Pranaye Vilasam, ambitious but too vanilla

It is a fidgety film weaving like a restless child in a toyshop, in and out of characters and their lives

Pranaye Vilasam (Source: Twitter)
Pranaye Vilasam (Source: Twitter)

Subhash K Jha

Pranaye Vilasam (Malayam, Zee5)
Rating: ** ½

Nikhil Muraly’s likeable but finally powerless Malayalam rom-com (for the want of a better term) is filled with ambitious emotions which never come to any fruition. It is a fidgety film weaving like a restless child in a toyshop, in and out of characters and their lives so that we don’t really know much about them except that something terrible is going to happen soon.

The death of the matriarch Anushree draws Sooraj (Arjun Ashokan) and his father Rajeevan (Manoj K.U) together, like Prakash Raj and Dhanush in that wonderful Tamil film ThiruchitrambalamPranaye Vilasam lacks the genuine warmth of that other film about a troubled father-son relationship. Everything happens too suddenly in Pranaye Vilasam. It isn’t all pleasant unexpectedness. Oftentimes, it feels laboured hurried and synthetic.

When Rajeevan and Sooraj lose the most precious person in their life, they set out on a road trip where their mutual crisis is swiftly repaired and the plot quickly seeks other points of conflict; it encounters deadends each time.

Pranye Vilasam doesn’t lack heart. It lacks tact. It wants to tell a heartwarming story of self-discovery through a death in family, but seems clueless as to how to find its way to the core of the tragedy. In the absence of a centre, the storytelling loses its bearings and flits from one unconvincing adventure to another.

Why, for example, would the father-son set off to meet Anushree’s secret love of which they get to know through her (secret) diary? What sense does this make? So okay, the mother was in love with another man before marriage. Many are. So what? Rather than cremating this secret with Anushree, Rajeevan and Sooraj become a  part of a highly embarrassing meeting with Anushree's past love Vinod who plays football and behaves  like nothing ever happened.

I am not sure what the father-son get out of this meeting. Or what we get from an unwanted flashback where we are told why Vinod ditched Anushree’s elopement plans.

These are characters who just don’t know what to do with the freedom that the breezy plot provides them. They seem so lost in their makebelieve world of problems that arise from their inability to move on.

We do just that, move on, after watching the film. A pity, as there are characters and situations in the plot worth knowing. If only the narrative stayed more focused on what was relevant.

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