Malayalam Reviews

Pullikaaran Stara Review: There Is No Starshine In This Tone-Deaf Film

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In Pullikaaran Stara (He Is A Star!), directed by Syamdhar, Mammootty plays a multi-faceted genius named Rajakumaran. He is noble, intelligent, courageous and above all, a handsome man women are instantly attracted to. But there is a predicament. He is too shy to put those good-looks and charisma to good use. Although he looks like he crossed the threshold of 50 long ago, he is still single. 

It is an utmost run-off mill film. The plot has an inconsistent tone, and the technical departments are awful. In its adverts, Pullikkaaran Stara is touted to be a film for kids. Professionally, Rajakumaran is a trainer to school teachers. He imparts to them lessons on how to be good human beings, and treat little kids with love and respect. Occasionally, he sings with children, and saves them from perils. There is a song sequence that comes out of the blue where kids, dressed in candy wrappers, dance to a cute song that Rajakumaran wrote for them. Occasionally, he also performs the services of a marriage counsellor. He asks a female friend to go back to her cheating husband because ‘men are like children who make mistakes, and women should shower on them motherly love’.

And in the same breath, Pullikkaaran Stara cracks a lot of adult jokes and use sexual innuendos.

When he isn’t at work, Rajakumaran takes advice from his friends – a sexually frustrated former police officer who lives in an apartment next-door, a young girl whom he saved from a suicide attempt on a train, his classmate from school, and the security guard of his apartment complex – on how to woo women smoothly and quickly. The girl, Manjima (Deepthi Sathi), who is old enough to be his daughter, tells him that women love it when men talk to them in a hushed voice on phone, and engage them in coquettish conversations. Hence, Rajakumara phones his friend, Manjari (Asha Sharath), a fellow school teacher, at night and asks her what was she wearing. 

The film has a cringe-worthy sense of humour. It opens to sequences from Rajakumaran’s childhood in a village in Idukki. Master Varkey, the adorable child artiste who appeared in Salt Mango Tree, plays little Rajakumaran. What the film does to this child is undeniably cruel. You see him chasing a pretty bird, and climbing a tree to touch it’s tail. A woman bathing in a stream beneath the tree passes him for a pervert, and subsequently, the whole village laughs at this child, who is of no more than 6 years, and nicknames him a shower-peeper. Is this incident of any consequence to the story that follows? Hardly any. 

In another instance, you see Rajakumaran risking his life, and climbing down a steep gorge, to save a little girl caught in a road mishap. You are put through a good few minutes of mediocre computer graphics and nonsensical camera angles, and then the film moves on pretending that nothing happened. It is as if they shot fillers showcasing Rajakumaran’s exploits, and used it in random points throughout the film. 

Artiste Raveena Ravi has dubbed for Deepti Sathi, and it is a lethal combination. If Sathi’s performance is clumsy, Ravi’s voice and the peculiar accented Malayalam that she uses, do not go in sync with the Malayalam dialogues written for Sathi’s character. None of the other actors make any particular impression. 

Over the years, Mammootty’s handsomeness has come to be a part of Kerala’s mythical pool. He might look like a healthy and highly talented 60-year-old actor to a sensible world, but to the state’s popular culture and its followers, Mammootty defies age. He continues to do films where co-characters, every once in a while, would remind him (and the audience) of his irresistible charm and good-looks. In his previous outing, The Great Father, Mammootty was a gun-wielding man in expensive leather jackets, going all out to kill the man who raped his daughter. The film was a blind ode to the actor’s classiness and glamour, than anything else. This repeats in Pullikaran Stara.

If veteran highly-accomplished actors like Mammootty aren’t able to not collaborate in hollow films that ride on their star power, if they aren’t able to see through nonsensical scripts that demand them to flirt with girls half their age, what does star power mean?

***

The Pullikaaran Stara 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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