The delayed justice part of the Indian judiciary was one major theme in Tharun Moorthy’s second directorial, Saudi Vellakka. The latest Malayalam film Jaladhara Pumpset Since 1962, is an attempt to enter a similar space. Even though Urvashi’s towering performance makes the central character believable, the movie’s focus is so scattered that you must be highly naive to feel moved by this “Nanmayulla Lokame” package.
The story is about a theft attempt in Mrinalini Teacher’s house. It happened almost 7 years ago, and the teacher’s righteous husband decided to continue with the case as he believed that culprits should always get the punishment. But the inefficient system kept pushing the case, and after her husband’s demise, Mrinalini continued the case for her husband. The evolution of the personal life of both Mrinalini and the thief Mani is what we see in Ashish Chinnappa’s Jaladhara Pumpset Since 1962.
A teacher takes a thief to court, and just when he is about to get convicted, she says can you just let him admit the crime and walk away freely without any punishment? I was kind of glad that the makers decided to address the possible frustration everyone would feel seeing that scene through the character of the advocate played by TG Ravi. The case here is so weak that both Ashish Chinnappa and Prajin MP are going after humor that isn’t contributing much to the central theme. The Kudumbasree unit, the marriage-seeking daughter, the whole Unni character, etc., consume a good amount of runtime, and none of it feels essential. The only track with a worthy feel was the one between Mani and his daughter. But in an unnecessarily overcrowded comedy, that legit sentiment gets ignored.
Urvashi is the only relief of this feel-good comedy. Her counter-reactions to the digs taken at her by others are funny. And this goodness-overloaded character who brings Pothichoru for Mani during court days looks believable only because of her. As the advocate, TG Ravi was fine as the aging man who had lost his edge. Indrans, who plays the role of Mani, is in his typical poor soul space, but he portrays the thief smartness of the character neatly. And the climax moment with his daughter was also touching. Johny Antony was fun to watch as the eccentric lawyer of Mani. Sanusha struggles with dialogue delivery in many scenes. Actor Sagar who played the role of Unni, the one who accompanies Mrinalini everywhere, was a bit too “over” in almost every sequence he featured. Vijayaraghavan, Althaf Salim, Jayan Cherthala, Nisha Sarang, Sajin Cherukayil, etc., are the other major names in the cast.
Rather than sticking to the case and creating events that had a connection to the case, the film is trying to be formulaic by creating subplots that can be easily replaced or chopped. And the switch between being humorous to sentimental is kind of jarring. The interval block has no impact, and it sort of comes out of nowhere. In a scene, TG Ravi’s character talks about his victory in another case against the lawyer played by Johny Antony. It’s like a pretty good scene misplaced amid many stretched-out sequences. The character design has no grey zones. Both Mrinalini and Mani are either over-empathetic or just outright rude.
Jaladhara Pumpset Since 1962, is a watered-down courtroom drama with less material around the case in focus and takes too many detours to make things look funny. Saudi Vellakka was a watchable film for me. If that movie worked for you without any sort of issues, there is a minor possibility that this one from Ashish Chinnappa might feel like a passable entertainer. Urvashi is flowing flawlessly, but unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the film.
Jaladhara Pumpset Since 1962, is a watered-down courtroom drama with less material around the case in focus and takes too many detours to make things look funny.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended