In my review for Madhav Ramadasan’s Ilayaraja, I have talked about a film named Angels in the Outfield which I loved as a small kid and later realized that it was a very trashy film according to the critics and the general audience. My Santa is one movie that can be a childhood memory for a lot of small kids as they are not really exposed to template inspiring fantasy stories. If you ask me whether I will recommend this movie, I will say that if you have a small kid who watches all those cartoon stuff on TV and YouTube then you can confidently go for this movie just to make him or her happy.
Aisa is a small kid and she is like a huge fan of Santa Clause. Aisa lost her father and mother in a car accident and she lives with her grandfather. Her grandpa has told her that Santa Clause will meet her on the coming Christmas and he will take her to heaven to see her parents. Aisa’s strong desire to see her Santa and what all happens when he eventually arrives to see her is the idea of My Santa.
If you look at it, we have not seen that bona fide kid’s film with all the fantasy elements in Malayalam in a long time. The last one I could remember was Phillips and the Monkey Pen. Sugeeth and team are actually trying to fill that gap and with someone like Dileep who has that eccentric style in the portrayal of characters, this is a movie that looks safe on paper. The only and major problem is that it just wants to please kids. The first half of the movie is a major issue as it pointlessly lingers around so many characters. In the first half, there are a few comedy scenes featuring Siddique and Dharmajan and almost all of them fell flat. Santa’s entry in this movie happens only 10 or 15 minutes before the interval and to be honest you will feel that the waiting period was way too much. Once Santa arrives, there is pace and energy to the movie that will definitely entertain the kids and if you are an adult who hasn’t seen more than five films in your entire lifetime, it might entertain you too.
Looking at the melodramatic and loud pitch of the story and the Santa character, one can easily see why Dileep was the best choice. His typical humor style goes well with the character and the warmth in the chemistry of Aisa and Santa is the only reason why My Santa becomes bearable for adults. Manasvi who plays the role of Aisa is earnest and to an extent she makes us feel for her character. Sai Kumar was nice. Siddique was wasted in a useless role and Dharmajan is just there for the sake of some slapstick comedy. A lot of brief roles are here in the movie by people like Sunny Wayne, Anusree, Kalabhavan Shajon, and Indrans.
The script by Jemin Cyriac is trying to be a package. You can clearly sense a lack of organic scene building, especially in the first half. The film is investing time in too many issues and characters that we know are going to get resolved when the hero arrives later. The cheesy and preachy phase has a huge duration and the fun part only begins in the second half. There also, the moments are kind of funny because of the way the characters occasionally talk. But if you try to analyze the screenplay, it is just a series of scenes where Santa fulfills the wishes of Aisa. The tail end of the movie has a lot of technical explanations happening and it sounded lame. Sugeeth is a director who always gives this glossy texture to his movies and this time it works in favor of the film as the mood of the film goes with that technique. The frames are literally colorful and Faizal Ali continues to do the backlight/light leak thing excessively in frames. The music by Vidyasagar was a highlight when the promos came, but I doubt whether the expectations were met.
I have heard a lot of parents saying that they want to watch a particular film and they are not sure whether their kid will sit calmly through the film. Well, My Santa is perhaps one movie where the kid will definitely sit calmly but you will feel restless. A movie like Phillips and the Monkey Pen has content and treatment that will work for adults and kids. What My Santa lacks is this ability to be appealing to both age groups.
NB: If you had a plan to watch this movie with your kid when you saw the promo materials, chuck this review and go for the movie. The signal is red for adults and green for adults who are planning to watch it with kids.
The signal is red for adults and green for adults who are planning to watch it with kids.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended