The first half of the movie Ganagandharvan is a very usual tale of miseries of a middle-class guy. If you are someone who feels that Ramesh Pisharody’s last film Panchavarnathatha was an enjoyable film, the chances of you enjoying the first half is pretty high. But in the second half, the movie enters a very problematic zone in terms of its politics. The way it plugs its core idea made me uncomfortable and the debate about this “taking side” has been going on for a while now.
Ullas is a struggling singer in a troupe named Kalasadhan. He has not really excelled in his profession and his family-life is going in a just about okay way. At one point, Ullas gets an opportunity to go to the USA. But that offer came with a cost. SPOILER ALERT! Ullas was asked to marry another girl, who wanted to go to the USA for certain desperate reasons. The conflict a righteous man like Ullas faces after this demand is the content of Ganagandharvan.
Ramesh Pisharody and Hari Nair had made a lot of socio-political commentary in their last work Panchavarnathatha. Here also they are trying to talk about a lot of such habits of people. The issue is that all these things sound engaging when Pisharody says it in his usual stand up comedy feature. But when he adapts it for a movie, the merging isn’t happening so smoothly. The issue I had with this movie comes in the second half when the movie talks about the rights of a woman. I do acknowledge the fact there could well be women who may misuse the law that is in favor of the female. But the feeling I got while watching the visuals in Ganagandharvan was the other way. The character in focus is repeatedly saying the attack is the best defense at multiple occasions and what the movie is trying to tell its viewers, considering the present day scenario, becomes extremely difficult to digest.
Mammootty performs the role of Ullas without many hiccups. Even though his energy as a singer was a bit animated, I loved the way he showed the helplessness in one particular jail sequence. Vanditha Manoharan as Ullas’ wife Mini was disappointing, especially in terms of dialogue delivery. Athulya Chandra as Sandra was too stiff and that stiffness made her character’s anger and irreverence a little too loud. These are the main characters of this movie. Rest of the cast including names like Manoj K Jayan, Suresh Krishna, Innocent, Kunjan, Sunil Sukhada, Siddique, Maniyan Pilla Raju etc are mostly in the crowd.
As I said, Ramesh Pisharody is more of a story-teller rather than a director with craft in movie making. He has the experience of participating in programs where his troupe has performed and the artist in him has included every bit of that into this film (The scene featuring Devan and Sohan Lal for eg). Pisharody wants to make fun of so many things in the society and he has created scenes just for that (The whole Dharmajan – KTM thing). In the last hour of the movie, Ganagandharvan is trying to get the feel of a suspense drama. Our hero becomes a guy who is accused of many things including rape. At a time of Me Too movement, somebody trying to ask what if the girl is taking advantage of the legal system that has a soft corner towards her because of the victim label is not a bad debate to put forward. But when you create a character that looks so childish and amateur, to put across this idea, the intention becomes a problem. Alagappan has done the cinematography for the film and Deepak Dev has composed the music. The sync sound was done neatly for the film.
Ganagandharvan has the texture of an outdated entertainer. Placing a hero in the middle of all the miseries, making him do something to get out of it, people accusing him of things that he has never done and eventually everyone saying sorry to him at the end is a story that we have seen a zillion times and this Ramesh Pisharody movie is a mere repetition of that in a different backdrop.
PS: If you are an ardent follower of Flowers top singer, a particular twist will be easily guessable for you.
This Ramesh Pisharody movie is a mere repetition of the tried and tested story of a good boy hero getting misunderstood, this time in a different backdrop.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended