What's humour? How is it different from a joke, irony, banter, sarcasm, comedy, wit or any other comical expressions that can make you laugh? Or, is it the amusing element common to all such fun-generating contexts? When you watch Jayaraj's 'Haasyam' (humour), that is exactly what you search for in the whole movie. And you get the answer by the end.
Exploring the eighth theme in his Navarasa series, Jayaraj, unlike his previous outings, makes his narrative fast-paced and wavy. The premise is vibrant, the dialogues are realistic and the characters are simple fellow beings next door.
The aesthetics are subtly blended into the narrative that they boil down to the plot line and don't come away unless you deliberately pull them apart.
The glimmer in the opening scene which slowly reveals itself to be a railway track, the recurring rhythmic beats of the iron wheels against the rail tracks, the long, stretched-out prayer hymns, the ambiance voices and sounds are a few examples employed in a classy pattern.
'Haasyam' is the story of Benjamin, an agent who supplies cadavers to medical college students. He lives with his simpleton wife and three children. The profession must have turned him numb to deaths and dead bodies, which are just the means to hit jackpot, that he even desperately waits for the death of his aged father, played by Vavachan. But that never robs him of his filial affection.
The humour may be less apparent in scenes, dialogues or characters. It's depicted in the sarcasm and irony played out by fate. There is humour in the hide-and-seek revelry between life and death and the uncertainties it churns out. The callous humour, like the desolate rail tracks that run deep into the dark tunnel, depicts the coexistence of despair and hope; life and death. And of course, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
There is no better way to demonstrate this duality, than the climax scene that Jayaraj has so dexterously weaved out.
While Harisree Ashokan has brilliantly translated the essence of the character Benjamin, Ullas Pandalam essayed the role with elan as the ambulance driver. Apart from playing a second fiddle to the protagonist, he has made a crucial moment memorable through a stupendous piece of performance. Sabitha Jayaraj has also convincingly played the happy subaltern middle-class homemaker aspiring for a better life.
Nazeer Sankranti, KPAC Leela, Shyny Sara, and Kottayam Padmakumar among others showcase remarkable performances. Camera by Vinod Illampally has been exceptional and so is Varun Krishna's music.
'Haasyam' has layers of deep connotations of life, people, fate, ambition and social norms, portrayed in a humorous and lighter vein.