Velipadinte Pusthakam cast: Mohanlal, Anoop Menon, Anna Rajan, Siddique, Salim Kumar
Velipadinte Pusthakam: Lal Jose
Velipadinte Pusthakam star rating: 2 stars
Velipadinte Pusthakam is the output of Malayalam cinema’s most-awaited collaboration between renowned director Lal Jose and superstar Mohanlal. The teaser and the posters of the film showed Mohanlal in two different avatars sparking several fan theories.
Lal Jose’s writing has packed in many surprises that deviate from conclusions one may have arrived based on the promos of the film. To that end, the director deserves a pat on the back. But, the director comes up drastically short on impressing us any further.
Premraj, played by Salim Khan, is a biased vice principal, who gets suspended after falling into the trap set by a section of students at Phoenix College, located in a coastal area. After a customary campus song, Michael Idikkula (Mohanlal) peddles his way to college popping a wheelie on his bicycle without breaking a sweat to clear a hurdle set by some unruly students. Also, don’t miss the punchline after a gravity-defying stunt scene.
Michael is a playful and humble man. He solves everyone’s problem before even his help is sought. The two sections of the students, who behaved like sworn-enemies with each other before the arrival of Michael, put aside their differences and become comrades without any strong reasons. It shows Lal Jose has conveniently circumvented the characters and conflicts he created to reach the end line. This snaps the emotional connect of the audience with the story and its characters.
Michael suggests the college management to make a commercial feature film with the students and the staff in the cast and crew to raise a fund to build the long-overdue college hostel. Filmmaker Vijay Babu comes forward to bankroll the project, which is a biopic on a local rowdy Viswan, played by Anoop Menon.
Viswan was instrumental in establishing Phoenix College. And later gets killed in a personal rivalry. The film shooting unravels many truths leading up to Viswan’s murder.
Michael has a sort of phycological condition that is revealed at the end. And it feels like the director did not explore this challenge of the character well.
Michael’s character does not challenge the actor in Mohanlal. He can perform this role in his sleep. Salim Khan makes a mark with his comedy, but his role suffers due to inadequate writing.
Velipadinte Pusthakam has its moments but it doesn’t give us enough reasons to sit through this 157 minutes of drama.