Pranchiyettan and the Saint (2010)
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Director Ranjith's latest offering Pranchiyettan and the Saint, starring Mammootty, is one such effort where the viewer is drawn into the story to experience the sheer joy of it. This film just tells the story of a rich but uncouth simpleton, C. Francis -- popularly known as Pranchiyettan. As his family has been into rice business, he is also known by a nickname Aripranchi, and this pains him.
So, he makes serious efforts to get rid of the nickname -- and his efforts include diversifying into other businesses and supporting worthy charitable causes. But, as fate would have it, the nickname that has troubled him since school days, never leaves him.
What works for the narrative of this film is the simple humor, which is continued till the fag end of the film.
The film depends heavily on Mammootty's histrionic skills to be convincing and it works. It is this effortless and natural performance that gives Pranchiyettan the lifeblood.
Mammootty as an actor has resorted to slapstick comedy to prove his credentials too, but in this film it is quite different -- the middle aged character that he plays here possesses a natural sense of humor and does not require any help in the form of slapstick situations.
On the whole, the success of Pranchiyettan and the Saint rests on the shoulders of Mammootty and Ranjith.
Ranjith(writer & director) is among the few film-makers in Malayalam film industry, who tries to do something unconventional. He has such films like Nandanam, Thirakatha, Paleri Mankiyam to his credit. Ranjith has created such a brilliant tale and narrated it almost flawlessly and quite stylishly that makes the film, a far cry from the usual, mediocre and clichéd stuffs that has been ruling the roost at the box office lately (a few exceptions of course). The humor here is simple and brilliant. Mamooty has breathed life in to Pranchiyettan. He literally lived as Pranchiyettan in every frame. Mamooty has been getting quite a few experimental roles lately (Kuttyshrank, Paleri Manikyam and this film). This is, in my opinion, one of those movies where his excellent acting skills have been really put to use. He has handled comedy so naturally rather than overdoing it like in Thuruppugulan. A few friends of mine, complained about the way he handled 'Thrissur' accent. But I've no such complaints as I was too busy enjoying the film. Priyamani makes a brief entrance as 'Padmasree' an artist, in the story who is another love interest of Pranchi. This part in the movie could've been a tad longer in my opinion, as the exit of the Padmasree from the story, lacked the intended punch (on me. I don't know about others). Master Ganapathy plays Pauli, a rebellious but intelligent kid whom Pranchi meets in the later parts of the film. (I am not going to reveal much about the role). The Saint is played by an Australian theater artist and I liked him. He was much better than the other foreign artists that show up in most other Malayalam films. Innocent plays Menon a close friend of Pranchi who gives the ideas to Pranchi to get famous. Everybody has done a nice job in the film.
The movie explores or at least touches superficially on a lot of things, which I noticed and which I don't think I am matured to enough to say. I am talking about humans & human relationships. This is so far the best film I've seen this year. In my opinion it will be future classic.
The story telling is some thing that one would find remarkable in the movie. The feats of the so called Mammootty character 'Pranji Yettan' is depicted very skillfully and meticulously. He thrives for the respect and recognition that he always wanted. He tries to become a better man but still no one seems to take his seriously. The manages to become a helper of the needy in spite of being a wealthy person. How his friends try to become a well know personality is the crux of the story.
The Thrissur slang has been used very cleverly in the movie and manages to chuckle the audience. Though not used very dramatically it stands out as the best feature of the film. Innocent, Tiny Tom, Siddique, Jagathy and Khusboo play their roles to the at most of perfection not to mention how great Mammootty was.
I would give it a 8 out of 10 for entertainment.
Mammootty as Pranchiyettan realizes that the Thrissur dialect (which he delivers to perfection) is not the only thing that would make this character a real challenge for the artist in him. The actor plays Pranchiyettan as if he were born to do it, and the personal details that he adds to his marvelous performance makes it one of the most profound ones in his illustrious career.
Ranjith manages a unique mix of satire and comedy in 'Pranchiyettan and the Saint' and it's a tight rope walk indeed for the director to juggle between fantasy and reality. In doing so he brings down heaven as close to earth and opens up a new universe before us where God and man beautifully blend into one. This is a must-watch folks. Just make sure you do not miss out on this one.