Saturday, May 9

Bhagyadevata - review

Veteran director Sathyan Anthikad's latest Jayaram starrer Bhagyadevata is yet another must-watch, after his Achuvinte Amma (2005), Rasathanthram (2006), Vinodhayathra (2007) and Innathe Chinthavishayam (2008). After a dull start at the box office, this family entertainer, set in the lush green backdrop of Kerala's fertile Kuttanad region, is currently running house full in all releasing centres across the state.

Bhagyadevata revolves around Benny (Jayaram), a farmer and local cable operator in the rural area of Kuttanadu. He has a family comprising his widowed mother, two sisters Sophie and Sali, and his paternal grandmother. In the struggle to make ends meet, Benny often finds himself on the losing side. Benny is perpetually in search of business opportunities that would make him financially secure. Benny's friend Sadanandan (Nedumuni Venu) gives him the idea of buying a second-hand fishing boat. To finance the purchase of the boat, he also suggests that Benny should get married for a substantial dowry. Benny marries a state agriculture officer's daughter Daisy (Kanihaa) hoping to get dowry of five Lakhs, using which he can get his sisters married and buy a boat.

However, Daisy's father (Venu Nagavalli) fails to pay the amount on the day of marriage. He asks for a grace period of three months. In the meantime, Daisy becomes the darling of his home, but Benny, who had planned things based on the dowry and even paid an advance for a fishing boat, feels cheated and turns desperate. He tells his wife that he will not consummate their marriage unless he gets the money. Things take a different twist from that point.

Though an age-old tale, the film still holds audience interest. Moving on predictable lines, especially in the second half, it is certainly not the director's best film. Yet, the film still succeeds in creating a refreshing charm. Sathyan has handled the subject with aplomb, subtly pointing out the soft underbelly of society's ills without preaching.

Jayaram excels in a tailor-made role. Brilliant framing by cinematographer Venu and background score by Ilayaraja etch one of the best portrayals by Jayram. Kanihaa looks convincing as a Christian girl from a rural background, though her character has few dialogues. Most of Sathyan Anthikkad's trusted actors - Innocent, Mammookoya, K.P.A.C. Lalitha and Narein - do their best within the scopes of their roles. Even the girls who played Jayaram's sisters and the fishing boat owner have put in their best efforts to make their parts look perfect.

Cinematographer Venu has succeeded in making the frames look natural. Ilayaraja's music is good and suits the mood of the film well. In a nutshell, Sathyan Anthikad strikes the right chord once again, making Bhagyadevata a must-watch for the entire family.


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