Over two hours into Rajesh Nair’s Kalyanam, something unusual happens. The female protagonist, played by an actress in her early 20s, speaks two lines straight for the first time in the film. She, albeit uncomfortably, faces the hero and speaks up, without her hair flying in the breeze or the camera zooming into her cherubic face, or that deafening background score that always plays out when she makes an appearance, vehemently reducing her to a object of desire.
Kalyanam is touted to be a romantic drama, but what is a romantic drama where the woman can easily be replaced by a pretty doll and yet, the story remains intact?
Shareth (Shravan Mukesh) fell in love with Shari (Varsha Bollamma) the moment his eyes fell on her while they were in kindergarten. Ever since, he never stopped stalking her, watching her secretly from his terrace (she is his neighbour), and making awkward attempts to flirt with her. He goes into hysterical mode whenever he comes across her, but the girl seems oblivious to the fact that he is smitten by her.
Kalyanam firmly believes in the old-fashioned notion that the hero, no matter how goofy or good-for-nothing he might seem, deserves the girl at the end. The plot is uni-dimensional, much like Vineeth Sreenivasan’s famous Thattathin Marayathu, but the difference is that here, the writing doesn’t offer anything memorable. In spite of being centered around a terribly skewed romantic relationship, Thattathin Marayathu was a well-packed and marketed commercial film that played to the gallery of young men and women. Kalyanam is as insipid as the expressions of Shravan who interprets his character as a man-baby. Shareth’s characterisation is insipid. During most of the running time of the film, we never hear him speak about anything other than Shari. Does he have a life outside this state of infatuation? How rational is it to get a young woman, whom everyone refers to as studious and smart, married to a loafer whose only qualification is a hopelessly romantic heart? There is a horde of supporting actors such as Sreenivasan, Mukesh, Gregory and Hareesh to back Shravan Mukesh in his first movie outing, but there is only so much that even talented young artistes such as Hareesh can do in a movie where blandness rules.
For Rajesh Nair, whose previous Salt Mango Tree was an adorable little film that, albeit old-fashioned, had some stellar writing, Kalyanam is a giant stumble into mediocrity. It is sheer wonder that this film manages to run for two-and-a-half hours on a fatally weak thread, unaided by good performances, great music or striking visuals.
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