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Duplicate takes us back to mimicry films

By Paresh C Palicha
Last updated on: September 21, 2009 14:29 IST
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Duplicate, the first Malayalam film with Suraj Venjaramoodu as the solo hero takes us back to the late eighties when every comedian worth his salt was a star. He used to lead an ensemble of supporting actors in a haphazardly weaved story that guaranteed 'a gag a minute' in a genre called 'mimicry film', until it was beaten to death in the mid-nineties.

The story is about a typical good-for-nothing Sivankutty (Suraj Venjaramoodu), neck deep in debt, and doing odd jobs to stay afloat along with his equally good-for-nothing uncle (played by Innocent), whose only aim in life seems to be to have a government-run liquor shop in his village. There are other funny characters to pad up the thin thread of a tale like the moneylender played by Bheeman Raghu with two beefed up goons following him, his half cracked ex-military uncle portrayed by Lalu Alex, and his daughter Meenakshi (Roopasri), who is also Sivankutty's childhood sweetheart.

The film moves on the predictable lines with a mandatory twist at the half time. The lack of innovativeness in the story (credited to Joy Thomas) takes it toll as far as the performance of the actors is concerned. And, the dialogue-screenplay by Shaani Khader loses momentum after the initial push. Some of these sets give the impression that that they are made for television promos and to fill in comedy shows with the clippings.

It may be true that Suraj has become an indispensable part of Malayalam films in the recent times as he appears in mostly every film released these days. But, sitting through his antics in a full length film takes some gumption. He tries his best to prove to be a serious actor but comes out cropper.

That leaves the seasoned performers like Innocent, Salim Kumar and even Bheeman Raghu help him out, which they do with a certain degree of success.

In the final outcome, debutant director Shibu Prabhakar deserves a pat on the back for being courageous to have Suraj in the lead but, lets us down with the content.

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Paresh C Palicha