Director: Achyuth Vinayak
Cast: Anna Ben, Arjun Ashokan, Suresh Krishna, Zarin Shihab, Nandhu, Fahim Safar, Shiva Hariharan
Emerging screenwriters may take notes while watching the first 15 minutes of Thrishanku. Not only does it set the mood for a hilarious conflict, but this stretch also makes sure we have enough information about each of its many characters and the precarious plight we find them in. When narrated simply, Thrishanku revolves around extreme co-incidences: “what if your sister elopes on the same day you’ve planned to elope yourself?” Apart from this primary conflict, the film throws several co-incidences our way in a manner that we do not question the oddly convenient alignment of stars (Nandu’s character is hilariously superstitious) that leads to this confusion. But when narrated with a certain smoothness, we absorb all of this information, and that too with a smile, because more chaos will lead to more comedy.
It’s the kind of setup that have kept Priyadarshan comedies relevant even today. So when a bus breaks down only so that we can be introduced to a rank outsider who can only mean trouble, we’re not bothered about where he comes from or where he’s going. All we want is for this silly character to create comedic tension that makes the trip super hard for our protagonists Sethu (Arjun Ashokan) and Megha (Anna Ben).
The plotline is so ripe with dual events (two couples, two search parties, two moods) that there’s always a big comedic event we’re building up to. This works so well that in the case of a character like Sethu, not only are we witnessing him eloping, but we’re also simultaneously seeing his own hypocritical attitude towards his sister when she chooses to do the exact same thing. In one sense, the result of Sethu’s idea to run away from home plays out right in front of his eyes.
Yet why is it that we find the film not pushing hard enough when it comes to the madness the plot could have led to? Why throw in a silly, nosy character into the mix when all he’s going to get is one more scene and one bit of information that helps the investigation? Many such questions keep popping up when you’re left scratching your head thinking about how a film that began so strongly becomes so directionless. This is not the case of a film that begins and ends without any promise. With Thrishanku, it’s more like how the film chooses the safest options to keep its protagonists from any real danger.
What doesn’t help is how the second couple, Sethu’s sister Suma and her lover, is grossly underwritten. Apart from this playing out like another cautionary tale about a girl falling in love with a crooked, shady dude, we know nothing about them or the reason they’ve fallen for each other. Which means that even terrific ideas like the interval twist or how the parallel investigation run by Megha’s strict father finally merges with the central couple, ends up doing little in terms of comedy or drama.
Finally, despite the rich premise, it’s the silliness of the performances and few wacky ideas that keep it consistently watchable. An in-joke like how a character says “vetti itta Vazha pole”, feels right at home in this Priyadarshan universe. Even funnier is how the director chooses to pull the camera back so cleverly that we have to LOL at what the captions on two shirts simultaneously reveal. With more chaos and a little bit of drama, this could really have amounted to a comedy classic. Yet when it trades co-incidences with contrivances, the silliness becomes a little too much to care about.