Upacharapoorvam Gunda Jayan review: The wedding chaos

Upacharapoorvam Gunda Jayan
Saiju Kurup plays the lead in the movie 'Upacharapoorvam Gunda Jayan'

It’s a narrative filled with laughter, surprises, and several twists and turns. The title can be deceptive as you might conjure up images of menacing Gundas and fistfights. But then nothing could be further from the truth. The story covers the events that occur at a village wedding in two days. What makes it unique is its humour layered narrative. Though everything looks fun and lighthearted from the outside, we soon realise that there is a lot more to unravel than you reckon. That’s the suspense of the film.

Saiju Kurup is the hero, and he hits a century with this film, coproduced by Dulquer Salmaan’s Wayfarer films and Sebab Anikad’s My Dream Entertainment banner. Directed by Arun Vaiga, the film is scripted by Rajesh Varma.

Saiju who made his debut 17 years ago in Hariharan’s ‘Mayookham’ is an indispensable part of Malayalam cinema today. He has aced every role given to him—be it ‘Aadu Oru Beekara Jeeviyalla’s Arackal Abu or the recently released ‘Meppadiyan’s Varkey. And Gunda Jayan can be added to the list of his memorable characters.

Jayan is an ex-Gunda who is all set to attend his niece’s wedding. Though she had a love affair, Gunda Jayan and family fix an alliance against her will. The narrative explores the various events at the wedding, which includes quirky relatives, a few comedy of errors, and other funny scenes that one can expect at such village weddings. Finally, on the wedding day, we are in for some unexpected twists and turns, including breaking some clichés associated with such narratives. There isn’t a dull moment despite being centered on a single venue. In fact, the wedding guests themselves will offer enough entertainment for the audience with their antics.

Saiju Kurup, Siju Wilson, and Sabareesh Varma play the main leads. Apart from conducting the wedding like a Karanavar, Jayan is also encountering another difficulty. But he isn’t willing to tell that to the world. Saiju is superb as Gunda Jayan who tries to smoothly run the show at the wedding. He gets able support from all the co-actors.

One of the high points of the film remains its realistic depiction of a village wedding and life. Full credit to the talented lineup of actors. You can catch a lot of new actors in the film, the majority are female actors. There are a lot of faces you might be used to seeing at such wedding venues. Other actors include Johny Antony, Gokulan, Sabu Mon, Hareesh Kanaran, Sudheer Karamana, Jaffer Idukki, Biju Sopanam, Vijilesh, Sagar Surya, Nayana, Vrindha Menon and Parvathy.

Cinematographer Eldho Issac has realistically captured the day and night scenes of a wedding. Music by Biji Bal and lyrics by Harinarayanan add to the narrative.

In short, don’t go by the title and expect something grim and dark. Prepare to enjoy a fun and lighthearted film. 

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