Make no mistake, the title has nothing to do with the former PM, or blood-spitting and tonsil warming hollers of patriotic display. This leads the inquisitive mind to the query on the rationale behind the name.
It’s the central characters' names- Lal (Jayasurya), Bahadur (Nedumudi Venu) and Dharmaja Shastri (Aju Varghese). Going by the storyline, the purpose was probably to represent the virtue of honesty and the likes of it, but it doesn't get preachy, which is a bonus.
The story starts how most Malayalam films begin these days—with the voice of the narrator (Jayasurya). But that phase quickly passes over to accommodate what we’ve been missing for a while—a simple and clear story, told through the protagonists and their circumstances.
The story does not start off as eventful. It’s a day in the lives of the protagonists that gradually picks up pace, and becomes eventful, eventually! A day, three strangers and a lottery ticket—that's pretty much the theme. The commonplace in the movie is what is most familiar; we’ve all known that older lecher, the unassuming nice guy, who ends up being the do-gooder since most others around him aren’t, the stranger who offers to help you because… well, you’re not quite sure why!
Director Rejishh Midhila has penned the script well; for an unpretentious film that doesn’t boast of layered nuances or hard-hitting “realities”, this one quietly whips the cream off the cake by judiciously aiming for a minimalist method, except maybe in organizing a mental labyrinth of sorts in the search for what makes for a crucial turn in the second half.
Vested interests, corruption, pimps of the government jobs and so on are issues touched upon, but none in electrifying degrees, since the purpose of the movie is to keep it in a lighter vein. The movie has its moments of good humour, although some cliched excesses could have been curbed.
As always, Nedumudi Venu aces his role with his very own idiosyncrasies. Jayasurya keeps up with Nedumudi Venu, and Aju Varghese joins in as the able third companion. Minon (the boy wonder in '101 chodyangal' and 'Munnariyippu') does a great job as well.
The 'strangers whose path collide' theme has definitely happened to Malayalam movies before, but in here, the emphasis is more on a problem they're trying to solve, and there is no 'life changing' or 'out of character' impacts holstered upon the protagonists. They are their usual selves from start to end, and hence the bonds seem slightly more convincing.
The movie certainly isn't ground-breaking, but it does engage you, even if there isn't much you can take back with you. Then again, why should every movie be blow-your-mind-off fantastic? Simple and subtle can work too, at least for an evening!