CIA aka Comrade In America directed by Amal Neerad after almost a 3 year long break is a movie that tries to squeeze in the idea of self discovery in a main stream entertainer movie format. Unlike films like Oru Mexican Aparatha or Sakhavu, the agenda here isn’t to give focus on political party level communism. Communism is just there as the backdrop of the main character. Ultimately the film is about an important journey in a young man’s life and in that aspect the film works for us.
Aji Mathew is this party worker of the left wing youth association. He is a very socially committed person and he even has a conflict with his own father in terms of political principles. His socially responsible life caused issues in his love life as well. As a result Aji ends up in a situation where he had to go to USA at the earliest. How Aji Mathew manages to reach USA surviving all the Visa / Passport complications and how that journey eventually shapes him as a much mature human being is what CIA Comrade In America talking about.
The reality of emigrants is somewhat alien to the Malayalam audience. But we are all familiar to it through whatever we have seen and heard in the media. What Amal Neerad and writer Shibin Francis is trying to depict here is a much closer look at the real reasons why people become emigrants. It is actually the entire second half of this film that deals with this key issue. The first half of the film is set in Kerala and is trying to show us the character of Aji Mathew and his first love. To be very honest, the romance doesn’t look that compelling enough to make us root for Aji when he sets off for a risky journey in the second half. And what they have tried in presenting the character is the usual heroic stuff. There is a fight sequence conceived stylishly by the director which apparently only serves the purpose of boosting the hero’s over the top image. Where the movie explores itself is in the second half where you get to see the drama unfold. Even within a considerably short span of time, the film manages to show us the dark sides of a few aspects we generally don’t look at.
Dulquer Salmaan carries the character very effectively. There is a grace in his performance and in the second half he portrays the vulnerabilities of that character neatly. Karthika Muralidharan doesn’t have much of a space in the film in terms of performance. Dileesh Pothan and Soubin Shahir add humor in the tale. John Vijay was really effective as the Srilankan. Siddique once again impresses us with his effortless performance. Chandini Sreedharan, Parvathy and Jinu Joseph are there as other main characters.
When you look at the way this film has been conceived, you can clearly see Amal Neerad going back towards the style he used in the beginning of his career as director. The first half of the film is a proof of that. You get to see a stylized intro for the hero, writing mocks the modern day political picture and there is also a typical Anal Arasu fight sequence. There is a witty sequence where Aji Mathew talks to all the popular communist leaders about his love story and I liked it a lot. All these sort of works when you look at it as that hero boosting movie and when you see how the second half of the movie shifts its shape to a more intense narration of emigrant crisis, these earlier events sort of look like a misfit. The intensity of the situation was there in all those sequences and it could have been a little more harsh and lengthy. Renadive’s cinematography was effective, especially in the second half. Cuts were good and the “inspired” music and background score from Gopi Sundar fits in to the mood of the situations nicely.
Amal Neerad’s CIA : Comrade In America is ultimately an enjoyable film for various reasons. Like I already said, the mixing of commercial elements and the emphasis on emigrant life occasionally causes some issues. But at a time when the world’s most powerful man is adamant on insulting emigrants, the politics of CIA deserves appreciation.
At a time when the world’s most powerful man is adamant on insulting emigrants, the politics of CIA deserves appreciation.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended