Beautifully tried to start a trend in Malayalam cinema by speaking in more bolder and open ways than ever before. Though the film was appreciated much, none of our filmmakers had the guts to contemplate the thoughts with similar flicks. But now the same team of V K P and Anoop Menon is getting bolder, taking and generating heat about unconcealed sexuality, discussing and reflecting thoughts that are generally considered taboo in a highly hypocritical society. And the results are pretty encouraging, continuous applause for those quality minds for talking straight. Yes, the crew deserves it, hats off Anoop Menon, Jayasuriya and V K P for offering this unusual movie.
The movie opens with that much discussed helicam shots of old 'Trivandrum Lodge', occupying a hot spot at the beautiful backwaters of Kochy, where a host of unrelated people had been taking an abode for long, away from their families. The inmates ranges from the music teacher Relton (Janardhanan), Peggy (Sukumari) who runs a small hotel there to provide food to all inmates, Sunil Vellayani (Saiju Kurup), editor of a film magazine, Abdhu (Jayasuriya)- an uneducated, illiterate orphan, Adv Kora (Balachandran), wannabe film star Sagar (Arun), and a group of mimicry artists. The ancient hotel belongs to the realtor Ravishankar, who is maintaining it following a word that he had given to his deceased wife Malavika (Bhavana).
As usual with the group of younger males, the discussions in the hotel are more centred on the urge for sex and ladies. Abdhu who is working as a masseur at a spa is longing to have a physical affair, but manages with nothing due to his unapproachable behaviour. The arrival of Dhwani (Honey rose) a recently divorced English writer to a room in the hotel was more than a shocker for its inmates. She is actually there to write one novel in the backdrop of Mattancherry and to have a first hand experience of the downtown and raw life without conditions, one-night stands and to enjoy the freedom as never before. Intertwining with the happenings of the lodge is the innocent love story of the school goer Arjun, the only son of Ravishankar. The movie which is truly a distinct tale of love, lust and longing (as its promotional tags) also unfolds in a refreshing, unconventional scripting format.
The movie is an apt follow through for that heavily engaging beautiful; this time much of the outstanding frames by Pradeep Nair weaves poetry around the most happening city of Kerala. There is the courage to bring a diverse issue out in the open, narrating a daringly different story without getting preachy. Witty, funny and also emotional, this forward-thinking, progressive commercial cinema vastly enlightens and hugely entertains the new generation audiences, but it needs to be seen whether the families of Kerala are prepared to have a take on its heavy content. The movie has an assortment of sexually explicit dialogues and also extensive use of tainted language, that but appeals. A number of dramatic scenes get enhanced due to these blazing lines. Having said that we'd like to add that the movie loses some steam [for a few minutes] in the post-interval portions, but, thankfully, the life in the lodge doesn't get unbalanced. The movie accomplishes what it sets out to do- it enlightens and entertains and that, in our opinion, is no puny achievement. V K Prakash, once again etches out a near to prefect direction, also bringing in high standards from his technical department and awesome performances from his cast. To depict an intricate and complex character like Abdhu is not everyone's cup of tea and we doubt if any actor could've portrayed the part as brilliantly as Jaysuriya, with his body language and expressions that is the hallmark of enterprise. As his choice of films proves it, this truly versatile, courageous and flexible actor illustrates a character which many mainstream actors may not choose to implement. Honey rose also does everything with effortlessness, self-assurance, brilliance and decorum and that's not an easy thing to do by any standard.
And as usual, Anoop Menon comes up with a role that easily stands out due to his trademark ease and style. The character's bitter-sweet relationship with his father, and unending longing for his wife is safe in his screen personality. The son debating over the virtues of his prostitute mother with his father is the rarest of the sequences we have plotted in any of the Indian movies. Anoop Menon also need a special mention for the screenplay which not once does deviate to the tried and tested track. It's engaging content from commencement to conclusion, one joy ride you can't afford to miss. Add to this the fine songs by M Jayachandran ('Kilikal Parannatho' is our pick) and editing by Mahesh Narayanan. The relatively soft but electrifying BG scores from Bijipal is also commendable.
You cannot devise movies like 'Trivandrum Lodge' targeting its box-office potential or its commercial prospects. Movies with such an audacious theme generally ignite debates and this lodge is sure to meet with severe reactions. The makers ought to be prepared for some bouquets and brickbats. Anyhow, a definite prescription for the new generation audience, who wants to taste more of bolder themes.