With Onam right around the next bend, Arun Vaidyanathan’s Malayalam debut ‘Peruchazhi’ is out, where the promos had a suave Mohanlal in white and white with something to do with American elections walking with swagger. Slick, yes it is, impressive, not quite! (It would help slightly if Mohanlal makes you go weak on your knees; you might ignore the ramblings in your brain signaling you that ‘this is a no go plot!’)
It’s the State Governor elections in California. A Malayalee is at the helm of the campaigning frenzy. Despite being in charge of a lot of things, he is not able to generate ideas to increase the ratings. And there, in that moment of furore, we have Jagannathan (Mohanlal) with his sidekicks (Aju, Baburaj) flying off to California to help make Republicans win the election! Be warned, the quizzical eyebrow that goes high up here, doesn’t really get back to normalcy after this point.
The idea is sensational; How does a Malayalee political figure (although there isn't much evidence substantiating that he is one) devise ways to make an American win elections? If it’s a movie that celebrated its content, we would have seen a very different treatment. But this was a celebration of Mohanlal. The American election gets interrupted a million times because the director thought it will be interesting to randomly put in some Mohanlal nostalgia from yonder. Once, twice, it’s okay. The eleventh time, you’d start to think the movie has slowly transformed into an Onam cassette of sorts, a compilation of yesteryear Mohanlal gems. (Yes, Arun Vaidyanathan, we know Mohanlal is fabulous, but couldn’t you have paid tribute in another suitable way, and called it a tribute instead of a movie?)
Coming back to the plot, Jagannathan’s ideas for striking gold at the ballot are lame, well most of them. And it’s unbelievable that the campaigner was bereft of any saleable ideas. To probably justify the tag that the movie comes with, of being a ‘political satire’ Jagannathan exercises tactics that are ‘Indian’ in ways. Would Indian election tactics work in America? Like a charm, says the director! The problem being, most of the ideas are childish, and even atrocious when we see them getting executed. There’s no political brain, no thrills, no opponents worth fighting against, and in short, no game. And a reminder: last minute villainy, done to death is beyond boring.
Adding to all of it, we have Jessy (Ragini Nandwani), Mohanlal’s eye-arm candy, who’s beautiful, and can emote by the looks of it, but is again just a prop. (And somehow this looks like a weakened and fragile sub-plot inspired from ‘Pretty Woman’) Let that be, but why such a language deficient prop? The romance is non-existent, and even annoying when they try to communicate in fractions of two different languages. And it’s not funny, especially in a particularly painful restaurant romance scene, where Mohanlal is devastatingly inefficient as the man-in-love-with-a-foreigner.
What’s funny, or rather, who’s funny is Francis Kunjappan (Mukesh) who does justice to his part, and times his humour perfectly. Ramesh Pisharody pitches in too. Aju Varghese and Baburaj are inconsistently funny.
What’s interesting is, the movie tries to be politically correct in some ways, but fumbles big time in all the other ways; Mohanlal draping the American flag around his waist making it a ‘mundu’ among the featured many! The songs are tedious, although the BGM puts Mohanlal’s gait in rhythm, and that’s the whole purpose of it apparently!
‘Peruchazhi’ is an exaggerated belief of a mediocre idea. And how it ends, reinforces the aforementioned statement! It isn’t so much a political mockery, as a political idiocy. But as for undying loyalties, the star with his 'mundu' action, alternatively 'suited and booted' is quite hoot-inspiring.
Rating : 2.5/5