Iyobinte Pusthakam is a visual extravaganza where director Amal Neerad's technical skills and the brilliance of the ensemble cast win the day, says Paresh C Palicha.
Director Amal Neerad’s new film Iyobinte Pusthakam, is a historical film, spanning the period from the pre-independence era till the day emergency was imposed in 1975.
The story is set in a verdant tea garden in Munnar owned by a brown saheb called Job (Lal). His tale is narrated by his friend (T G. Ravi), on the day that Emergency was imposed and his job is taken away by the police.
He narrates how the English found Munnar to be suitable for tea plantations in the early 1900s and how Job began working for his white boss Harrison.
Job snatched the estate after Harrison's death by ousting the latter’s mistress (Lena) from the property. He was as atrocious as the Britishers when it came to dealing with the labourers and was the virtual king of the area.
Two of his elder sons, Dimitri (Chemban Vinod Jose) and Ivan (Jinu Joseph), have inherited their father's traits and temperament, but his third son, Aloshi (Fahadh Fassil), turns out to be soft, like his mother and runs away from home as a child. He later gets involved in the Navel Mutiny of 1946.
The important part of the film starts with Aloshi’s return home. He takes up cudgels against his brothers. He has an affair with Martha (Isha Sharvani) who is the daughter of the mistress.
The script by Gopan Chidambaram weaves in the historical and social events of the time but the emphasis is on the director's style rather than the content.
Dialogues written by Syam Pushkaran and rendered in clipped accents sound artificial.
The technical side of the film is a sure winner. The camera work, handled by the director himself, is excellent. There is lushness in the scenes that show the natural beauty of the place and also in the macabre action sequences.
The acting contributes immensely to the appeal of the film. We have seen Fahadh Fassil can be intense but he takes his intensity to a different plane altogether here.
Chemban Vinod has been on a roll in the last few months with pivotal roles in Saptamasree Taskaraha and Tamaar Padaar. Here he plays an abusive husband to Rahel (Padmapriya) and does so menacingly.
Jayasurya is the main bad guy, Angoor Rawther, the ever-smiling assassin. The rest of the ensemble cast play their parts well.
Iyobinte Pusthakam is a visual extravaganza where director Amal Neerad's technical skills and the brilliance of the ensemble cast win the day.