Gold Movie Review: Imagine Alphonse Puthren – a maverick director with a cult following big enough to make him Kerala’s Zack Snyder – makes a film that has a plot in Neram mould but is given the treatment of Premam. You did? Ok, good. Now think of a product where the sum of its two parts lacks the strength of none. Nothing coming to your mind there? Ok, last question, imagine a film that you have sky-high expectations as I had with Rosshan Andrrews’ Saturday Night, but all those expectations come crashing down once the film is done with. For me, Alphonse Puthren’s comeback film, Gold, is the answer for all the three imagined questions! Gold Movie Review: Prithviraj Sukumaran and Nayanthara’s Malayalam Film Garners Mixed Response From Netizens.
After giving his usual lead star – Nivin Pauly – a break, Alphonse collabs with the handsome Prithviraj Sukumaran for Gold, whose premise can be best summed up as a light-hearted version of Njan Kodeeswaran, a ’90s family thriller starring Jagadeesh (who is also in Gold as a greedy policeman). Prithviraj plays Joshiy, a young man living with his cooking-loving mother (Mallika Sukumaran), and who is an owner of a mobile shop. The movie begins with Joshiy finding a Bolero abandoned at the gate of his house. The tempo carries a cargo of mini-speakers, and Joshiy, who is expecting the delivery of his new vehicle, is annoyed with this unexpected addition to his premises.
He files a complaint with the local police station, who itself in incapable of clearing its own obstruction in form of a log-laden track left at the gate. The investigating cop (Baburaj) tells him to leave the vehicle there as it is, till the the original owner arrives or when the police station can have the place in its premise to keep the vehicle. There are also a bunch of goons, played by Chemban Vinod Jose and co., who want that cargo but they keep getting beaten up by Joshiy during each of their attempt to steal the tempo. The big twist arrives when Joshiy discovers the real stuff hidden in those speakers and he only has a couple of days to do something about it.
Watch the Trailer, oh wait… there is no trailer, right? Fine, just watch the song from the movie:
Puthren is one of the rare Malayalam directors, who with just two films, has managed to create such a hype for himself that a film that came without a trailer still manages to generate enough buzz to bring the crowds in. Though after the film is out, we can debate as to why the trailer ain’t available, but the thing is, you were intrigued, weren’t you?
Even though the lack of a trailer did bother me, that was quickly dispelled when the first smoking disclaimer came in with Lalu Alex’s voice, and I was in for the ride. The almost never-ending ‘thanks’ section (Malayalam movies really need to put a character-limit of the many people they are grateful for) is also made interesting in the opening credits.
The riches of its ensemble cast was such that I was so engrossed in reading the names in the opening credits that I almost missed the setting up of the driving plot element. Which is also why I was terribly disappointed that save for Prithviraj, and to some extent Shammi Thilakan and Baburaj, none of the other actors managed to make any sort of good impact on you, even though the cast boasts of the likes of Nayanthara, Roshan Mathew, Vinay Forrt, Krishna Shankar, Ajmal Amir and a couple of cameos from actors belonging to Alphonse Cinematic Universe.
Which is strange, since I loved how the director allowed even the bit characters to shine in his earlier films like Premam and Neram. The cult status that actors like Sharaf U Dheen, Vinay Forrt, Soubin Shahir enjoy today can all be traced to those movies. Gold may have eccentric character names like Joshi, Idea Shaji and Pluto Augustine, but none of the characters manage to enter the Alphonse Puthren club of adorable idiots. Oh, where is Ookken Tintu, Vatti Raja, RayBan, Malar Miss and Girijan Kozhi when you need them?
Nayanthara’s inclusion in Gold is quite stupefying, since the ‘Lady Superstar’, as the opening credits proudly proclaim her, hardly gets anything to do in the film. Which also make me wonder why when it comes to Malayalam cinema, she ends up choosing movies like Love Action Drama and Gold that hardly does any justice to her calibre. Lalu Alex, who made me smile in the smoking disclaimer, is more annoying in flesh when we see him as Idea Shaji.
Apart from the (almost wasted) ensemble, Gold has nearly all of Alphonse Puthren trademarks that made his earlier movies so fun to watch. From using bugs and squirrels as visual metaphors to some very quirky captioning to kooky editing and transitions (a ‘crime’ scene is rendered black and white), the movie is replete with Puthren tropes that make the visual storytelling looks interesting even when the movie hardly has anything to offer. Gold Song Thanne Thanne: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Deepti Sati Dance Their Hearts Out in This Vibrant Number (Watch Video).
Yes, that’s true. Even though the basic plot has the potential to be gripping, the content is spread thin over Gold‘s lagging 165 minutes long runtime, and the Puthren tropes actually feel like tiresome fillers in between. Who would ever have thought that? In fact, I think Gold would have worked better if the director had applied the tighter treatment that he did for Neram.
It isn’t that Gold is a lost cause. In fact, it reminds me of Lijo Jose Pellissery’s rare misfire Double Barrel, that share a couple of cast-mates like Prithviraj and Chemban. Both the movie has a peculiar charm and moments, but they don’t work in the totality, and that, coming from the brains behind them, is simply disappointing. A little less indulgence and a faster approach to the screenplay (that, as per the credits, has the director pick the brains of at least a dozen people) could have worked wonders here. Or at least, it would have made me pause myself into scrutinising some of the less believable plot elements. Like, why would Joshiy not push the Bolero inside his house premise to get his new car in (the police being the reason is quite flimsy)? Why do the goons or the owner of the Bolero try harder to get the stuff back? Why aren’t the cops serious about a mysterious vehicle with fake number plates to not investigate it? So on and so on.
Not sure how many reviews have used this phrase, but I can’t help but be reminded of the adage ‘all that glitters is not…’ when it comes to Gold. In what I can hope is a freak misfire, Alphonse Puthren, this time, couldn’t marry a thrilling premise with his usual fun storytelling tropes, resulting in a film that suffers from excesses and yet hasn’t much to say. We also missed you, dear filmmaker, for seven years since Premam, but next time please be a little less indulgent. No Premam for this, you just want the Neram to end here!
(The above story first appeared on Fresh Headline on Dec 02, 2022 09:33 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website freshheadline.com).