Even with the best of stars, technicians and resources, some moribund scripts simply refuse to spring to life. 'Thiruvambadi Thamban' starts off with plenty of sentiments, has a dab on comedy for a while, tries its hand on romance and finally decides to deliver some action, leaving the viewer exasperated.
On the way back to Kerala from the Gajamela at Sonepur, Thiruvambadi Thamban (Jayaram) rubs shoulders with Shaktivel (Kishore) in Tamil Nadu, without realizing that the man is an unquestioned ruler of the place. In no time, Shaktivel and his men set out in search of Thamban and his gang, who flee to Kerala.
The lack of a proper story line is evident right at the start of the film that pretty much wastes an entire first hour saying nothing. You have an elaborate build up surrounding a Christian family that has for years been supplying elephants for temple processions. And the father-son duo that we have seen in a million films already, whose major feature would be that they get drunk together is right here.
And then we are told of a Brahmin girl whom Thamban has fallen in love with, and it takes a while before he gets married to her. And you wonder where all this is headed. It almost appears disoriented and episodic until half way through, when it changes gear all on a sudden and gives us a hint that a thriller is on its way!
Was surprised to see a kind of a heroine back in Malayalam films after a while; the kind that I thought had disappeared for good. I mean the kind of female lead who is around for a couple of scenes in the first half, and then disappears with out a trace. Here she serves an extra special purpose though; of being at the telephone with hubby hollering out instructions at the other end, including the one as to when she should hang up.
Talking about telephones reminds me of something. The usual procedure when you ring somebody up would be to wait for the person to say a 'Hello' (at least) before you start blurting out your grievances or whatever. In this film, there are at least two people who start yapping into their phones without even bothering to think who their listeners are, and they end up making revelations to the wrong persons! Both these conversations happen at the most crucial junctures as well.
Jayaram is quite at ease playing the role that he has been asked to essay in the film. But it's Kishore who steals the limelight right from under his nose. With his steely stare and twisted eyebrows, the man is undoubtedly the best thing about 'Thiruvambady Thamban'. The film also makes you really miss Jagathy Sreekumar, who unfortunately doesn't sound quite right in the film.
I was just hoping that this one would be about elephants, but no such luck. If it were, watching those big tuskers in action could have been better entertainment, I'm sure. Sigh!