Language: Malayalam

Cast: Kalidas Jayaram, Ganapathi, Aparna Balamurali

Director: Jeethu Joseph

When the film begins with characters morphing from childhood into adulthood, the signs are ominous. We get an opening shot of five lads in various shapes and sizes, trying hard to look fierce, flinging stones at a car. And then without much trouble, they switch into their adult versions, looking less fierce and more comical. It’s predictable and awfully old school. After last year’s star son vehicle Aadhi, director Jeethu Joseph has come out with probably his most forgettable film till date: Mr & Ms Rowdy.

A gang of jobless young men led by Appu (Kalidas Jayaram, who urgently needs some help with script selection) form the local “quotation” team in their village. They only take up harmless projects and haven’t yet graduated to murders. A girl enters their life and…you get the drift, right?

It’s a film without a single solid character sketch. The hero is Appu, whose backstory would probably make director Siddique a contented man. The heroine, Poornima (Aparna Balamurali who desperately needs a break from her toughie girl-next-door image), exists for the hero to find meaning in his life. To assure us that the title is not for nothing, she is given some predictable scenes to showcase her rowdy-like exterior. The opinion poll for the most annoying and unoriginal bunch of friends will be won, hands down, by these four friends of Appu. Suffice to say that they are a bunch of clichés.

When you call actors like Sai Kumar (random greying rich guy) and Vijayaraghavan (as a priest. Sigh!), either you give them meaty roles or don’t bother at all. The token Jeethu Joseph villain resurfaces looking dapper, rich and evil. Vijay Babu bears the cross of that caricature this time.

What shall we say about female representation? There is a Muslim mother who is miserable because her young daughter is unmarried. A brother whose only ambition is to see his sister get married. And stereotypical maniacal step-mother, who is also “mad”.

The writing is archaic and chaotic, all the supposed humour falls flat and none of the emotions hit the right notes. The characters are badly written (and therefore badly performed), and the narrative is a string of platitudes. In fact, most characters give the impression of being stuck in a 90s film set. The production design is deplorable. Can a tea kada be made more corny? Not to mention the tea kada owner for that matter. Or the village where the story is placed. Or that superficially deprived home of the hero which looks so staged.

Let’s just say Jeethu has been showing signs of falling back on his craft, and this time it’s a visibly bad fall.

Rating:   star

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