Every movie made by Ranjith Sanker is a reaction to something we don’t wish to see in society. If North 24 kaatham from Anil Radhakrishna Menon used the theme of harthal to depict another story, Punyalan Agarbathis is a reaction and a slightly cheesy solution to this social nuisance. With more than enough humor enriched in almost all frames sarcastically, I enjoyed this satire experiment from the director of passenger.
Joy Thakolkaran is an aspiring entrepreneur who has taken the risk to quit his constant income and start an Agarbathis business. Joy has the support of his wife and also his close friend Greenu. The content here shows us the difficult journey of an entrepreneur in our harthal obsessed state to get his business running and some strategies he applied to reach the success.
In comparison with the previous films of the director, I was really surprised and excited to see the less preachy content and more humorous treatment. It is like that Pranchiyettan style of sarcasm where they don’t really elaborate anything, but conveys the matter through nuances of normal life style. I was really glad to see a non English spitting court room and applauds to the team for breaking this cliché. That small part which disturbed my enjoyment was the transformation of Joy in the last 15 minutes of the screenplay. For a lage raho munnabhai type satire, that much level of darkness and that Anna Hassare style protest was kind of a mismatch.
Jayasurya has done a wonderful job as the educated Thrissur citizen who can’t change his slang even when he speaks English. The aspiration was really visible in his portrayal. Naila Usha was apt as that modern day working class wife. Aju Varghese did his supporting role nicely. Two characters who really cracked me were Sunil Sukhada as the judge and Sreejith Ravi as the miserable truck driver. Audience were waiting to see them on screen as even a glimpse of their characters could create laughter. They haven’t used the character of Innocent to the level I expected. Rachana, T G Ravi, Idavela Babu, Vinod Kovoor, Irshad, Jayaraj Warrier and many others are there in the star cast who did a memorable job.
As I mentioned earlier, I was really impressed to see the transformation in the direction style of Ranjith Sankar. He has included humor in the writing very smoothly and the dialogs were natural and funny. The screenplay develops smoothly and there is no clarity issues even with too many troubles happening to Joy. The climax portion fizzled slightly which in a way takes away the much deserving claps. The visuals are pleasant and the cuts are nice. Really enjoyable music from Bijibal. The funny BGMs were great but the emotional ones were a bit too high.
Overall, the fragrance of Punyalan Agarbathis made me happy. Personally I would consider this as the director’s best till date. I could feel a bit of Pranchiyettan, India Rupee, Jolly LLB and Munna Bhai here and there in the movie, but that didn’t spoiled my enjoyment or made me question the genuinity of the content. The rating for Punyalan Agarbathis is 3.5/5 from my side as I sit clueless why a few viewers howled at a neat and simple entertainer.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended