Cast: Nivin Pauly, Mamitha Baiju, Vinay Forrt, Jaffar Idukki
Writer and director: Haneef Adeni
The only real heist in Ramachandra Boss and Co is the miracle that Hanef Adeni was able to convince a group of talented people to collaborate on this silly film. With the temperament of a spoof and with the polish of an Annual Day stage play in a primary school, there’s almost nothing that makes you want to sit through this film. And in an industry where we’ve already had great heist movies like Sapthamashree Thaskaraha (2014) and Varnayanthil Ashanka (2017) and truly awful ones like Mr Fraud (2014) and parts of Cassannovva (2012) here’s one more to add to the latter.
The issue really isn’t the plot the film revolves around: it is pretty basic with an expensive painting that needs to be stolen from a high-security mansion (think The Thomas Crown Affair), but at least there’s the novelty of a heist being set in a the Middle East with room for flashy devices and eccentric caricatures. The real issue lies with how little they’ve been able to push this conceit. A heist in itself isn’t as novel as a genre and it’s not half as interesting as it was before shows like Money Heist (referenced in the film) became a worldwide phenomenon.
Despite this, the makers have neither attempted to subvert the rules or patterns of a classic heist nor has there been any effort to root that in an original, Malayali context with real characters. Apart from one-line backstories for each participant with each of them requiring a sum of money for a family crisis, there just isn’t enough information for them to matter. Their motives might have still worked had they contributed to the comedy. But despite the set of talented actors, it is only Vinay Forrt who seems to have done anything in the funny parts to move things along.
But even with him, the space given is entirely limited to his shady behaviour around women and this quickly becomes too one-note. Another aspect of the film that ruins the eccentric pitch is the villain. It’s a character that is designed to be hammy (he kills his victims with a flute) but there’s almost nothing the actor is able to contribute to the viciousness. But what is actually funny though is how he’s almost always as if he is on the defensive, also creating the feeling that he is not only weak, that too against a group of novices, but also silly.
And silly is a word you have to keep going back to through this film. Without any cleverness in the actual heist and without a set of oddball characters to root for OR laugh at, Ramachandra Boss And Co is another Onam misfire that should have been a little more.