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Prem Nazir is a talented actor but it took him a while to establish himself as an actor. If he didn't get the Mythological films, C.I.D(1955), Mariyakkutti(1957), and a few other hit films to act in, his career would've gone downhill. After the debacle of Marumakal(1952), Nazeer got films like Vishappinte Vili(1952), Rest House(1969), the much hyped up Achan(1954) but all of these films flopped at the box office.
Rest House was his 1969 film and it was actually sort of a C Grade film which was a James Bond Rip Off. The film is about India's greatest detective Mr.Raghu who has to solve one of his toughest cases ever, the case is of a fugitive named Red Dragon. This guy is some kind of random Thai looking villain who kidnaps kids. He wants a lot of money and his way of making money is kidnapping innocent children. He needs money because to revive his businesses that were destroyed thanks to Mr. Raghu. The rest of the film is how Mr. Raghu solves the case and saves the children from the clutches of Red Dragon.
Direction by Shashikumar is crass, he fails to connect the movie properly. Yes the movie has a flow but it is not a proper one, random action scenes is how the movie starts. Some random sensuous songs are what follow and then all the explaining happens. The movie has a poor start but the follow up is somewhat decent. Red Dragon look like a mastermind and his character is well built but his master plans are delayed thanks to some boring romance and stupid comedy in the first bits of the film. The second half is when the movie picks up, the movie's main plot thickens and the action helps build the movie. However, the end is stretched and the final few scenes are prolonged. The main tempo of the film is present in the first half but is poorly edited and scripted in the first half. The film awfully drags in the first half of the film and why the police can't make a move on the Dragon is a stupid thing. They have an overpowered agent like Raghu so why can't they have him sneak up on Dragon and free the children. Instead of this, the film drags with forced songs, forced comedy, and forced action that finally get's back on track when the movie shifts to Thamilnad. Prem Nazir in his earlier days was OK, his action is good but his voice modulation was bad. He was dubbed in a few scenes but that doesn't make his act completely wasted. He does contribute to some good moments, the intelligent confrontation with Daaga is will handled at the beginning(the only decent part from the first half of the film). His expressions are decent but he tends to overact in parts. Sheeia is a lousy heroine, she looks like a bad cousin of Kuriyedathu Thathri. She tries to look good but that's all she tries to do, she doesn't succeed in acting nor looking beautiful. The other comedy actress just looks good in the songs but knows very little acting. Paravoor Bharathan does good as the Red Dragon but overdoes it as Daaga. He tends to badly overact as Daaga and his death scene as Daaga is hilarious. However, as Red Dragon he is awesome.
Songs are done to death, most of them try to attempt a James Bond theme with girls all around Mr. Raghu. None of the songs are good, they all sound the same. Despite having veteran artists like C.O Anto present, none of the songs are worth listening.
On the whole, Rest House is a below average James Bond rip off film. It tries to be a thriller but ends up being a badly made one, the action is good but the story and the editing is poor. It is clearly lifted off a Bond film or a professional English film but, the film fails to make good use of the inspired story and ends up being a crap film. I would only recommend this film to die hard Prem Nazeer fans, but other's this is not even a decent one time watch. Being an Prem Nazir fan, I didn't mind watching it but this is one of Nazeer's weaker films.
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