Director Raffi’s Rolemodels revolves around a group of four men and two women, formerly batchmates at an engineering college in Kerala. Eight years after college, three of them meet again and hatch a plan to help the fourth, currently undergoing a serious mental trauma, return to normal life. They travel from Kochi to the country’s party state, Goa, to hook him up with his old college flame, now living there.
The setting is perfect for a fun-filled holiday movie. There are songs, action sequences, and comic instances aplenty. There are impressive performances by actors Fahadh Fazil and Vinaayakan, especially in the initial sequences.
And yet, Rolemodels isn’t a delightful film.
For one, lazy writing tries to puff up situations with nonsensical and often tasteless humour. Example: to check whether their friend is gay, Rexi (Sharaffuddin) and Jyothi (Vinayakan) try to seduce him by flaunting their bare chests, and moaning in his face. No one expects humour in commercial films to be subtle. But it’s odd to watch full-grown adults behave this way for laughs.
Poor and contrived humour is a lesser problem though than the miscasting of men like Fahadh Fazil, Vinaayakan and Vinay Fort (all well into their ’30s) as college students. The indulge in regular teenage antics in college – singing, dancing, and making merry. Finally, when an unsympathetic professor schemes to throw them out of the college, they cry and beg with the principal to not “ruin their future”.
It’s awkward and comes across as funny for reasons the director probably did not intend.
Similarly miscast is Namitha Pramod, who plays an adventure sports junkie. Her body language speaks volumes about her discomfort in this new bohemian make-over. She doesn’t look like someone who roams around with bikers and hippies. Worse, her chemistry with potential suitor Fahadh Fazil is dull.
Fahadh’s stiff and nerdy Gautham vaguely resembles his role in Anil Radhakrishna Menon’s North 24 Kaatham. But Fahadh is talented and plays it cleverly, not letting the two characters look alike. Even in scenes that portray Gautham as anti-social, he brings forth the character’s underlying helplessness and despair.
And his antics are funny. In one scene, he lectures his visibly-bored friends on the possibilities of life on Mars and the importance of drinking eight litres of water a day. In another sequence in Goa, he has to dance to Gopi Sunder’s underwhelming composition and Harinarayanan’s shoddy lyrics. It’s somewhat cringe-worthy, but Fahadh manages to rescue the scene with genuine charm.
For some reason, Malayalam cinema has a baffling spate of fictional women who betray their lovers. It isn’t clear what spurred this trend, but going by the response in movie halls and social media platforms, it’s a trope that resonates with the young male audience in the state.
Both the young women in Rolemodels are accused of being deceitful gold-diggers at least once in the film. There is even a song dedicated to these kinds of women.
With all the scrutiny around potential insults in movie dialogues (see this and this, for instance) – one would think it would be out of line to use a subtle and seemingly harmless song to unleash insult and hatred towards women, accusing them of being constantly unfaithful in relationships.
In fairness though, sexist dialogues and situations are far fewer in Rolemodels, compared to regular Mollywood potboilers like Georgetttan’s Pooram or Happy Wedding.
Rolemodels is a breezy one-time watch that doesn’t aspire to be anything more. Turn off your thinking brain, and laugh at the sight of a bunch of drunken monkeys dance. And if this film has any longevity, it will be for Vinaayakan, the darling of offbeat dark cinema who handles his comic role in this one like a wizard.
The Rolemodels 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.