Upacharapoorvam Gunda Jayan is a good respite from the dark, violent films we have seen in recent times, observes Divya Nair.
Upacharapoorvam Gunda Jayan was meant to be the first film to be released in the theatres under Dulquer Salman's Wayfarer Films banner.
After much delay, the film -- directed by Arun Vaiga -- released on OTT recently.
UGJ is a Malayalam comedy centred around a wedding.
Jayan (played by Saiju Kurup), a reformed goon, plans to get his elder sister's daughter married to a Dubai-based groom from an affluent family.
After trying to explain that she is in love, she reluctantly agrees to the wedding when threatened by Jayan while secretly hoping her boyfriend will rescue her.
The entire village is invited to join in the celebration and, a day prior to the wedding, a slew of interesting characters -- including relatives and neighbours -- are introduced to the plot.
Like at all Indian weddings, some have come to stir up a storm while others simply want to sit back and watch the drama.
In his 100th film, Saiju attempts to breathe life into Jayan, the serious patriarch who rarely smiles, dislikes almost everyone and, worse, has a severe case of OCD.
Then there is Saiju Wilson as Kiran, the effervescent male friend of the bride, who employs every trick in the book to ensure the wedding never happens.
Each of the characters, although predictable, add their distinct dose of humour to the situation, leading to a comedy of errors.
Hareesh Kanaran plays the impulsive cook with temper issues.
Sudheer Karamana is a retired colonel and deshbhakt who speaks Hindi and prefers only bread and chicken for dinner.
Shani Shaki, as the Singapore-based wedding photographer, brings in his own share of chuckles.
And finally, the attitude throwing groom from Dubai is the kind who would make online trolls salivate.
The events leading to the wedding are beautifully captured. From sharing bathrooms to entertaining unusual requests from guests and relatives, UGJ gets much of the emotion and chaos right.
Just like in Archana 31 Not Out, which is also centred around a wedding, UGJ provides ample gossip, comedy, drama and an unexpected twist that keeps you hooked till the climax.
All of which makes the film an enjoyable one to watch with the entire family.
It may not be a laugh riot like Punjabi House or Kalyanaraman (Sigh! they don't make films like that any more), where every scene is so distinct and memorable that, even when you watch it years later, your jaws will ache from laughing.
Having said that, UGJ is a good respite from the dark, violent films we have seen in recent times.
It's a simple, heartwarming comedy. Unfortunately, in many ways, it is also predictable.
Upacharapoorvam Gunda Jayan streams on Prime Video.