Ratheesh Balakrishnan Pothuval's directorial debut Android Kunjappan Version 5.25 heralds the arrival of post-humanist subjects to the realm of Malayalam cinema, woven with a simple and adorable tale of human relations.
In doing so, the film defies the notion that Sci-Fi is not in sync with the spirit of regional cinemas, though Android Kunjappan doesn't strictly fit that genre.
Android Kunjappan has a fresh and intriguing plot that revolves around the life of Bhaskaran, a possessive father, and his son Subrahmanian, an AI engineer.
The plot gets more interesting as a humanoid robot enters the scene as a help to the aged Bhaskaran, when his son is away.
The sequences involving Bhaskaran and the robot, whom the village calls Kunjappan, are a treat to watch with the fun and innocence overloaded into them.
Suraj Venjaramood as Bhaskaran and Soubin Shahir as Subrahmanian have excelled in their roles.
However, it's Kunjappan who steals the show with his animated moves and the quick and witty responses. On the acting front, Saiju Kurup also does a commendable job as Prasannan, who runs a teashop in the village.
Kendy Zirdo as the female lead also shines in the movie.
The rustic setting of the film works out like a tribute to the old villages that hosted a golden period of Malayalam cinema.
Wrapped up as yet another tale of human bondings, Kunjappan also tries to explore some questions as to the nature of human relationships at a time of artificial intelligence and robotic wisdom.
At times, Kunjappan rises above the follies of human thoughts and teaches Bhaskaran to be a better human being.
The trailer of the film had some glimpses of Kunjappan doing some household chores. In the film, he does much more. A robot visiting a temple, buying things from a store and attending a Theyyam festival are worth an applause.
Even though the focus is on AI and futurism, the sharp satirist in Ratheesh is at play throughout the film.
As the scriptwriter, he has managed to craft some caricature-like characters and situations suited for a rustic scenario, without affecting the flow of the movie even a bit.
The film has a large share of situational comedy. Bijibal's music makes Kunjappan all the more interesting to watch.