In the early and mid nineties, Jayaram was at the threshold of becoming a superstar in Malayalam in his own right. Then his fortunes dwindled and he virtually vanished into oblivion though he made some half-hearted efforts to regain his position in between.
Out of the nearly half a dozen films of Jayaram released in the last two years, Veruthe Oru Bharya made an impact at the box-office. It was the biggest hit of 2008.
This festive season Jayaram is back again to try his luck with Samastakeralam P O. Directed by Bipin Prabhakar and written by K Gireesh Kumar (who is also credited with writing Veruthe Oru Bharya), this film tells the story of a golden hearted Gandhian called Prabhakaran (Jayaram).
The premise is as cliched as you can imagine. Prabhakaran is a true blue blemishfree hero. The introduction scene shows Prabhakaran standing on one foot with a Gandhian cap on his head as a part of campaign against corruption in the Panchayat.
Obviously, his opponents in the form of Jagathy Sreekumar and Jagadeesh combo are rich, mighty and corrupt. Prabhakaran is looked down upon even by his own people because of his principled lifestyle and his wish to make his village into a Gandhian utopia.
Everything else about Prabhakaran is also typical of a hero we have seen in Malayalam films in the last two or three decades. He may be in neck deep in debt, but will go to any extent to help others in need (throwing practicality and logic out of the window) leaving him isolated and lonely. So, in desperation, he leaves behind all his principles and values to prove his innocence.
Also, stereotypically he has two leading ladies, in the form of Priyanka Nair and newcomer Sera. The former a village belle and the latter a city bred modern dame. He is elusive to the one who dotes on him and longs for the one that is unattainable.
The script by K Gireesh Kumar tries to propagate Gandhian values of self sufficiency and self reliance. It even shows the relevance by making a former Maoist naxalite waiting for an armed revolution (played by Prem Kumar) becoming a follower of the hero in the end.
All in all, Samastakeralam P O is an effort to make a political thriller and a social drama though it is neither.