabad. Not that these names can be considered horrible, for they are all subjective – a name like “Lucky Star” would create less interest in Kerala than most of the other names. Its like when I say the name of the movie which I am going to watch, and people are like, what in this world is that? That is surely a cause of repulsion. If it also reminds you of the 2011 Malayalam movie, Lucky Jokers, does that help? Not for me to say.
The movie has the right cast and there is nothing wrong in the movie to have this much less reception, and the hope is for it to do better than how it is performing in the theatre right now. Family audience, this is your chance to bring goodness back to Malayalam movies. A must for anyone who wants to see a good world on the screen and the display of the power of family values compared to the world of separation and intolerance. Isn’t this more of humanity than random people wandering around having drugs, sex, alcohol and cigarettes? Isn’t humanity more of being good rather than gaining attention? Even the ambitions and desires which might have existed in the earlier parts of this movie makes way for the big sacrifice in the end. This is how righteousness should be running, not on a cart made of stone wheels created out of a heart of stone, but based on that delicacy which should be worth a whole human life.
Release date: 8th March 2013
Running time: 130 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Deepu Anthikkad
Starring: Jayaram, Rachana Narayanankutty, Pooja Ramachandran, Mukesh, T. G. Ravi, Mamukkoya
@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.