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Basic but entertaining. Oh, and lots to laugh over! [+61%]
The greatest achievement of (the makers of) Driving Licence could be that it took a simple premise and made an entertaining movie out of it. The central theme of an ego clash between a movie star and his fan (who is a motor inspector) may not sound utterly fresh but the writing does it a lot of good. Neither the star nor his fan is painted in strokes of black and white and that keeps proceedings very interesting. Prithviraj and Suraj play the star and the fan respectively, and the way the screenplay brings these two characters (from totally different strata) together, displays conviction.
Sachy has always been the writer who tries to balance the pure entertainment aspect in his screenplays with its sentimental and (sometimes) massy elements. As such, his efforts have often struck gold at the box office owing to their connect with mainstream audiences. Lal Jr, who only has comedy-thriller Honey Bee (and its insanely bad sequel) and psycho-thriller Hi I'm Tony to his name until now, proves he can direct straightforward entertainers as his father did in his heydays.
The casting for Driving Licence is bang on. Prithviraj, as Hareendran, displays the subtle mannerisms and demeanor of an actual movie star, while Suraj, as motor inspector Kuruvila, steps into the shoes of a fan with ease. Then there's Miya playing Elsa (Kuruvila's wife) who reminds us of Urvashi when she used to do comedies, a stupendously hilarious Saiju Kurup (this man is a state treasure; Malayalam cinema ought to be proud of how great his comedic timing is) who plays a cunning little politician, Deepti Sati as Bhama (Hareendran's loving and understanding wife), Suresh Krishna (as rival star Bhadran) who brings the house down several times, and many other well-known artists who perform well.
Though there is a fair bit of exaggeration in the screenplay once the revenge ploys get going (especially with the fan-mob mentality in the climax portions and the intrusion of media into private lives), it maintains a tight hold in the key interests of its lead duo: both want to keep their self-respect intact and not fail in their masculine duties. One's trying hard to be a good husband to his wife and the other desperately wants his son to continue to adore him. Even with its central conflict at the core, the comedy in Driving Licence is excellent. I even laughed hard when I saw the name for Major Ravi's character - Samuel Jackson. This is feel-good entertainment at its serviceable best!
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