From tusker to scapegoat, this pachyderm's tale, directed by Dileep Menon, deals with the elephantine issue of communalism.
Sekharankutty is the tusker in question and he tells you, in popular actor Dileep's voice, how he was made a scapegoat in Vaikundapuram village.
Among the two-legged brigade that forms the rest of the characters in the film, Vineeth Sreenivasan rules the roost as Hashim, the protagonist who returns to his village to avenge the humiliation he suffered for a crime he did not do – stealing the elephant's golden amulet.
As filmy fate would have it, Hashim returns to the village mounted on the same elephant that was the reason for his humiliating exit. The elephant, now part of a Muslim family, has to undergo a transformation, orders Hashim's astute grandmother Hajara.
The movie then offers some laughs as Hashim plays along to the eccentric orders of his grandmother, played brilliantly by Thesni Khan, even if it means bringing an entire village to their courtyard in amusement. But the laughs then give way to tension and the village finds itself divided over which religious hues to be given to the tusker. As the fire rages on, the elephant is put under the care of a pastor, completing the communal equation.
The debutant director should be lauded for picking a good storyline, considering the changing 'landscape' of Kerala, but he hasn't been able to pull in all the shots that go into making of a satire. And you get a movie that leaves a lot to be desired.
Even Hashim's romantic tryst with Parvathy, played by Anu Sithara of Ramante Edenthottamn fame, doesn't find much space on the screen. Save for one romantic number, the couple, though hopelessly in love, are not even seen together for much of the movie. But some may argue that the director skipping the 'cupid strikes moment' as a definite improvement in Malayalam cinema.
Vineeth tries to fit into Hashim's shoes, but he is not able to make a run for it – his movements hindered by a script that attempts to squeeze in too much of humor but misses the mark on several occasions.
Suraj Venjaramoodu, as the wily temple president, easily mixes humor even while playing the dark role.
The bunch of simpleton villagers are fun to watch and their jokes and interactions keep much of the movie going. Cinematography by Deepu S Unni, who portrays the green village and the colorful lives of the people, gets a thumbs-up, while Shaan Rahman's music, though ear-pleasing, doesn't leave a lasting impression. The majestic tusker does swing up his trunk in all royalty but the full effect of the ground-breaking trumpet gets muffled in the din of all the lame laughs that the director tries to throw your way.