From the word go, Guppy drives home the point that the movie is going to be a thing to admire. And so it is, aesthetically. There's the ocean, sun, bright-painted walls, windy, winding roads and Guppy—the fish and the boy who is nicknamed thus.
Guppy the boy does fish farming. Why? To buy a sophisticated wheelchair for his ailing mother (Rohini). He has a bunch of peppy boys for company, along with the friendly kiosk owner (Alancier Lay) and the good-natured government employee (Sudhir Karamana) who helps him sell his fish and whisks away part of the benefits. All of this in the incredible backdrop of splashing tides and a dreamy little village where everybody likes to dress up in florals, polka dots and luminous couture, making the coastal township look more Mexican than Kerala!
And as we're talking, in comes the dapper dude, Tejas Varkey (Tovino Thomas), the engineer who has taken up the government project of building a bridge in the coastal township.
Whether one keeps up with the rest of the characters' name or not, Amina echoes in the minds of everyone in the town, for it's more a veiled symphony than a name for the young boys. Her grandparents, especially a feisty grandfather (Sreenivasan) tries to keep her away from all the “evil eyes”.
Something doesn't sit pretty with the boy and dapper dude. A teenage boy and the gruffly young man begin a series of serious run-ins that finishes its last lap around the end of the movie. The new entrant to the town is an intriguing person with a story tucked in somewhere between his now and then. We wait patiently to see what the story is, where the clashes lead to, and whether the O' Henry story-like sub story of the boy who wishes to buy his mother a gift becomes a grand success.
The town is literally and figuratively painted red, yellow and green. No matter what story unfurls in those frames, there's a definite feeling of delight in soaking up all the loveliness from its backdrop.
Needless to say, the cinematographer Girish Gangadharan emerges the clear winner. Closely following his heels, music director Vishnu Vijay scores well, although the first half was perhaps just a song away from being termed a musical. The second half evened it out and closed with a particularly good number towards the end. Newbie director Johnpaul George has banked on the artistic elements to a large extent. The guppy accessorizing is particularly interesting; there's guppy fish inside little bulbs and a lantern outside the boy's home. The story that is sneaked into the frames, keeps the interest alive, however some of the jagged edges look like deliberate additions; the surprises are a tad too surprising. The characters could have been drawn better, for we do not understand the sudden change of intent from certain characters.
Chethan as Guppy essays a rather delicate character to good effect. Tovino Thomas makes for a dashing guy complete with a beard and bullet, with a persona that jumps from moody to beamish in a few seconds' notice. Rohini, Alancier Lay, Sudhir Karamana and Dileesh Pothan do their jobs just fine. Noby gets some heartening laughs as well.
While it's a thumbs up for the maiden directorial venture, one is too tempted to sing 'beauty, beauty everywhere, but a good number of edits short of being a fine film'.
Onmanorama Rating: 3/5