Malayalam Reviews

Lakshyam Review: Biju Menon Nails It, Jeethu Joseph Doesn’t

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Anzar Khan’s Lakshyam is a crime thriller starring Biju Menon and Indrajith Sukumaran, with screenplay by Jeethu Joseph. 

That Jeethu Joseph is a lover of stories of crime and retribution is no secret. His best films – Drishyam and Memories – are woven around crimes. The characters are masterminds who intelligently execute carefully chalked out plans. And Joseph knows how to spice up the story with the right twists and turns.

But what goes wrong – often – is his inept handling of the cinematic medium. Despite his storytelling skills, on screen the dialogues often sound contrived.

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This is true even for Drishyam, arguably his masterpiece. 

Lakshyam has an interesting story at its core. Two men, as different as chalk and cheese, are trapped together. They can survive, but only if they cooperate with each other. The police is hot on their heels, the alternative is an unknown jungle, and somehow, they have to escape.

And then, one of them realises that the other is his real enemy. The danger intensifies. 

But what lets the film down is Jeethu Joseph’s screenplay. It clumsily moves on from one bad scene to another. The film is laden with dutch angle shots that neither make a point nor add to the aesthetics.

Despite a promising beginning and premise, when the film ends and we look back, there’s nothing memorable to take home. 

***

Lakshyam unfolds inside a dense, dark forest. A police vehicle tumbles down a mountain road into a thick forest; its parts rolling away one by one. A wireless exchange between police personnel plays in the background. This is a fatal accident that might have no survivors.

But two men escape unhurt – Mustafa (Biju Menon), a seasoned criminal, and Vimal (Indrajith), a convicted murderer. They were en route to court when the accident occurred.

Even as the police comb the forest for them, the men argue about whether to escape or whether to go back to the police. Mustafa, a suspect in a minor theft case, feels it’s better to return than spend three days and four nights inside the forest, trying to find a way out. Vimal, however, is determined not to go back. He claims that he has been wrongly convicted for murdering his lover.

Handcuffed to each other, the men have no option but to agree to a single course of action. 

***

At first, there are riveting moments as these two men, from entirely different social backgrounds, are forced to act like conjoined twins.

Vimal complains about the stench when Mustafa squats over a stream to take a dump, humming film songs. He wonders aloud if Mustafa can ever keep his mouth shut; to which Mustafa replies that an illiterate petty thief like himself can improve his general knowledge only through conversations with other people. 

But the interest these scenes spark is short-lived. Soon enough, Vimal’s past unfurls in a dull flashback sequence. The screenplay at this point reveals too much too quickly, and renders the story weak and predictable. The film is based on a tragic event, but it’s hard for the audience to hold anyone responsible for it. 

To keep the momentum going, however, Joseph inserts some nightmare sequences. In one such scene, Mustafa dreams of Vimal attacking him with a stone, only to wake up and let out a sigh of relief. It’s meant to build tension with ‘could-have-been-this-way’ possibilities, but falls flat. 

Minutes into the film, the two protagonists engage in a lengthy conversation inside a forest. They are fully aware that a massive police force is searching for them, and might arrive at any moment.

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Yet, there is no sense of urgency or tension in the men. They stand straight and mouth their lines as if in a stage play.

Too often, the film loses sight of the genre it’s working within. 

***

Among the actors, Biju Menon outperforms his co-star, Indrajith, whose dialogue delivery and body-language are stiff without a hint of improvisation. Menon looks natural and at ease, adding another laudable performance to his recent highly-acclaimed ones.

***

Lakshyam is a film that begins well, but dies out before reaching its destination. Jeethu Joseph, it would seem, hasn’t learned from his Oozham debacle. 

*****

The Lakshyam review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

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