It’s rural Kerala of the 80s -the time when television and radio were just raking up wonderment among rustic folks and people thronged an affluent household in the neighborhood to listen to a radio or watch television. The idiosyncrasies of that quaint era have been so marvelously re-invented in a plethora of movies in the recent past, that it’s quite unfortunate to witness a tepid reiteration. As the casting rolls, one gets a glimpse of what is in store. The opening scene, hinging on trite slapstick hilarity, makes it clearer. The storyteller is so obsessed with the television that it plays a pivotal role throughout the film.
Basheerinte Premalekhanam, directed by Aneesh Anwar is a tale of romance between Basheer (Farhan Fazil) and Suhra (Sana Althaf). Suhra is the only daughter of Hajiyar (Joy Mathew), a shrewd local politician. Her boundless love for her Ummumma (Sheela) makes them bosom buddies. It's again a TV set, which has been sent by Uzman (Manikandan) from the Gulf that connects Basheer and Suhra. Uzman is a rags-to-riches suitable bachelor who was a lackey at Hajiyar's house during his childhood. As love blossoms between Basheer and Suhra, Hajiyar gets ready to give his daughter's hand to Uzman once he arrives from abroad. And that sows the seed of conflict.
The build-up of romance is gradual and natural. It lends a beautiful spectacle of amour between the two love birds. But then the whole narrative wades through shallow waters. There is no pang of love nor poignancy in their relation. Rather, a large part of the story is swallowed by the loud banters among the cacophonous village folks who appear almost everywhere to stir up comedy. There are several of them and together they engage in the cardinal sin of disallowing the main course assume vitality.
It's Sana Althaf's meticulous acting that stands out in the melee. She makes use of the little space she is allowed and showcases a brilliant performance. Though Farhan Fazil looks naive, he pulls through and leaves not many loose ends. Sheela as Suhra's grandmother is eloquent, but falls short of the adorable, 'Kochu Thresia' of Manassinakkare. Veteran Madhu as Suhra's late grandfather Abukka and the character played by Indrans seem redundant.
Joy Mathew as Hajiyar infuses power into the character. Shanavas as Basheer's father Musaliar and Ranjini Jose as Basheer's sister Laila also put up a notable show. There is a long trail of characters, who form the village crowd including Sunil Sukhada, Sreejith Ravi, Sasi Kalinga, Nobby, Hareesh Perumana, Sooraj Harris and Ponnamma Babu among others. Unfortunately what stands out is the asynchronism between their age and their characterization.
Music by Vishnu Mohan Sithara is lively and leaves an impact, even though not overwhelming. Sanjay Harris, has done a good job capturing the vivid nuances of rural Kerala.