'Theeppori Benny' directed by Raajesh Mohan and Joji Thomas, with Arjun Ashokan, Jagadish, and Femina George in the lead, is a quaint village story with politics as its backdrop. Arjun Ashokan plays Benny, an aspiring government job aspirant who resents his communist father, Chettayi (Jagadish), for what he sees as wasteful party activities and societal contributions. For those acquainted with the movie 'Vellimoonga,' it's quite evident that 'Theeppori Benny' has taken a generous dose of inspiration from it right down to using the same house as the protagonist's.
The irony lies in the fact that such a film must either hilariously surpass the expectations and standards set by 'Vellimoonga' through sheer audacity or fully embrace its imitation, making it a delightful tongue-in-cheek experience.
Unlike Paappachan from 'Vellimoonga,' who is portrayed as power-hungry and cunning, Benny also harbours his hidden motives behind his acts of social service. While Biju Menon skillfully injected humour into Paappachan's character, Benny lacks those distinguishing qualities that could elevate him to the status of a true hero.
In recent times, we've witnessed attempts like 'Pappachan Olivilaanu' to emulate the essence of 'Vellimoonga,' but sadly, they stumbled along the way, failing to capture the same charm.
One aspect of the movie that offered the potential for deeper exploration is the evolving relationship between Arjun Ashokan and Jagadeesh's characters. In the initial half, Benny is depicted as someone who barely exchanges words with his father, lamenting about the adversities he endured due to him. However, in the latter half, this conflict appears to fade away, leaving the audience with a transformed Benny, where the earlier emphasized trauma seems to lose its significance. The film also presents Jagadeesh as a former fiery Communist leader whose integrity prevented him from climbing higher ranks. As the movie unfolds, various characters hint at Chettayi's illustrious past and the remarkable deeds he accomplished. This builds anticipation among the audience, expecting a deeper exploration of his character or glimpses into his past achievements. However, the film disappointingly leaves this aspect unexplored.
While Arjun Ashokan and Femina have certainly delivered commendable performances, it's Jagadish who undeniably steers the movie forward. His portrayal of a serious yet composed and benevolent character is a delight to watch. Jagadish effortlessly captivates the audience with his convincing acting. But probably he serves as the only main factor that makes the movie above average. Arjun Ashokan graces the screen in nearly every scene, yet regrettably, his character arc remains underdeveloped throughout the movie.
The film does incorporate subtle moments of humour, albeit not strong enough to evoke hearty laughter from the audience. Unfortunately, the movie's climax tends to follow a rather clichéd path, where a slight political agenda becomes prominent, culminating in a dialogue delivered by Arjun Ashokan that ties things together.
For those seeking a lighthearted and entertaining cinematic experience, 'Theeppori Benny' offers a worthwhile trip to the theatre.