On the whole, Shafi’s ‘Venicile Vyapari’ appears to be a business proposition that has gone wrong. For one, it has a story that has been mixed and remixed plenty of times, and which has as a result, nothing new to offer. And secondly, it might also be a disappointment to viewers who head for the theatres with the Shafi comic stamp in mind.
The film is all about Pavithran (Mammootty), a police constable who has been assigned to investigate the murder of Ajayan (Biju Menon), and who in the disguise of a coir merchant arrives at the crime scene. There he meets Ammu (Kavya Madhavan), Ajayan’s sister and with her support, turns out be one of the most prominent local coir merchants.
It all sounds fine, but digging deeper into the script, you realize that its not half as sturdy as the coir ropes that Pavithran tires to sell. This man has been sent off on almost a compulsory transfer by a senior officer, and the reason is that his daughter Lekshmi (Poonam Bajwa) is in love with him!
There is nothing much of an unraveling taking place either, especially when you think of it as a murder mystery. You keep hoping for some real surprise round the corner, but the moment never arrives. Instead, you leave the cinema halls, wondering about the meekness of it all.
The film has been set in the 80′s and to give the makers their due, the retro feel has been maintained to the hilt. And its not just the ‘Kannum Kannum’ song that has been remixed that gives us the feel; its pretty much everything about the film – be it the costumes or the art direction.
It would perhaps not be right to associate a director with a certain kind of cinema, and yet the name Shafi does ring a popular bell. It’s here that the script of ‘Venicile Vyapari’ plays a spoilsport, and is caught halfway between an action film and a comedy, and ultimately becomes neither.
Mammootty as Vyapari towers over the rest of the characters with a stupendous performance that easily overshadows most others. Well, almost. Because Kavya is somewhere pretty close, and does have her moments in the film. It’s a shame that her character that shows some mettle in the first half, eventually fizzles out without even as much as a whimper as the film draws to a close.
Technically, the makers see to it that no stones have been left unturned to make Vyapari look elegant. Shamdat’s cinematography that captures the splendor of Aleppey in the 80′s is remarkable. And so are the songs that have been composed by Bijibal, barring the remix of that beautiful song.
Venicile Vyapari is the kind of film that generates a few chuckles here and there, amidst a whole lot of tedium that lasts for a much longer time. While it remains that it isn’t exactly frightful, it has to be accepted that nothing much inventive happens around here.