Tuesday, January 28, 2014

ABCD: A Real Treat

ABCD: American Born Confused Desi

Director: Martin Prakkat
Cast: Dulquar Salman, Jacob Gregory, Aparna Gopinath, Tovino Thomas
Year: 2013

It's been a while since I saw a Malayalam movie that I absolutely loved. ABCD is a perfect entertainer.
The plot is fresh, and there is not an ounce of preachiness

There are so many new faces in the film -- people I had never seen before -- but they were all competent actors. As soon as I finished watching the movie, I had to go and google them all.

The protagonists of the story are two US born and raised Malayalis named Johns and Korah, played by Dulquar Salman and Jacob Gregory respectively. Both actors do their jobs well. Dulquar Salman is way more relaxed in this movie than in his previous movies like Second Show and Ustaad Hotel, where he had to be serious most of the time. Johns is probably closer to Dulquar's true self than the characters he played in the other movies. Jacob Gregory was very comfortable in his sidekick role. The comic relief he provided was essential to the success of the movie.

Aparna Gopinath plays the heroine Madhumitha. She is the kind of character that women in Kerala need to see more of. I loved her fearlessness and her deep-rooted sense of justice. Aparna played the character perfectly. She does not seem like a newbie at all. In fact, according to the Wikipedia entry on her, she is an experienced theatrical actress. It shows. If only more actors and actresses were cast based on their talent instead of their connections.

Tovino Thomas plays a politician named Akhilesh Verma. The two ABCD's unwittingly come into his crosshairs when their actions put Akhilesh's political career in jeopardy. I couldn't help thinking that Tovino was cast as the young politician, heir to his father's political throne, because of his likeness to Rahul Gandhi. He is very light-skinned and has a North Indian look. I was surprised to find that he was born and raised in Kerala and speaks Malayalam fluently. I was all ready to hate the actor when he first appeared on screen, thinking that he was just another pretty face who was cast simply for his looks. But he put in a fine performance. There was no gnashing of teeth or bulging veins in the forehead. His villainy was very subtle and very effective. I would love to see more of him in the future.

S. P. Sreekumar who plays Johns' and Korah's neighbor Lloyd Fernandez is an absolute delight. His laughter is just infectious. I can easily see him becoming a popular supporting actor for the new generation.

If you haven't seen ABCD yet, go watch it. Then come back and thank me for the recommendation. 

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