Director: John Manthrickal
Cast: Indrans, Saiju Kurup, Sabumon, Vijay Babu, Manikandan Pattambi
The movie Janamaithri begins with a friendly telephonic conversation between a film producer and a director as the title cards roll. Although that conversation is an indirect publicity for actor-producer Vijay Babu’s latest venture Friday Film House Experiments, it is a unique start that syncs with the theme of the movie. As the plot develops, its characters Samyukthan (Saiju Kurup), SI Shibu (Indrans), Ashraf (Sabumon), Lawrence (Manikandan Pattambi), Raphel, son of Panjimoottil Mathai (Vijay Babu), and a few others foray into the screen.
As the title of the movie suggests, the story takes place on the Janamaithri Din, a day observed to reinforce the cordial relationship between the police and the public. Under SI Shibu’s guidance, officers at the Paramedu station, Kannur, organise the programme Oru Chayakku Oru Jeevan with an intention to freshen up late night drivers. Samyukthan gets the first tea, and it leads to a trouble. While trying to resolve his dilemma, other problems add up to the plot, weaving a rather satirical narrative.
For instance, it takes a dig at the mosquito menace in cities by portraying it as a solution to beat the stress and increase concentration level.
When it comes to the depiction of police officers, the movie follows the recent trend in Malayalam where police officers are shown as ordinary people with flaws. In fact, SI Shibu may remind us of the Amar Chithra Kadha character Shikari Shambhu, who is not brave but perceived so by society due to sheer luck.
Saiju Kurup excels as Samyukthan. He has beautifully used his expressive eyes to communicate the tough situation he has been forced into. Two other actors who deserve mention are Indrans and Sabumon, who make us laugh with situational comedy. The film follows more of a caricature mode of narration. However, the animated movements and dialogue delivery of the characters, especially that of Raphel and his two brothers, might feel a little disturbing and exaggerated at certain points.
Background music is another strong point of Janamaithri, which is neatly edited by Lijo Paul. The film could have gone astray as it combines different stories. But, Lijo has crisply put them together without causing any confusion. The writers — John Manthrickal, who is also its director, and James Sebastian — have done a good job by developing a two-hour long film out of a very thin subject, that too without drinking and smoking scenes. In brief, Janamaithri is a slapstick comedy that will make you laugh a lot. But, don’t use your brain much while watching it!