In his Onam release, Thirakkadha, writer-director Ranjith tries to show the aspirations, the humiliations and the torment that is experienced by the creator of tales.
We may be familiar with the film-in-film format that spoofs the big names in the industry or the struggle of a newcomer to find his place in the sun. But we rarely find the creative process of a successful filmmaker combined with these two.
Akbar Ahmed (Prithviraj) is a young filmmaker who has tasted success with his debut film. So, obviously producers flock around him seeking his commitment do his next film with them. Akbar is in no hurry to jump into his next project unless he gets a solid story to transpose onto the celluloid. Meanwhile, he is happy to run an exotic coffee shop Casablanca in partnership with a bunch of his friends.
Things change when Akbar meets superstar Ajay Chandran (Anup Menon) in the hundredth day celebration of his film. Ajay's reign has continued for more than twenty five years. It strikes Akbar that Ajay's former wife and actress Malavika (Priyamani) has vanished into oblivion. Akbar plans to write a script about the romance between Ajay and Malavika and her subsequent disappearance.
He gathers information that is supposed to be the common knowledge and a part of filmy lore. Akbar then gets the diaries and letters of cinematographer-turned-director Abby Kuruvilla (Ranjith himself), who had been with them from their first film together and had unintentionally played Cupid's role in their love story.
The rest of the film goes on to show how Ajay tries to prevent Akbar from making the movie using his clout and the shocking fact about Malavika's life.
Ranjith might have made this film on a whim to show that the old guard is refusing to give breathing space to the new generation in the industry. He does it beautifully by giving us easily identifiable characters from real life.
First and foremost Thirakkadha belongs to Ranjith as he has his finger print in every department.
Priyamani is right up there with Ranjith as she handles a spectrum of emotions; from effervescent to outright gloomy with ease.
The famed intensity of Prithviraj looks natural and effortless here, he seems quite self-assured.
Anup Menon is the surprise package; handling a role that could have looked as poor mimicry if done with excessive effort.
All the other actors, whether it is Nishant Sagar or Samvrutha are there to fill the empty spaces in the frame.
It is exciting to see Ranjith bounce back to form with his best effort so far.