When the script you got is a wafer thin one that deals with the tried and tested formula of a teenage love at first sight story, there is very little scope for improvisation. Thattathin Marayathu was one movie that managed to package this thought in to an entertaining movie format, but director Sivram Mony’s Matchbox is nowhere near in creating that entertaining feel. Vishak Nair’s solo comedy performance is giving the audience a relief when this movie is pondering pointlessly. But he wasn’t enough to save this movie.
Ambu (real name Ernesto) is the son of a communist who married a woman from another religion. The progressive dad’s son is a typical lazy B.Com student who has a gang of four close friends. One day he saw a girl from the bus stop and incidentally that girl, Nidhi was his dad’s close friend’s daughter. By the time Ambu could open up about his feelings, a lot of things suddenly changed in Nidhi’s life and the movie shows us Ambu’s efforts to have her in his life.
By the time Matchbox reached its half way point, I had a fear that Drishya’s Nidhi could well be the repetition of Lakshmi Gopalaswami’s role in Vamanapuram Bus Route. Luckily she has a few dialogues in the second half. The fundamental problem is the unnecessarily convoluted script. If you look at the story, it is really simple. Boy loves girl, girl’s marriage gets fixed, boy needs to do something, and at the end you have a happy ending. Now the challenge for the makers is to make everything look authentic. There is a sequence in the movie towards the end where the hero and heroine are standing on the roof top and crying saying how they are not meant for each other. I was like, when did this divine love story happened? All I have seen till now is the boy stalking the girl in a city bus and the girl occasionally smiling back at him.
Post Anandam, I have always appreciated Roshan Mathew for his performance for having that natural feel. But here he really disappointed me. The natural feel was there in some areas, but when the character reached a emotionally broken phase, his dialogue delivery was too dramatic. Vishak Nair on the other hand manages to own certain scenes in the film with his good performance. The climax scene with the girl and the B.Com scene were performed neatly by him. Drishya Raghunath is just that pretty looking heroine. Her dialogue delivery was terribly flawed. Shammy Thilakan was fine in his character. Mathew Joy Mathew is supposed to be the joker of the gang, but except for one joke, the rest of his comic act got misfired. Ashokan, Sarath, Nirmal, Rony David and many other actors are there in the elaborate cast of the film.
The climax of the film has this lengthy one shot similar to Angamaly diaries. It made me realize that some film makers are considering these uncut single shots as a gimmick. In AD, that decision had a purpose but here it was a pointless try. Sivram Mony isn’t trying anything different or innovative here to make this love story a better one. Slow motion shots of the heroine and the usual ways of showing comradery between friends are tried in the first half. The melodrama and related tensions makes no real impact. The whole Chennai chapter seemed like an episode created just to increase the runtime. The funny side of excessive obsessive use of social media was a nice thought, but it happens after a series of incidents that weren’t working for the film. The script by Nikhil and Kenny has too much of Calicut worshipping (I am from Calicut and I feel these things should be said subtly). Technical aspects like Cinematography and edits are on the average side. Bijibal has done a good job with his tunes.
Matchbox has a very fragile script that doesn’t offer anything interesting. With only a few situational jokes and dialogue jokes working in favor of the film, Matchbox is not going to stay in your mind.
With only a few situational jokes and dialogue jokes working in favor of the film, Matchbox is not going to stay in your mind.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended