Family entertainers, an age old success formula of mainstream Malayalam cinema, is always a safe bet in this industry as movie makers over the years have used Malayali’s sentiments for family attachments to great successes on screen. Vineeth Srinivasan, on his fourth directorial venture ‘Jacobinte Swargarajyam’, has woven this old formula into a refreshing cinematic experience, showing discipline while handling dramatic situations in the movie.
The movie, based on a true story, follows the life of an NRI businessman, Jacob, and his family who are settled in Dubai and visualises how closely knit family relations stick together at times of crisis. The director has used his observations to good effect as the strong relationship bonds inside Jacob’s family members and their informal homely behaviour was captured with shots that impart warmth and positive vibes, like the feel of an early morning coffee.
Renji Panicker dons the title role of Jacob, a righteous business enterprenuer and an ideal family man, while Lekshmi Ramakrishnan portrays the powerful role of Jacob’s wife Sherlyn, a lion hearted woman. Nivin Pauly, other lead actor of the movie, essays the role of Jacob’s elder son Jerry while Sreenath Bhasi, Aima Sebastian and Stacen play Jacob and Sherly’s other kids, Abin, Ammu, and Chris, respectively.
The growth in Vineeth Sreenivasan’s direction skills are reflected on his characters as each of them have an identity and importance in the movie. The entire cast of the movie do justice to their roles and debut actor Ashwin Kumar needs a special mention for his imposing screen presence as Murali Menon, a rude businessman.
The movie gradually progresses into more captivating situations with effects of global economic recession prompting an ungraceful fall of Jacob and his family from their financially secured happy lives to survival struggles of an ordinary human. It is at this point that Jerry, with the support of his clear headed mother, steps up in life and starts everything again from scratch to sustain their family, which forms the crux of the movie.
By glorifying the economic and infrastructural development of Dubai and simultaneously ridiculing Kerala’s pot holed roads, Vineeth Sreenivasan, the scriptwriter, seems to have ignored how the blind notions of profit motive development and corporatisation of natural resources is wrecking our natural ecosystem worldwide.
On the other hand, being cautious to avoid many scenes in the movie from slipping into over dramatic clichés, he is without doubt improving as a director with every movie. The editing team also needs to be appreciated for their crisp interventions between shots of emotional intensity, thus allowing a smooth flow to the move. The songs of the movie, composed by Shan Rehman, might not make imprints on the heart, but the movie just might.