Ellam Sheriyakum review: Sprinkling of politics with a dash of familial bonding in a lacklustre drama

Is there an ideal recipe for a political thriller movie laced with the drama of familial ties? Malayalam filmmakers have experimented with this formula from time immemorial. Many, including I V Sasi-T Damodaran combine, did justice to experimenting with the sprinkling of politics and a dash of family drama.

In some movies, the political element will overshadow the hues of family bonding. And vice versa. Director Jibu Jacob is no newcomer to this arena, where a deft mix of the parallel tracks is a vital element in ensuring success. Coming from the palate of the director of Vellimoonga, who has also panned lingering family plots including Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol and Adhyarathri, Ellam Sheriyakum will naturally attract tight scrutiny.

The phrase 'Ellam Sheriyakum' itself is a huge political statement that scripted Left Democratic Front's return to power in Kerala five years back.

If Vellimoonga played up a local-level politician's vaulting ambitions, which he plays to perfection, Ellam Sheriyakum is its antithesis.

We do have a younger protagonist, who is more of an idealist than the Machiavellian breed of the Vellimoonga protagonist. Instead, the filmmakers here bestowed that ruthless characteristic to a much older political veteran. This was probably done to ignite the sparks that would light up the screen but some vital cogs  —  staccato dialogues and tight plots  — were missing.

Successful thrillers of this genre mostly desist from overtly mimicking the present political scenario.

But Ellam Sheriyakum mirrored recent political developments and situations with namesake changes. Or was it a conscious decision on the part of the thinking crew, visualising a direct connection of the audience? If that was the aim, the cause-and-effect scenario it throws up is not all encouraging.

Vellimoonga too had delved into some familiar political terrain, but it was woven with subtlety in its script and craft of unravelling the drama.

Satire, another vital ingredient of a political movie, is also a casualty in the case of Ellam Sheriyakum. It falls flat as the rhetoric just resonates with the present developments and politicking instead of poking fun and eliciting thought with wry humour.

Ellam Sheriyakum erred in finding a right, if not suitable, mix in the storyline, plot, characters and whatnot. There are a few songs laced with more melancholy than melody and you could even spot the composer as a character.

Siddique's casting as a veteran politician is a shoe-in, but the rest is a free-for-all scenario wherein anyone can enact any character.

A stale plot, unconvincing situations and sloppy scripting is the bane of formulaic filmmaking. Ellam Sheriyakum, roughly translated as 'everything will be all right', fails to tackle all of these common errors.

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