Veteran filmmaker Joshiy belongs to an era where his contemporaries have either passed away or faded away or else unable to connect to the new age audience (read people like Sibi Malayil, Fazil etc ). But unlike all of them Joshiy is not just making films even now but he still enjoys a fairly good record at the box-office as well. Joshiy also is one of those rare Malayalam filmmakers who has worked with all the top actors ( Jayan, Prem Nazir, Mammootty, Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi, Dileep, Jayaram, Prithviraj etc ) and enjoys a good rapport with all of them. No wonder Dileep and AMMA (Association of Malayalam Movie Artists) turned to Joshiy for the biggest ever Malayalam film project, Twenty : 20. You might like or dislike the film but I’m sure you cannot dispute the fact that the film did manage to provide justice to the mammoth star cast.
Having said all this I must admit that none of Joshiy’s recent films (including fairly engrossing films like Twenty : 20 and Christian Brothers ) have been able to match the tempo of some of his earlier films like a New Delhi, Naaduvazhikal, Nair Saab, Pathram etc. So with news of Run Baby Run being his next release and that too for Onam I took it with a pinch of salt. Sure the film had Mohanlal and Amala Paul which normally should have excited me. But apart from Joshiy’s indifferent form of late I kind of feared that this might turn out to be another Casannova. If I felt happy after seeing the trailer then it was for one reason alone, that of Amala Paul hopefully getting a good presence in the film as the promo indicated as otherwise it looked a bit too underwhelming for me.
Nevertheless being Onam season and with a Mohanlal-Joshiy film available no one was to stop me from watching it and am I not glad that I went for it? Well more on that later. Let me dispense away with the plot quickly. As the trailer indicated, Run Baby Run (RBR from here on) is a thriller against the backdrop of media & politics. Venu ( Mohanlal ) is an acclaimed cameraman who is also part of the Reuters stringer panel and based in Delhi. He returns back to Kerala after 5 years in connection with an old case involving a fracas with the cops. In the midst of doing a freelance assignment for a news channel while down in Kochi, Venu comes across his old friend and former colleague, Hrishikesh ( Biju Menon ) who is now struggling to stay afloat with his news channel, NBI. Venu also comes across Renuka ( Amala Paul ) his fiancee at one point of time,who works for another news channel, Bharat Vision and in whose presence both Venu and Hrishikesh feel uncomfortable around, owing to a past incident.
Unexpectedly Venu and Renuka get to work together on another assignment, something concerning the politician, Bharathan Pilla (Sai Kumar) and the industrialist Rajan Kartha (Siddique). In a curious turn of events the past returns to haunt Venu, Renuka and Hrishikesh though they remain unaware about it for a long time. The rest of the film is all about how the title gets justified as it becomes a gripping roller coaster ride all the way. RBR is written by Sachi (of the erstwhile Sachi-Sethu combo) and it is his 1st independent writing assignment and he has more than done a fair job here. Adding pace and spice to Joshiy’s narration is the wonderful writing by Sachi which helps the film maintain a tight pace and not distract the viewers unnecessarily. A lot of care has also been taken to develop the characters and not just the lead characters and that also is a sort of victory for Sachi.
While the film is a fast paced thriller there is still an undercurrent of lightness thanks to the wonderful Biju Menon who doesn’t disappoint here as well. His character is bound to win the audience approval as Biju’s projection of a new news channel head struggling to even pay his staff salaries is done with a lot of conviction and with a very natural light hearted approach. In fact his scenes with Mohanlal are a delight to watch and Joshiy certainly needs to be commended for the same. As I had expected after watching the trailer the film does give Amala Paul a lot of presence in the film and she is not just a mere element in the same. While it’s certainly not a test of her acting skills Amala does look the role of a T.V journalist and its fun to watch her say “cameran Venuvinodoppam Renuka” throughout the film 🙂 .
Ratheesh Vega’s BGM works in line with the mood of the film and with respect to the songs the one which actually gets noticed is “ Aatumanal Payayil” sung effortlessly by none other than Mohanlal himself ( with lyrics by Rafeeq Ahmed ). Not only is the song soothing to the ear but it has also been picturised well. Shyam Sasidharan’s editing adds a lot of value to the film as there’s hardly any dull moment in the film. R.D Rajasekhar, the DOP must have had a blast while shooting the film as he even gets to exhibit some of the trademark camera options put in use for sting operations these days. The film is not without its share of negatives though. At the core there is a basic flaw with the plot in terms of the proceedings. Also Sai Kumar and Siddique have by now done such roles so many times that there’s nothing novel about their characters over here.
Nevertheless in spite of all these if you still remain glued to the screen throughout the movie (and which you most likely might) then it’s certainly a victory of sorts for Joshiy. But if there’s one more person who needs to share credit along with Joshiy for the film then it has to be Mohanlal. In a film which does have the scope for doing some typical histrionics and pandering to the gallery it’s a welcome change to see him underplay a bit and remain well in control. Thankfully there are no unnecessary punch dialogues and no deliberate heroism exhibited. As Venu, Mohanlal plays a normal regular guy who speaks his heart out. And as mentioned earlier his scenes with Biju Menon are a treat to behold.
All in all RBR is a film which reminds one of what a fine filmmaker Joshiy is and what he can come up with if he really applies himself to the task. This is a chase that you might surprisingly enjoy.
And here’s Mohanlal singing “Aatumanal Payayil”, check out the promotional video