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Loud Speaker is very good

September 21, 2009 18:16 IST

One of the fast vanishing qualities in human beings living in the rural India these days is simplicity, what with rapid urbanisation and materialistic approach towards life.

Everyone is becoming an island of sorts, protecting his own space without caring for others. What happens if in such a scenario a person lands oozing rustic charm and keeping the old values intact? That is what the National award-winning director Jayaraj tries to explore in his latest Malayalam film Loud Speaker starring Mammootty and Sashi Kumar (former Chairman of Asianet and the director of Kaya Tharan).

The idea may be old but the way he presents it floors us. The charm of human bonding and staying one with nature without malice towards anyone forms the crux of this film.

Mike Philipose (Mammootty), a person with a loud booming voice from the rustic hinterland lands up in an apartment building (a symbolic representation of city life) as an organ donor for an old expatriate scientist Menon (Shashi Kumar). How he changes the lifestyle of the inhabitants of that building forms the story.

The story is laced with humour. So, the underlying pathos of the situation is glazed over by it. The area of conflict initially is the sophistication of city dwellers versus the uncouth ways of a rural migrant. The tug of war between the two forms the major chunk of the first half of the film. The building being the microcosm wealthy society: a kindergarten attending children with unbridled mischief to college students who do not have the courtesy or respect, a man who tends to a dog while the wife works in a foreign country, a warring middle-aged couple who even cook their food separately, old aged parents abandoned after they have distributed their wealth among their children.

These characters are portrayed well. Jagathy Sreekumar, the secretary of the housing society is the husband who tends to a German shepherd. Kalapana and Bheeman Raghu are the warring couple and Janardhanan is the anguished father, who has filed a case against his children to get back his property.

And, to fill the place of a leading lady, Gracy Singh is cast as a nurse attending to Menon at his home.

The first half moves breezily with mirth. The second half becomes sentimentally heavy as Menon revisits his childhood, the place from where he had run away as teenager for having an illicit affair with his cousin. This part of the narrative is a bit too slow but, considering the overall package, this can be termed as a minor glitch, and can be overlooked.

Mammootty excels in handling both humour and seriousness with elan. His performance in this film proves that he does not require to do kiddie stuff to establish his comic credentials. Here he shoulders the responsibility of entertaining a section of the audience while keeping the serious undercurrent intact.

Shashi Kumar as the vulnerable but sure-footed man needing urgent kidney transplant is believable. His voice modulation is soft but firm in contrast with that of Mike, showing off his exposure to the aristocratic world.

With Loud Speaker, Jayaraj gets back into his groove.

Rediff Rating:

Paresh C Palicha