Readers Write In #527: Gold – An overlong and indulgent comedy that only shines in parts!

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Readers Write In #527: Gold – An overlong and indulgent comedy that only shines in parts!
Readers Write In #527: Gold – An overlong and indulgent comedy that only shines in parts!

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By Bharath Vijayakumar

Like Naane Varuven earlier this year, we walk into Gold not knowing much about it. At least, Naane Varuven had a teaser, that kind of gave an idea on what to expect. In the case of Gold, even the teaser did not give anything away. But Alphonse had mentioned in his personal page on social media not to expect a Neram or a Premam. He had also mentioned that Gold kind of leans more towards the former. Well, yes, Gold is definitely in the zone of Neram and is a comedy built around a thin plot. Joshi (Prithviraj) finds a vehicle that has been parked at the entrance of his house. What follows is a thriller comedy with Joshi at the centre of events.

The film starts in Alphonse’s trademark style thanking a whole lot of people, as their names appear on screen accompanied by Rajesh Murugesan’s peppy score. The list seemed endless and at a point I actually wondered if the reason for the film’s delayed release was due to Alphonse making sure that he did not miss to thank anyone. The plot kicks in right away as the very first scene has Joshi discovering the vehicle in his front yard. By this time already, you are having a smile as there is this musical vibe that Alphonse is so good at. A simple jump by Prithviraj across a compound wall is treated like a choreographed sequence and the film already seems like a music video. This kind of treatment sees the first hour sail through relatively smoothly because it is not something we get to see in other films. The comedy works at places. Nothing that has you laughing out loud but a chuckle here and there. There is also this hope that the film would have some surprises in store. But sadly, Gold doesn’t really take off at any point of time. Take Neram for instance. That was a two-hour film. It had few quirky characters but at the centre there was a protagonist who was up against something. We were invested in his fate. Gold is definitely a much lighter film. It isn’t a dark comedy like Premam. But we almost have zero interest in what Joshi is upto. There is some tension here and there leading up to the reveal but by and large we aren’t really rooting for him or anything. Again, that might not be the film’s intention but when the comedy isn’t really working, there needs to be something that keeps us hooked. Alphonse’s style of treatment does this for a while, but this is a film that runs close to three hours. In fact, after a point, the kind of style that worked wonderfully well in aiding the storytelling in Premam, sort of becomes tiring here. Not sure if I wasn’t able to appreciate the purpose behind it but the shots of butterflies, grasshoppers and the kind, felt random and indulgent. Characters keep coming in and their quirky names get displayed on screen. There is style all right, but the quirkiness of their names hardly translates to any convincing quirky comedy.

There are some nice touches that work. For instance, we are introduced to a character about to commit suicide. We learn soon that the reason was his financial status. Soon after he gets his hands on some money, the first thing he does is order some food for his family. The sentimentality is muted but the emotion gets registered. It is such a nice scene to have for someone who isn’t a major character in the film. There is another scene in Joshi’s mobile shop involving a small-time goon and a military officer. This was the only scene where I could hear collective laughter in the auditorium. This is the kind of humour that you want to see in a film like this. Not the loud kind involving Lalu Alex as ‘Idea Shaji’. And before I forget, Alphonse seems to have a thing for police stations that have a roadblock. If the station in Neram was undergoing renovation, the station here has a literal roadblock at its entrance. The film also surprisingly ends a bit conventionally with a little message. The title lends itself to different meaning in the climax. This Gold isn’t the metal which melts, it rather signifies a melting heart.

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