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Poovan review: This Antony Varghese-starrer is a hodgepodge comedy-drama that fizzles out fast

The makers of Poovan try to expand on subplots, but none of them are given the due importance to warrant the audience’s attention

2.5/5rating
  • Sanjith Sidhardhan

Last Updated: 08.44 AM, Jan 20, 2023

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Story: In a span of one year, Hari’s life turns topsy-turvy. His sister elopes with Kannan, whom he doesn’t approve of, his efforts to salvage the relationship with his brother-in-law further drives a wedge into it and he just can’t connect with his girlfriend. Hari blames a ‘godsend’ rooster that arrived next door for his sleepless nights and everything that goes wrong in his life and the neighbourhood.

Review: Ever since director Girish AD’s Thaneer Mathan Dinangal became a massive success, movies that have focused on telling a story along with those around the central protagonists have become popular. Jo & Jo, Super Sharanya, Pathrosinte Padappukal and Visudha Mejo all feel like off-shoots of the Girish AD universe. While some have worked, it could be argued that the charm of this world, where every background character has something to add to the plot or the experience, has been wearing off. Poovan, which is helmed by actor-turned-filmmaker Vineeth Vasudevan, tries to once again showcase a slice from the world but with mixed results.

Antony Varghese in a still from Poovan
Antony Varghese in a still from Poovan

The comedy-drama, which revolves around a neighbourhood and three families in particular, almost feels like a Sathyan Anthikad film from the 80s. Here every character is part of a subplot and in fact, there’s so many of them – from a sister who eloped and got married, a do-gooder neighbour who falls in love with a girl 12 years younger, to a group of friends who seem to have lost connection with their friend – that the main arc is given far less importance.

The central thread, we’d assume given that the film has Antony Varghese who gets slightly more screentime than the others, revolves around a youngster named Hari who has to confront a series of challenges at home but can’t because he has sleepless nights, courtesy the rooster next door. After his love life also falls apart, Hari finally decides to take action. Poovan’s writer, actor Varun Dhara, seems to have been aware that this thread too would have so much to offer that it would probably have made for a 40-minute short film at best. So, he tries to expand on the other subplots and what happens is that none of them are given the due importance to warrant the audience’s attention. The threads themselves show spark because of the actors in them, but they soon fizzle out because the filmmaker swaps to the next sub plot.

Antony Varghese in Poovan's poster
Antony Varghese in Poovan's poster

For instance, the thread of Hari’s brother-in-law Kannan, essayed by director Vineeth, evolves as a series of misunderstandings that lands him in a soup. But it’s never really tied together and we get small snippets of how he makes peace with his wife’s family. Sajin Cherukayil’s character might not be the best example when it comes to winning a girl’s heart – especially when she has rejected his advances thrice and finally succumbs because those around her tell her it’s the right decision. The arc with the rooster, after a point of time, does get frustrating, and the ending too isn’t quite rewarding.

That said, Vineeth does get to show his potential as a filmmaker. There are sparks in how he has put together this hodgepodge of a script and make it watchable. The opening sequence is a commendable effort from the debutant director as it establishes the characters and the world, though it doesn't quite make use of it further. The supporting cast, which consists of relative newcomers, also do their parts well. However, some of the characters, especially that of Vineeth Vishwam and Varun Dhara feel incomplete. Sajith Purushan’s cinematography also gets brownie points for keeping it lively.

Verdict: Poovan has a few sparks of humour but otherwise, it feels like another chapter from the Girish AD universe that has begun to lose its novelty.

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