Writer Sachy has a knack to find interesting conflicts in his stories and the new movie Driving License featuring Prithviraj Sukumaran and Suraj Venjaramood is a product of identifying one such peculiar conflict. Somewhere along the line Driving License becomes a study about that fine line between ego and self-respect. Driving license is a little bit inconsistent in terms of the emotional highs the movie needed. But the engagement it creates through the various characters and moments makes it a watchable passable flick.
Hareendran is one of the superstars in the Malayalam industry. He has a huge craze for cars and driving. The movie he is currently shooting has a portion that needed his driving license for getting the approval to shoot the movie at a particular location. But Hareendran realizes the truth that he has lost his original license. Kuruvila, the MVI was a huge fanboy of Hareendran and he was willing to help his superstar at this point. But certain things happen in an unprecedented manner and this incident becomes a huge topic in media circle and a rivalry gets generated between the superstar and his superfan. What’s this rivalry and how it eventually culminates is the story of Driving License.
Even though Prithviraj is occasionally criticized for his dramatic style of acting, there are some directors like Roshan Andrews and Anjali Menon who bring out the most natural performance in him and through this film, I would say Lal Jr. joins that list of directors. A less animated and easy flowing Prithviraj was a major positive for me in this movie. There is a satiric angle in the narrative that pokes the lame industry politics and also the current media culture. Clubbing that slightly eccentric treatment with the very rooted reality of Kuruvila’s humiliation is a difficult thing and to me, that’s where the movie sort of loses its balance. But Jean-Paul Lal doesn’t drag the fight to any over-ambitious terrains and thus the movie never enters a boring zone.
Just like I already said, Prithviraj performs with ease. When he explodes in anger in front of Kuruvila for the first time and suddenly says sorry to Kuruvila’s kid things look real. Even in other conversations and minor stares he gives you can sense the comfort he is enjoying in playing this character. Suraj Venjaramood as Kuruvila is also pretty effective. It is actually towards the end of the movie, where Suraj Venjaramood is getting to showcase his ability to depict the inner pain of the character and he has done it neatly. Miya was funny. Nandhu gets a good character here. Suresh Krishna and Saiju Kurup were hilarious. Adhish Praveen did a nice job. Major Ravi is there in a minor role. Lalu Alex, Arun, Deepti Sati, Salim Kumar, etc are the other memorable names in the cast.
Lal Jr captures the scenes with maximum authenticity if you ask me. The Balakrishna spoof-like intro of Suresh Krishna is actually technically solid and at the same time, it shows the incompetence of that character. The writing of Sachy is trying its best to cover up the exaggerations. When I was thinking why a learner’s test is getting presented as an episode of KBC, Kuruvila himself makes fun of the whole setup. There is a bit of a missing in the intensity of the humiliation both the characters face in the movie and when they patch up in a seemingly quick way you tend to feel that they could have pushed it a little further. The areas that showed the crooked politics inside the industry was entertaining. Alex J Pulickel’s visuals are nice. The songs were also cool.
Driving License is a watchable flick with a fresh conflict. If that conflict was pushed to its maximum intensity and then given a solution, the movie would have been slightly more gripping. The freshness in the idea is the main USP of Driving License.
If that conflict was pushed to its maximum intensity and then given a solution, the movie would have been slightly more gripping.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended