In the horror genre, be it horror thriller or horror comedy, there is always a structure that will give us an idea about the ghost and will explain why the spirit is doing all those things. Romancham, the latest Malayalam horror comedy from debutant Jithu Madhavan is actually a horror comedy that doesn’t bother much about detailing the other side of the story. And despite that, this Soubin Shahir starrer is a hilarious movie that keeps you occupied through its entire runtime and becomes that easy yet well-written comedy.
The movie is about a group of boys who lived in Bangalore in 2007. One of them actually has a job. Two of them have cracked interviews and are awaiting the call letter. One is a failed businessman, and one guy works in the petrol pump. The rest two have no jobs at that point. The undisciplined life of these youngsters took a drastic turn when they decided to play Ouija board in their apartment. The fact that their Ouija board really worked gave them a lot of clients. But the consequences of playing with a spirit are what we see in Romancham.
If you have had a hostel life, you will clearly know that the idea of 7 bachelors cramped in an untidy apartment will provide the movie ample scope to include relatable humor. Jithu Madhavan has incorporated that in the script smartly. The good thing about the writing is that it isn’t adding anything just for the sake of comedy, and some seemingly insignificant comedy bits get connected to the plot impressively. For example, the sequence where Soman’s love interest’s father threatens the gang for stalking her might look like an insignificant comedy about language barriers. But almost like a butterfly effect, that scene initiates the moment that becomes the trigger point of the whole film.
Jithu clearly knows that he can’t win over the audience with any twists here. So through the writing, he is trying to develop good situational humor that will stay with the audience. The limited audience with whom I saw the movie couldn’t resist their laughter at the Rasheed comedy featuring Chemban Vinod Jose. The reaction Jibi gives when he sees his relative talking to himself at night is the most practical yet less seen reaction in a horror film. I knew that the disjointness of the movie’s two halves would get connected at one point. But that connection was established in a relatively interesting way. The editing played a crucial role in making it all look engaging, as the movie had the responsibility of showing the routine of these men along with the drama around the Ouija board. There are a lot of instances where the minimal pauses at the beginning of shots made the scene look hilarious. Sushin’s tunes and background score blend in really well. Sanu Thahir uses minimal space effectively to convey comedy and horror.
Soubin’s performance is very much in his typical style, and there isn’t a drastic change from his usual mannerisms. And it seems like Jithu Madhavan told his actors to use their natural dialect to give that diversity to the movie. Sajin Gopu as the leader of the gang, was fun to watch, especially whenever he had to shed the macho persona. Siju Sunny has got a really memorable character in the film. Abin Bino, aka Nathu from Othalanga Thuruthu, will make you laugh out loud with his mere expression changes. Afzal PH, Jagadeesh Kumar, and Anandaraman Ajay were all good in their respective roles. I think the most challenging role was given to Arjun Ashokan, who comes in the movie’s second half. His character is in a zone that can easily slip into what we usually call “overacting.” But when the film slips into an empathetic song featuring Arjun’s character, you somewhere feel for him.
Romancham is not a path-breaking film or a never before seen experience. But there is a genuine effort to present the story in a way that looks a lot more practical than typical. The movie ends with the announcement of a sequel, and I feel that somewhere adds a backtracking fun element to whatever that has been shown to us till that point.
Romancham is not a path-breaking film or a never before seen experience. But there is a genuine effort to present the story in a way that looks a lot more practical than typical.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended