Cast: Askar Ali, Aditi Ravi, Parvathy Arun, Sudheer Karamana, Vishak Nair
Director: Arun Vaiga
What does a Chemparathipoo (hibiscus flower) have to do as the title of a film? Everything, it seems! The flower signifies the start and demise of the hero’s romance. Chemparathipoo is at best a poor imitation of Alphone Puthren’s Premam with none of the passion, action or boldness Nivin Pauly’s character displayed. The film goes through three stages of Vinod’s life, played by Asif Ali’s brother Askar Ali, and a large amount of screen space is devoted to the mushy romance that unfolds when he was in school and later, in his 20s.
Some of the viewers will definitely not be able to identify with a romance that depends to a large extent on land phone calls, letters and furtive glances exchanged between the lovers. In an era where romances bloom and end on the internet highway, this film may take us to a time when mobiles were non-existent and friends and land phones were the official ‘hamsams’ (messengers).
Director Arun Vaiga justifies this obsession for the land phone by setting up the story in a sleepy but beautiful village in a rustic ambience where people travel to work on boats and it perpetually rains.
Vinod is a wannabe director, and the film starts off with a flashback where he bids goodbye to his school crush at a station. The story goes on to show his utter desolation and acute heartbreak. His friends bring him back from the brink of despair only for Vinod to go fall in love with another girl on a rainy day in a boat. What follows is him stalking her every day, trying to find out her name and at long last, expressing his love through a letter— all very mushy! Neena Jacob is played by newcomer Parvathy Arun.
Religious differences aside, when the sailing becomes smooth for the lovers, his school crush Diya (played by Aditi Ravi) enters Vinod’s memories yet again goaded by his school friend Mathew played by Aju Varghese. Egged on by Mathew, he visits Diya at her home only to be caught in a dilemma between his two loves. Also this forms the script for Vinod’s film.
The pace of the film is very slow and what could have been shown in under an hour has been stretched to over two hours. The first half is devoted to Vinod’s second love and the second half to his first love. Unnecessary songs do nothing for the movie. Aju playing a school kid is stretching things too far.
Coming to performances, Askar has done a very decent job playing three stages. He is aided ably by Vishak Nair and the heroines too have performed well. The climax of the film is the saving grace but is too little too late. Cinematography is good and editing could have been tauter. The script and direction are by Arun himself. See the film if you want to revisit a mushy romance.