Updated by Raj Vikram
11 October 2013 1:45 PM IST
Idukki Gold- An ode to timeless camaraderie !
Camaraderie-the life long bonds,so goes the caption of one of the famous ads of yore. Aashiq Abu’s Idukki Gold is indeed an ode to friendship, that transcends the barriers and ravages of unrelenting time.Interspersed with nostalgia the narrative of the movie is a delightful flit from present to past and vice versa.Aashiq’s penchant for inventiveness is all pervasive in this movie and by the time this languidly paced and passionately made cinematic offering culminates, an air of pleasant satisfaction envelops you, just like the magical mist in the enamouring mountains of the mysterious Idukki.
The movie has no airs and its surprisingly simple but engaging plot is craftily made into a soothing experience which shows that the so called new generation movie genre has more to it than the clichéd premises and parading of expletives.Of course the movie never tries to be apologetic about what its basic premise is ,and some taboo words are indeed used without the ubiquitous beep sound,but they are so seamlessly merged into the narrative that nothing sticks out like a sore thumb.
Idukki beckons !
Essentially it is a tale of re-union,not of college mates,but school mates for a change.An awesome grouping of five free spirited young students who studied together in a school in the pristine hills of Cheruthoni in Idukki,with the majestic arch dam in the backdrop during the late 70s.Years down the line and cut to the present,Michael(Prathap Pothen) an NRI gets overwhelmed by his sense of nostalgia and hits upon an idea to revisit those olden golden days,when they gorged on Idukki gold,a term that became title of the movie for a special reason.He gives an ad in a newspaper asking his four old mates to contact him if they are alive or if they happen to come across the ad.
Time has of course taken its toll and each of them are leading lives as different as chalk and cheese.Madan(Maniyanpillai Raju) is a planter in Thrissur who is having a strangely strained relation with his wife played by Sajitha Mattathil.Ravi(Raveendran) a chronic bachelor runs a ramshackle studio in the heart of Thrissur town.Among the group only these two are still in touch.When they come across Michael’s ad they go in search of him and meet him.The threesome have a whale of a time together sharing their eventful past and narrating how their life panned out all these years.The prime motive of Michael is of course to make a journey to their old school.
A bit hesitant Raman and Ravi are at first,pressed down as they are by their commitments, but they too decide to take the plunge unable as they are to resist the temptation to re-visit their delectable and storied past.They manage to zero in on Antony(Babu Antony),their fourth mate who used to be a karate aficionado,now reduced to a henpecked husband who is running a restaurant in Fort Kochi.Finally they take into tow the fifth man Raman(Vijayaraghavan),a communist ideologue. After much prodding by an obdurate Michael the old mates hit the road in an old model van reminiscent of their youthful days and moves up the winding road to Idukki.
They have a principal aim in this visit apart from soaking in their memories and drinking from the nectar of nostalgia.Drinking and smoking binges are interlaced with subtle humour and the back and forth mode of narrative and the luscious visuals literally elevate the movie to heights of visual splendour.Songs are at a premium but both of them, especially the title song by Bijibal is so mellifluous and it beautifully synchronises with the overall mood of the movie.The misty hills of Idukki has a shocking surprise in store for the jovial friends whose plans go slightly awry and they land in a spot of bother as a merciless act they had committed during their schooldays catch up with them.
There is no shock and awe climax here and the movie leisurely strolls into an end that leaves a sweet taste in the mouth.The manner in which the denouement shapes up and the end dialogue have the stamp of a responsible film maker.It is as though the makers wash of some of the accumulated stain,that is inevitable in a tale that can’t dispense with alcohol and smoking even for a moment.There is not even a speck of unwanted element in the movie,even the get together scenes are so finely weaved into the narrative that we get the feel that they are after all meeting three and a half decades down the line.
Those viewers fed on the staple diet of run of the mill twists,turns and complicated mazes in the plot may not take an instant liking to Idukki Gold.It will take time to sink in,the kind of experience that can be savoured for sometime and which shrouds you in an envelope of nostalgia and as the mist in Idukki vanishes,you would wish if only it came again.
Shyam Pushkaran and Dileesh Nair have experimented with scripting which is based on a story by Santhosh Echikkanam. The element of novelty in the narrative is unmistakable.Shyju Khalid’s captivating frames sheaths your soul with all pervading beauty.Performances are so natural that you simply don’t feel like giving a special emphasis to anyone.Prathap Pothen,Raju,Babu Antony,Ravindran and Vijayaraghavan and Lal in a cameo are all remarkable, delivering exactly what they are expected to do.
Idukki Gold well and truly belongs to Aashiq Abu. His command over the medium and versatility are becoming apparent with each film and Idukki Gold will be another feather in his cap.As I said at the outset,it is an ode to camaraderie,the bonds which are ingrained in the echelons of our mind.Time can take its toll on most memories,but some feelings transcend it.Friendship thrives and like gold it shines in Idukki Gold.All that glitters are not gold,but this one is.
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