Parole is a grand old wine in a grand old bottle. There is nothing new about anything in this film, writes Deepa Antony.
Based in Adivaram, the film spans across Saghav Alex's life - of how he becomes Mesthiri Alex in at Poojapura Central Jail from Saghav Alex from Adivaram. Parole is his story that starts with his father, and then proceeds with him and to his son. Alex' father (Alencier) was the founder of the Marxist movement at Adivaram. And following his footsteps Alex is the do-good Messiah who puts his life on the line for his loved ones (where have I heard this story before!) He is in jail for a crime he hasn't committed. After serving 8 years in prison he wants to come out in parole to see his son. How his parole turns out forms the crux of the film.
Parole is many story angles rolled into one. It starts by singing paeans for the Marxist movement in Idukki. And then promptly the the film forgets the communist movement altogether. It then moves into a family drama. And after the first half it story turns into an investigation with Saghav Alex (Mammootty) turning into the detective.
Parole is said to be based on a true story. It is penned by Ajith Poojapura who was the jailer at Poojappura Central Jail for a while. However this spread-out narration of Alex's story is somewhat confusing to the audience.
This is probably where ad filmmaker-turned-director Sharrath Sandith lost his grip on his film. While is story is predictable at large the linear narration makes it all the more bland. Couples of action sequences have been added in foresight to please the Megastar’s fans. This would have been pardonable if it had some relevance to the central storyline. But no, that’s a lot to ask for. At one point in the Central Jail the entire jail, the prisoners et al, erupts into a song and dance routine to celebrate Alex’s parole. Pardon me, but that whole song stood out like a sour thumb! Did the ex-jailer write it into his script or did the ad film-maker-turned-director take this creative liberty? In any case, what were they thinking?
The eye batting romance between Iniya and Mammootty is cringe worthy. I understand the challenge in giving lovelorn looks to someone who's less than half your age- but in a film it's frankly unpardonable. This is where we need to address the elephant in the room. Mammootty is a brilliant actor, but notwithstanding he simply has to act his age because frankly he doesn't look 20-30 anymore. Neither makeup nor action scenes can change that fact. Mr. Dependable, Siddique is as usual his brilliant self. Mia and Suraj Venjaramood are convincing in their roles.
Loganathan Srinivasan works up his camera to capture the scenic Adivaram in its beauty. His frames even make the otherwise dreary Central Jail look majestic.
Parole is for fans of Mammootty, the megastar and not for the fans of Mammootty the actor. With a neat trim and a tauter script Parole could have been something else. But you won’t be missing much if you sit this one out.
reviewed byDeepa Antony
16 Apr 2018 | 06:50 PM
- directed by
- Sharrath Sandith