Jacobinte Swargarajyam (JSR for short)

Jacobinte Swargarajam, JSR for short, translates to Jacob’s Kingdom of Heaven. The story, set in Dubai, closely relates to real events in the life of Jacob Zachariah and his family who are close friends with director Vineeth Srinivasan.

Given this background, the film is the story of a large family. Even though the word large is an exaggeration, Jacob (Ranji Panicker) and his wife Sherly (Lakshmy Ramakrishna) has 4 kids, Jerry (Nivin Pauly), Abin (Sreenath Bhasi), Ammu & Chris. Each member has a part to play. If you ask whose film is this, it is all of theirs. It is a Nivin Pauly film, so is a Ranji Panickar film, so is a Lakshmi Ramakrishnan film.

Periodic in a way, the film shows the sutures and the ruptures in a family during an extended bad patch they face.

Oru Vadakkan Selfie

Verdict: If you can survive the first half, then the film becomes nicely tied up, scripted, well acted, who-dunit of a second half. But one needs to survive the first half which is a pain

Oru Vadakkan Selfie as the name suggests revolves around a selfie.. the mention of a selfie brings in the use of the smart phone and as a result FB. It strings on to the subject of online friendships, virtual friends, relationships.. these are the key ideas of the film. However, the film is not preachy about how to use the internet.. its good and its bad.. it presents a situation, a situation anyone can get into.. however, how it is taken forward in the second half is the real deal. Ya! but one needs to survive the first half.. a first half of some crass slapstick comedy, some cheap humour, some major over acting..

The director G Prajith and the script by Vineeth has tried to extract the humour the character Krishnan PP uff our Kuttetan of Bangalore Days brought out in Nivin Pauly. But that is where it exactly fails.. his humour almost becomes a joke.. and one wonders, he was too well directed by Anjanli Menon in his earlier super hit film. I have grown to be a fan of this man’s acting… from Arikil Oral to Bangalore Days ..

Aju Varghese brings to the film the role of a Jagathy.. but calling him Jagathy is going a little far too much.. It leaves a bad taste, in Malayalam as we say, it becomes Vallippu….Vineeth Srinivasn does really well… loved him, his voice, gesture, posture.. everything about him in this film..

Manjima who is the new face here has a start, but not the kind of a heroine’s start .. but we as an audience has known her for many of her roles as a child artist of which one of her lines from the film Priyam echoes almost all the time the naughty innocence she exuded during those years.

Then there is Narayan Kutty of Sapthamashree Taskaraha.. I always call him that after that film.. Neeraj Madhav is a treat, especially if you have seen this latter film recently, this role is a contradiction to the one in the Selfie.. he had a tiny but significant role in Memories. I used to confuse him with Sreenath Bhasi until Taskaraha.. Incidently, he is also the choreographer of the film.

Oru Vadakkan Selfie is not the regular Malayalam film. It seems to be post modern in the ways in which some of the songs are shots, lyrics are written.. and in its the self reflections.. be ready for surprises, it starts off as a boy gang film, changes track to a romantic comedy somewhere along the way and turns into a whodunit road film towards the end.. For me the second half worked well, if not for the person I went with to watch the film, I would have walked out during the interval.. but then, I wished the last scene was not added as well, which brings back the not so good memories of the first half.

A literal translation of the title is one north/northern selfie..  but then the essence of it goes off.. it is more useful and more apt to translate the title as “A Thallassery Selfie..” which gets together every idea of a vadukkan selfie..  Thallassery is a place in Kannur district on the Malabar Coast in the northern part of Kerala, it also is the locale of the film, hence the ‘north’ or the vadakkan in the title..

Picture: Google Images