Ambili, Johnpaul George’s second film after Guppy is very much in the zone of his debut film. The aim of the director is pretty much the same and just like Guppy, we are left in a zone where we will think about the characters we just saw on screen. Even though things are somewhat predictable, there is an emotional warmth that makes this movie an engaging watch that won’t disappoint you.
Spoiler Alert! The movie came without any trailer or teaser that gave any hint about the content. So the review may have spoilers. Ambili, our title protagonist is a slow-witted guy. He is a bit different from others due to his childlike attitude (mentally retarded would be a harsh term to use in this context). The guy lost his parents long back and lives alone in his village. His Family friend Bobby, who is a well-known cyclist, means a lot to Ambili. But Ambili being the eccentric he is, Bobby wanted to move away from him. The film Ambili is primarily a journey that shows how Bobby realizes the care and concern of Ambili about him.
Six years back on August 9th, Neelakasham Pachakkadal Chuvanna Bhoomi released and Johnpaul George was the associate director of that film. I dragged that point into this review because there is a road trip angle in this film which reminded me of NPCB. While Neelakasham was more focused on the inner turmoil of its leading man, here the treatment is more focused on bringing the feel-good factor. In fact, there is one segment in the movie which reminded me of the Bimalda character in NPCB. I am not saying the content is the same here. But the structural similarity is there for sure. For almost 90% of the movie, Ambili feels like a comedy sidekick in the self-exploration journey of Bobby. But in the climax when he breaks down you won’t be able to resist yourself from thinking about that character. His loneliness in life was shown in a really moving way.
Soubin Shahir once again steals the show. It is one character that can easily become a mockery of the mentally challenged people. But Soubin made sure that the character will only end up as an endearing one. For a majority of the time, he is doing a tweaked version of his typical comedy style. But where he wins is in that climax sequence. Naveen Nazim may have the attitude one wishes to see in Bobby, but his acting is far away from perfect. Tanvi Ram was really good in the role of the matured and nonjudgmental Teena.
Johnpaul George has written and directed this movie. Ambili is not a movie that can’t be compared with Guppy. There are certain parallels in both stories and I feel both movies are ultimately talking about compassion. Johnpaul has a knack to give depth to characters very smartly. In one scene when Bobby becomes concerned about sending Ambili back home alone, Teena’s response not only creates a hilarious moment, but it also gives us an idea about the extent to which Ambili would go for the ones he loves. The humor is organic and one can sense a template in both Guppy and Ambili when you compare both films. The music by Vishnu Vijay is splendid and Aaradhike will be in my playlist for a long time. The cinematography by Sharan Velayudhan was also fabulous. Kiran Das’ edits gave the movie an engaging vibe.
Despite being predictable or familiar, Ambili ultimately offers you endearing happiness. The intention is to be a feel-good entertainer and the movie is indeed a success in that aspect. Seeing all those beautiful visuals along with soulful music and a sweet Ambili at the center of it, I don’t think anyone will walk out of the theater with disappointment.
Seeing all those beautiful visuals along with soulful music and a sweet Ambili at the center of it, I don’t think anyone will walk out of the theater with disappointment.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended