Paresh C Palicha reviews the Malayalam movie Four Friends.
Once in a while there comes a movie that tries to make the viewer believe that it is dealing with a profound subject in the garb of an out and out entertainer. The attempt maybe successful once in a while but most of the time it falls flat and ends up as neither thought provoking nor entertaining.
Which is what happens to Four Friends directed by Saji Surendran (who earlier tasted exceptional success at the box office with his previous two films) and starring Jayaram, Jayasurya, Kunchacko Boban and Meera Jasmine.
This film supposedly tells the story of a unique quartet -- how they met and became inseparable friends. The three men tell their tale while sitting at the Kochi International airport where they wait for their fourth friend to join them. They are waiting for a flight to Malaysia.
We get to hear from Aamir (Jayasurya) first. He is a street thug who does everything from selling film tickets in black to beating up someone for money. Next is Soorya (Kunchacko Boban), a guitar wielding college student with spunky gold coloured hair followed by Roy Mathew (Jayaram), a helicopter hopping business tycoon who aims to earn Rs 500 crore a month from the Middle East alone. Goury (Meera Jasmine) is angry with the world at large because she had a deprived childhood with a stepmother being the incarnation of the devil who shipped her off to boarding school. There's more trouble heading her way when she is diagnosed with cancer while pursuing her MBBS.
You may wonder what is common among them, how they became such thick friends and why are they heading for Malaysia. We know soon enough. The four became acquainted with each other at a speciality hospital for terminally ill cancer patients run by Dr Nandagopal (K B Ganesh Kumar). It is another matter that the hospital looks like a swanky tourist resort situated near the famed backwaters of Kerala.
By now, you must have guessed what links the four together. As for Malaysia, it is the place where they want to fulfill their dying wishes. Soorya wants to meet his former girlfriend (who was exiled to Malaysia when their affair became public) and gift his guitar to her as promised. Aamir wants to meet his idol Kamal Haasan while Goury wants to see the world which she had promised her birth mother she would do. All the wishes are being sponsored by the golden hearted Roy.
The much talked about cameo by Kamal Haasan happens during the middle of the story. He sermonises on some existential lessons by listing some of most famous people who died young and his own association with cancer and even mentions Sreevidya and Gouthami.
The story is loud and melodramatic. What jars even more is the frivolity with which cancer is treated. There is mention of words like chemotherapy, radiation, hair loss etc. but, the severity of it is never shown. All actors display gym toned bodies with makeup intact even in the most desperate of times.
The basic thread of the film is taken from the Hollywood film The Bucket List starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. But the comparison ends there. Four Friends is melodramatic and far from reality.