'Philip's': A hackneyed theme made engrossing by performances | Review

Mukesh plays the lead in the movie Philips. Photo: IMDB

'Philip's', directed by Alfred Kurian Joseph, is a simple and light-hearted tale tailored with bits of instances drawn from stories and real-life incidents. The not-so-unknown saga against the slick Bengaluru backdrop is laced with dollops of comical interludes. While the humour fizzles out, the poignant part of the story stands class apart and would take you to a passionate and vehement ride.

The apartment where Philip Abraham and his three children live is a noisy haven that houses a strange mix of warmth, filial affection, sibling rivalry and parental anxieties. The narrative begins with relevant antecedents stretched behind. Some unfortunate incidents in the past have forced Philip to take care of his kids and made him phobic to driving a car. The family is now going through a purple patch when something devastating happens and throws their lives haywire. How Philip and his kids struggle to recoup and fall back on track form the plot line of the movie.

Each of the characters is well-defined. While Philip is an impulsive, adamant, and eternally restless father, his eldest son Basil Philip seems to be a calm and sensible human on whose shoulders rest Philips’ world. His second child, Bessy, is not an angel with all virtues rolled into one, but a mischievous teenager who is adept at furtively carrying out her skulduggery under the nose of others.

She and her younger sister Bitty, a comparatively silent child and a chess enthusiast, are diametrically opposite characters. And, the two are at loggerheads. All the same, deep inside, Blessy has a heart of gold and eventually undergoes a phase of realisation and transformation.

What stands class apart in this film is the characterisation. Each of the characters displays an engrossing arc. While Mukesh showcases a moderate performance, at times he goes overboard in his funny theatrics, though. And a balancing act is done by the three actors, Noble Babu Thomas as Basil; Navani Devanand as Blessy, and Quinn Vipin as Bitty. Navani’s performance has a brilliance that is somewhat akin to that of Anaswara Rajan in Udaharanam Sujatha. Quinn is equally mind-blowing.

It was heartwarming to witness Innocent (as Mani) in a movie after a long time and the film rightly pays tribute to the master comedian before the end credits roll up.

While Hesham Abdul Wahab’s music elevated the mood of the dense moments, Jaison Jacob John captured the drama with all its joyous and stunning hues. Meanwhile, Nidhin Raj Arol's dextrous editing ensured a smooth and seamless flow of the movie, written by Mathukutty Xavier, Alfred Kurian Joseph.

While the fun part of the movie, except for a few one-liners delivered by the two daughter characters, is ludicrously grotesque, the serious sequences are engrossing and nuanced. It could be a deliberate attempt on part of the makers to keep the movie largely funny to hold it from slipping into an excruciatingly serious mode. But in doing so, the drama lost the gravity and class it could have mustered.

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