Director Shyamaprasad has maintained appreciable standards all through his film making career. His recent 'Arike' is also one such movie which isn't bad, but it isn't great either. The movie is adorned with a couple of hit music scores and some enduring moments about an 'odd threesome' who are diametrically opposite about their outlook towards life. 'Arike' is having a simple, uncomplicated plot line and actors who can pull off these roles without 'acting' those parts. While the writing is interesting at times and shaky at places, the set of actors are more or less believable all through.
The movie is all about Shanthanu (Dileep), a researcher in Linguistics who is in all admiration and love with one of his former student named Kalpana (Samvrutha) hailing from a rich, aristocratic family. A tender romantic life can be tough for a man who teaches occasionally at a college for a living and lives in a tiny flat with nothing much to 'sacrifice'. Anuradha (Mamtha Mohandas), a close friend of both is the one who always help them with their meeting places and spaces, and even write love letters for Kalpana. With some unpleasant experience with her first love, she is in the notion that love is all about desire, and that true love exists only in movies and stories. She firmly believes that Kalpana and Shanthanu is the last pair in universe who really love and care for each other. But as Shanthanu runs around for finalising a good flat and providing better amenities for Kalpana, with whom he is planning a secret register marriage in a few weeks, the latter seems to have some more practical ideas in her mind in working out a relationship. Though she confesses to her family that her heart belongs to Shanthanu, Kalpana is nipped suddenly when his father sends an urgent summons for something unusual.
The movie is far from glossy, with characters who are not that sophisticated, with the problems appearing very, real. Most importantly, this film has soul, which most films lack these days. The protagonist in the film is like any other non-descript person set eyes on the street, helpless in a life-changing situation. The sequences between the trio are the mainstay of the film and the subsequent arrival of the Guru (Madampu) and his discourses are surprisingly worded, bringing big smile on your face. For some a movie on a slender thread of true love may appear trivial and not as a film to cherish, but the sincerity is inviting. 'Arike' may not be that small little gem that sparkles dazzlingly even in the dark, but it's an earnest attempt for a feel good movie. The performances in the movie are uniformly good, though Dileep is not able to get rid of his characteristic patterns. He strives hard to execute a character with very conventional looks and attitudes, which seriously demands him to under perform. Samvrutha once again plays to the demands of the roles .But it is Mamtha who manages to make the best of the opportunity in a role that demands extreme competence. Completely natural, she adds so much to the scenes, which otherwise would've fallen flat had a lesser actor been cast in that role. In fact, Mamtha is the only actress in the frame who appears the most natural even in its finely done live-audio recording. She also adds to her versatility by lending her voice to the immensely likable song 'Iravil Anayum'.
In the technical front Azhagappan, as usual, does his best behind camera for his best friend Shyamaprasad. The editing by Vinod Sukumaran and other technical aspects are fine. Ouseppachan once again comes up with a couple of good songs that are here to stay .Our pick among the lot are 'Veyil Pole' by Karthick and 'Iravil Anayum', by Mamtha.
On the whole, 'Arike' is a simple film told in the most simplistic manner. The movie should appeal mainly to those who cherish light movies.