In the recent past, we have seen movies with thin plots working immensely as entertainers. The second movie from VC Abhilash after Aalorukkam, Sabaash Chandrabose, is a stretched comedy that works partially because of the setting. Set in the backdrop of the ’80s, this film starring Vishnu Unnikrishnan and Johny Antony is half-baked yet sporadically funny.
The story is set against the backdrop of Nedumangad in the mid-’80s. TV was a major deal at that time, and Yatheendran Nair, who owned a black and white TV, was a prominent name in that village. Almost everyone in that locality used to come to his house to watch the TV, and our hero Subash Chandrabose aka Chandran is Yatheendran’s close aid. When Yatheendran’s father-in-law died, Chandran was taking care of everything. Chandran’s nephew’s eagerness to watch the TV on that same day causes some issues between them, and Chandran vows to buy a new TV. The repercussions of this decision are what we witness in Sabaash Chandrabose.
The events in the movie are happening in the year 1986, and that element of nostalgia gets you immediately. Owning a television was a big deal back then, and VC Abhilash built the central conflict around that thought. Abhilash is trying different sorts of humor here. From some slapstick jokes to interesting dark humor, Sabaash Chandrabose is always looking for that fun element. Frankly, there were some really good moments in the film for which the entire audience laughed out loud. But the shift we see in the movie’s trajectory somewhere lets you down.
As Chandrabose, Vishnu Unnikrishnan looks convincing in terms of body language. But his efforts to crack the Trivandrum slang, especially when the character is angry, fall flat. Johny Antony as Yatheendran was the most entertaining performer here and his typical humor combined with that slang gelled in well with the movie. Jaffer Idukki in a never before seen avatar was great. Irshad, Sudhy Koppa, Sreeja Das, Remya Suresh, Kottayam Ramesh, etc., are the other names in the cast. Sneha Paliyeri, who won the state award as a dubbing artist, is paired opposite Vishnu Unnikrishnan in this film, and the irony is that she only has one line in this film.
Just like how Sajin Babu made Ayaal Sasi after Un to the dusk, VC Abhilash switches to a totally different space in Sabaash Chandrabose after Aalorukkam. It’s a very Priyadarshan-ish comedy on a content level. But Abhilash tries to include layers of nostalgia, sarcasm, ego, caste politics, and trade union culture of the ’80s. While some of them worked in giving the movie a peculiar texture, the life span of most of the conflicts here was very minimal. The whole Chandran versus Yatheendran conflict is resolved just after the interval. And the movie shifts to the next hurdle in front of Chandran that we knew already. But then again, the humor in those areas makes it a non-boring affair. The music of the film, especially the Kamukippattu with that retro vibes in orchestration, stayed with me.
Sabaash Chandrabose has nothing spectacularly new, but for its runtime of just around 2 hours, I would say it never feels like a dull film. With the whole village becoming a character in the process, this film is a middling retro comedy with occasional moments of laughter.
With the whole village becoming a character in the process, this film is a middling retro comedy with occasional moments of laughter.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended