SPOILER ALERT! In the promotional material the makers of Djinn have released, they haven’t really revealed too much about the plot; hence, some of the things in this review can be spoilers. When you see that emotional end to the movie Djinn, you will get the germ of the idea that made Siddharth Bharathan move forward with a story like this. But the story is tricky as it explores two characters with very different backdrops. The screenplay’s inability to find that correct balance somewhere limits Djinn from reaching its full potential.
Lalappan belongs to this rural village in Kasargode, and he has this psychological issue where he acts like a different person when stressed too much. At one point, when others tried to put him inside a hospital, his friend took him to a different city, giving him hope of a better life if he could do one thing for that friend. How that decision changes the life of Lalappan is what we see in Djinn.
As some of you may have noticed in the trailer, Soubin plays two different characters in the film. From the perspective of a commercial film, the interval twist that happens in the movie reminded me of the twist I saw in Farhan Akhtar’s version of Don. But Siddharth and writer Rajesh Gopinadhan aren’t really trying to explore those peppy possibilities of the tale. They are aiming more for a feel-good space, and the idea is to empathize with all those characters who are experiencing some form of trauma. But when that happens in the film’s last act, the required intensity is missing.
Soubin Shahir as a performer, has delivered quite an intense and impressive performance as both Lalappan and Anees. He made both characters very distinctive despite sharing the same looks in almost all combination sequences. What was particularly good was the controlled way in which he pulled off Lalappan’s mental condition. Santhy Balachandran gets to play a significant character in the movie as Safa. Even though she appeared only in the movie’s second half, she conveyed that character’s backstory through her performance. It was good to see a normal Shine Tom Chacko surrounded by hyper-stoner characters for a change. Nishanth Sagar gets a role that we don’t usually associate with him. Sabumon Abdusamad and Leona Leshoy are the other two important names in the star cast. Sharaf U Dheen, KPAC Lalitha, Jaffar Idukki, Sudheesh, etc., are also there in the cast.
Maybe the contradiction of the worlds of the characters played by Soubin Shahir in the movie is what excited Siddharth Bharathan. But the script is a bit confused about how much focus should be given to each character. When you give a lot of attention to the gold smuggling and the dirty games happening around it, the audience somewhere loses track of the events that occurred in the initial part of the film, which was about the day-to-day life of Lalappan. The scene where Sudheesh’s doctor character explains how domestic abuse can lead to such mental conditions was perhaps a link to connect Safa and Lalappan. But the smuggling chapter consumed too much screentime that this empathy track got much less.
Djinn is inconsistent as it is shuttling between two characters with highly different sensitivity levels. As I already said, if they could have allocated a little more time to give us details about Lalappan and Safa, Djinn may have forced us to think about those characters and create narratives about why they connected.
The screenplay's inability to find that correct balance somewhere limits Djinn from reaching its full potential.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended