Anil Radhakrishna Menon’s Diwanjimoola Grand Prix has its heart in the right place. The tale follows a tried and tested pattern, founded on the human virtues, and culminating on a life-affirming note. It has a bunch of endearing characters, played by some of the excellent actors. If only a generous amount of sugar could hide the gross gaffes in every recipe. Diwanjimoola Grand Prix is a tiring watch which has no imprint of the director whose first film was a quirky and delectable North 24 Katham.
Dilwanjimoola Grand Prix is primarily let down by a tedious narrative structure that unreasonably and clumsily oscillates between flashback and real time. Sometimes, there is a flashback narration within a flashback track. The first few sequences have characters rambling on incessantly.
Diwanjimoola is Thrissur’s Kammattipadam. The inhabitants of the slum area are the people who were tricked into selling their land many years ago, for an over-bridge construction. The youngsters are vulnerable to falling into the web of crimes, and there is not enough political will to save them from the gutter. A newly appointed district collector is determined to make a difference, and as the first step towards it, he decides to relaunch a coveted bike racing event which was discontinued long ago. Once upon a time, the grand prix used to be Diwanjimoola’s pride. Jithan (Siddique) a former star racer, is the happiest about this announcement. After an accident during a race which left him wheel-chair bound, Jithan is taken care of by his sprightly daughter, Effymol (Nyla Usha) who is quite an interesting character. She is a municipal ward member, and a social worker whom the people of Diwanjimoola rely on. When Jithan comes to know that Christy (Sijoy), the former racer who caused the fateful mishap that tied him to the wheelchair, is training a racer for the grand prix, he becomes desperate to find a prodigy, coach him a little and make him a champion, beating Christy’s pupil. And Jithan’s prodigy turns out to be a mute and deaf young orphan who lives in Diwanjimoola.
Nyla Usha has a unique talent to light up every scene that she is in. In Diwanjimoola Grand Prix, she has more screen-time than most of her co-actors, and her stunning screen-presence has made the film slightly a better watch than what it could have been with another actor. That Nyla has a great voice control shouldn’t come as a surprise, for she is a veteran radio jockey.
Vinayakan plays a former racer who made a huge career change to be a Pentecost pastor. The actor is impressive in the role which is drastically different from the kind of characters he usually gets to play.
Kunchakko Boban’s Sajan Joseph is a sophisticated and smart officer, likely to be inspired from the real life IAS officer, Prasanth Nair who is also a co-scriptwriter of the film. The actor plays his part well, but is bogged down by the film’s ambition to make Sajan Joseph look a tad too cool, dressing him up in chic clothes and giving him the most stylish hair cuts and beards. Several characters say it aloud time and again that the new district collector is a ‘handsome hunk’. It is this same assertion on his cool factor that backfires.
Diwanjimoola Grand Prix doesn’t do justice to its amusing characters like Nyla’s Effymol and Vinayakan’s Vareed who deserve to be in a better film that would truly render them memorable. You wish you could see more of their life, but your modest wish gets buried in the mediocre script and the tone-deaf music of the film.
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