Indian Rupee is Ranjith's latest Malayalam offering, coming across as another one in the genre of "new age" films like Traffic, Salt N' Pepper and Pranayam currently redefining Malayalam cinema with fresh stories of everyday lives of small-time real people. It almost looks like the "golden age" of Malayalam cinema of the late 80s and early 90s is on it's way back. The industry had lost it's way amongst macho movies with superhuman superstars flexing muscle and potbellies in overtly flamboyant silver screen extravaganzas where the larger-than-life hero plays to the audience with superhero mannerisms, hard hitting dialogues and inflated personae. It looked like Malayalam cinema was following the much criticized way of the Tamil cinema where a flood of high-profile flops had forced the industry to dump these so called formula movies for more realistic stories and subdued execution. And indeed, viewers were abandoning theaters with nostalgia of "golden age" movies hanging high in the air. That is why these movies bring a breath of fresh air.
|Directed By: Ranjith|
|Starring: Prithviraj, Thilakan, Jagathy Sreekumar, Tini Tom, Rima Kallingal, Mamukoya, Lalu Alex|
|Genre: Drama, Satire|
|Release date: 06 Oct 2011|
|Running Time: 2 hours, 37 minutes|
|Produced by: August Cinema: Prithviraj Sukumaran and others.|
Why you should watch it
- Simple Story and brilliant execution
- Ranjith, Thilakan and Jagathy
- Twists, turns and surprises.
- No pretensions, even by Prithviraj!
Why you should not watch it
- No, you should watch it.
- Do not watch it if you expect thundering superstars.
- Some plot holes
My Verdict and Rating - ♥♥♥♥ out of 5
Indian Rupee: Riveting. Classy, detailed, powerful. Story of money trails, wealth & aspirations. Must Watch, Malayalam cinema is back! 4/5
— vadakkus (@vadakkus) October 10, 2011
About Indian Rupee and the Journey
Indian Rupee shows us the power and journey of the Indian Rupee, how it rolls from place to place and from hand to hand, making and breaking hearths and lives. It shows us the world of insanely high property transactions worth amounts to mind numbing that the numbers seem to lose value but the Indian Rupee still reigns supreme. It also shows us the dark underbelly of the Indian Rupee, of fake notes, money laundering and black and white money. It talks about middle class poverty and ambition existing alongside extravagant wealthiness and arrogance of the upper class and the desire of middle class youth to become rich and make it big in life. It shows how the deprived want and try to edge into this world of insane wealthiness but are kept out of the circle by sharks guarding their fiefdoms. It tells us the story of how the Indian Rupee rolls and is rolled. In all it's Lakhs and CRs.
Ranjith takes a jab at today's morally ambivalent youth and others, who become righteous when it suits them, and do not mind to take the immoral or easy way out to make it big. He also narrates how real estate transactions work, but also points out the dangers of taking the not-so-moral route. He also hints that rich people are immensely rich.
The Story (No Spoliers)
Jayaprakash (JP - Prithviraj) runs a small time real estate agency in Kozhikode in partnership with C.H. (Tini Tom). Impulsive and intuitive, he hails from a middle class family of limited means and dreams of making it big some day, and he wants to make it big fast. He does not think twice about running away from his responsibilities or taking the no-so-righteous way to achieve his dreams. He lives with his widowed mother and sister and has a girlfriend Dr. Beena (Rima Kallingal). They work under the shadow bigger real estate sharks like Rayanikka (Mamukoya) and Joy (Biju Pappen), but are discontent with the crumbs they get from them and want to break free. Then they meet Achutha Menon (Thilakan) who appoints them as his broker to sell his property in the city. The deal gets scuttled, but they become close and Menon advises and helps them arm-twist the client of the other deal into paying them compensation money. That incident changes their lives . The movie then goes on shows how Lakhs and Crores of Indian Rupees are rolled from one source to the next, closing and opening deals, impacting JP's and CH's lives, mainly through the intervention of Golden Pappen (Jagathy), the miserly millionaire who hoards cash in his house. It also shows us who the mysterious all-knowing Mr. Menon is, and how his past gets intertwined with their lives.
What "Indian Rupee" Has to Offer:
Ranjith movies of today are down-to-earth real stories of real people around us. People in his movies talk and act as people in real life would do, as people in Malayalam movies once did. As a friend said, "Ranjith's movies seem voyeuristic. You feel like the camera was hidden filming people as they went around doing their daily chores." His films are devoid of melodrama, pretensions and you can feel reality in every frame, and even smell the scent of the earth. And Indian Rupee is no different.
All this apart, the entire movie takes off on a mildly humorous platform, there is a background of satire in every character. Never does the light, pensive mood go awry, and never is cast a pall of gloom, even in the worst situations in the movie. Comedy is an omni-present theme in the movie, The dialogues are measured and well placed, there are no dramatic pauses or rambling melodrama with screeching violins in the background. The taut screenplay does not waste a single frame and the photography is above average.
All actors perfectly complement the director, but Ranjith kept the least tight so no actor is allowed to step beyond the premises of his act and the script, and the "Indian Rupee" is hence maintained as the real "hero" throughout the film.
Prithviraj delivers arguably his career- best performance as the visceral JP. He flawlessly delivers the act of a school drop out simpleton who is ready to commit sins to achieve his big dreams and matches it perfectly with his Kozhikode slang. For a change, he plays the regular human being and thank heavens keeps out his superstar-ism.
Thilakan owned the movie with his stellar performance as Achutha Menon, no one could have done it better than him. His gait, emotion display and portrayal of a helpless old man and learned scholar at the same time was priceless. We missed him.
Jagathy Sreekumar is as always a total treat to watch as the misery Golden Pappen who despite owning several high end automobiles moves around on an ancient scooter and haggles over Rs.1000 on a Rs.1 Crore payment. His expression when he hears that cops are on their way to check his house - priceless. He keeps the comic spirit alive through out the movie.
Rima Kallingal plays her part perfectly portraying Prithviraj's love interest, but she provides JP with two crucial connections in the movie, which ultimately turn the story around. Also, she radiates that earthly beauty all around her. Pretty.
Mamukoya is in his usual element, with his trademark slang, dialogue and mannerisms. Ex-mimicry man Tini Tom also puts up an above average performance, I would say his best. The rest of the cast don't have much to do to make an impact.
A well rounded presentation with a superb story line, with mind blowing elements in it. Stellar performances by all cast members with memorable characters. Go watch!