Director: Jis Joy
Cast: Asif Ali, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Shanthi Krishna, Siddique
Composer: Prince George
In director Jis Joy’s film universe, dessert is the main course. Props such as coffee mug, illumination lights, colourful furniture, and antique vehicles occupy pivotal roles in his films as agents of saccharine. His characters live in spaces that resemble doll houses, wear corniness on their sleeve, and recite lousy motivational lines, regardless of the weight of the situation. Joy structures his films within an upper middle class familial territory where characters are unaffected by dire political or social crisis. They happily conform to conservative values while posing to be modern – one of the most critical moments in his latest film, Vijay Superum Pournamiyum, comes when the parents of Pournami (Aishwarya Lekshmi) decide to postpone her wedding and let her succeed in her entrepreneurial venture. “We will entrust you in the hands of a deserving man only when you are ready,” they tell her, and the woman sheds tears of joy. The deadline is extended, but its existence is never questioned.
Pournami meets Vijay Super (Asif Ali) in a mix-up when he, along with his family and friends, lands up at her place in a formal matchmaking meeting. Before they realise they are in the wrong house, a faulty door lock brings the couple close, and as their parents go about clearing the confusion and fixing alliances for them, the duo decide to team up for a restaurant business venture.
The film bypasses the toughest and unromantic stages of setting up a business – no one loses their mind over the legal paperwork or governmental procedures – and goes straight to the fun part where the characters drive around their fancy food truck, get fan mails from celebrities and become an Internet sensation. Everything looks too easy. This is especially true about the people’s initial reaction to the business idea. “Food with some good music. We will play AR Rahman songs while the guests relish Continental dishes,” Pournami says, and the listeners exclaim, “Wow! What a brilliant never-heard-before concept!”
Writing is lazy. The film opens to a done-to-death stereotypical scene where a pregnant woman gives birth as her stressed out husband waits outside the hospital room. Dialogues are forgettable, reeking of phoniness. The sub plot on the protagonist’s former romantic affairs have obviousness written all over them. The same goes for the relationship arc of Vijay and Pournami. There is hardly a substantial stumbling block that stands between them and a future together.
Joy, it turns out, has a poor sense of staging scenes – the rich man who tries to buy Vijay in a marriage alliance, and the runaway boyfriend who returns to Pournami only come across as comic props, and never characters worth taking seriously. There is a big bunch of supporting characters played by talented actors like KPAC Lalitha, Siddique and Balu Varghese who diligently water down every remotely serious situation with lackluster attempts at comedy or unnecessary display of sentiments. Aju Varghese makes a guest appearance to play an utterly nonsensical part that mocks his entire acting career.
The film is a remake of the Telugu hit, Pelli Choopulu, where one of the highlights is the subtle gender role reversal in the plot. The male protagonist likes to cook, while the woman assumes the role of a strict manager who calls the shots. He flounders, and takes time to overcome his fears, while she is a fearless ‘superwoman’, a prototype resembling the women in Sathyan Anthikkad films. Joy inserts more women of contrasting shades to stress upon the flawlessness of his heroine. Vijay’s ex-flame, Reshma, is a beautiful woman who pretends to be demure, yet turns out to be a strumpet. His fiancée, Sonam, scion of a wealthy household, is a vamp-like character construct. She smokes, is impolite and has sex with her boyfriend.
The lead actors look the part, but their performances are hardly memorable. Asif Ali redoes his Sunday Holiday avatar, while Aishwarya Lekshmi fumbles in a role that demands an actor with a bolder screen-presence and powerful body language. Renedive’s cinematography is flashy, sometimes excessively so, yet it and Prince George’s energetic soundtrack do the important job of covering up the film’s lack of substance.
The Vijay Superum Pournamiyum review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.