After a short gap from his last 'Vadakkumnathan', director Shajool Kariyal is back to big screen with the movie 'Chettayees'. No comparisons here, as this seems to be a movie made in a shoe string budget, shot mostly in a flat to enliven the initiatives of a new production company floated by the lead artists and director.
'Chettayees' is all about the drinking habits of people of Kerala that has reached pervasive proportions. The scripts by Sachi reflects the same with almost every scene having something to say about extensive drinking. The movie has Lal as John Pallan, Biju Menon as Kichu, P Sukumar as Bava, Suresh Krishan as Roopesh and Sunil babu as Babumon, all close pals sniveling and shouting around drinking and amusing for themselves, caring for no others. While Pallan is an advocate who has met with a divorce recently, Kichu is a musician, Bava a chef, Ropesh a junior actor and Babumon a government servant. As these inseparable friends come together to celebrate a New Year's eve at John's apartment, the rest of the residents in the complex are visibly annoyed by the activities of the five men, trying to throw them out with close monitoring of the CCTV footage for some unlawful or unethical activities. Till the half way point, there is nothing much apart the antiques that follows boozing to keep you glued and it is in the second half that the movie gathers something to tell, as you can smell there is something that is terribly wrong, all set to happen.
The movie has a simple story line that could be told in a twenty minutes and extending it a full length feature makes it unconvincing. There are some genuine attempts on comedy by the writer Sachi who has sprinkled them far and between, and the rest are jokes centered on drinking and sex, quite loud and over the top. Vinod Illampally's visuals are good and Deepak Dev scores well with the music.
The actors in the fray are good and at times overact, though Lal and Biju Menon take much of the applause. Suresh Krishna is given a comic avatar and voices some of the best dialogues. Miya, who plays Biju Menon's wife is also beautiful and appealing.
All in all, this 'Chettayees' is an average fare, that could have hit big, if handled with a little more sensitivity and aplomb.