The filmmaking process of Alphonse Puthren has always been described as peculiar by all his collaborators as he improvises a lot on the sets and delivers something beyond the script. Krishna Shankar and Sharaf U Dheen have said in interviews that Alphonse is terrible at narration, and his movie shapes up in the editing table. If you look at Neram and Premam, the treatment is so eccentric at times that the margin for error is extremely slim. When it comes to his new film Gold, all the signature elements, including a wafer-thin plot, are there. But that overwhelming high one got in Premam and Neram is somewhere missing.
Joshy is our central protagonist. He is a mobile shop owner, and he is planning to get married real soon. One day he finds a Bolero with a load of speakers parked in front of his gate. As there was no one with the truck, and it blocked the entry to his house, Joshy went to the police station to file a complaint. Events that unfold after that and the mystery behind the Bolero are what we see in Gold.
The beauty or I should rather say freshness, of Alphonse Puthren’s movies has been how he tries to break the existing grammar of cinema. The way he uses those animated multicolor texts to enhance the humor in his scenes, the way he storms into a slow-motion shot, etc., were pretty unique and brave. And somewhere, he knew how not to overdo certain experiments. In terms of craft, you can clearly see him playing with all the tools he has. Unlike his other two movies, this time Alphonse is experimenting with the color palette too. Even though it felt odd in the beginning, it gave the film a signature style.
In the hands of good directors, Prithviraj Sukumaran’s comedy timing has been really good, and Alphonse Puthren has managed to restrict Prithviraj from overdoing things. Even though the star cast is vast, it is Prithviraj who is doing the heavy lifting, and the performance was convincing. Baburaj gets a lengthy role in the film as an honest police officer. Shammi Thilakan and Lalu Alex, as a combo, were fun to watch. These actors are actually the ones who have a significant role in the film. The screen time of actors like Nayanthara, Roshan Mathew, Vinay Forrt, Saiju Kurup, Sharaf U Dheen, etc., is extremely minimal when you look at the 165 minutes duration of the film.
You can’t really pick a specific factor that made Gold a relatively less entertaining film in Puthren’s filmography. I have always felt that Alphonse’s movies work in their totality. In terms of style, he uses the framing and pacing of both Neram and Premam almost like a tribute. The crisscross narration with those quirky texts, the flashy cuts that change color tone when one character touches another one, the background score that smoothly kicks in when Mallika Sukumaran’s character is there in the frame, etc., makes the film unique in terms of presentation. In terms of scripting, I would say the character pool-driven confusion pattern looks a lot similar to Neram. But somewhere, I felt the movie could have been trimmed at specific points. But since the making of even those bloated scenes is quirky, it doesn’t become an evident problem. The peppy tracks really work for the film.
The third movie with nothing new to offer was the caption they used for the promotion, and I think in his fourth movie Alphonse Puthren should try to offer something unique. If you love the craft aspect of the film, there is definitely enough in Gold to keep you engaged. The lack of a solid plot and the dependence on treatment has always made Alphonse Puthren’s movies look like tightrope walking. In the case of Gold, even though he has not fallen, he is slipping here and there before eventually finishing.
All the signature elements, including a wafer-thin plot, are there. But that overwhelming high one got in Premam and Neram is somewhere missing.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended