Monday, February 25, 2013

Charming and meaningful

David and Goliath’ highlights the simplicity within people, the lure of greed, and the impact of tragedy

Photo: Jayasuriya in 'David and Goliath' 

By Shevlin Sebastian

The film, ‘David and Goliath’, begins with the wailing of an abandoned baby near the St. Thomas church, set in a tea estate, in the hilly regions of Vagamon. It is rescued by Fr. Gerald (P. Balachandran). He grows up to be David (Jayasuriya), a devout, God-fearing boy, who has the strange habit of getting a nose bleed whenever he feels tense. But nevertheless, David has a kind of genius when it comes to inventions. So he makes a heater, using the water from the well to generate electricity, as Fr. Gerald is worried about paying high electricity bills.

Director T. Rajeevnath takes his time to unfold a well-written script by Anoop Menon. Soon, other characters emerge: Jaynamma (Lena Abhilash), who loses her faith in God, after her children are run over by a lorry, and becomes an alcoholic. Lena appears, with no make-up at all, in sharp contrast to her normally glamorous roles, but she shines with a suppressed intensity. Indrans, as the priest’s helper, also makes a mark. David tries to help Sharon (Soumya), a young village girl, who is being harassed by a tea estate worker, Shravanan. Like David, in the Bible, he uses a catapult-like contraption to knock the assailant over.

Things start gathering pace when Fr. Gerald dies of a snake bite. One of David’s inventions, a bulb which works without electricity, is spotted by failed businessman Sunny Kaimattom (Anoop Menon), the Goliath in the film. And he markets it successfully, takes the credit, as well as the money.  

There are a couple of minor blemishes. A nail enters David’s feet while he is running to save Sharon. But thereafter, he does not limp at all and there is no scene showing that it is being treated. At a meet, to announce a new product, at the Ernakulam Press Club, there are several microphones placed on the table, including one of the BBC News. In real life, the presence of the British broadcaster would have been unlikely.   

The movie moves at a slow pace, especially in the first half. Nevertheless, it is a charming film, with some excellent camera work by Jithu Damodar, and will definitely appeal to an older audience. Not sure whether Generation Next will take to it. And the confrontation between David and Goliath is not as earth-shattering, as the original version in the Bible.

However, there are underlying lessons to be learnt: how simple people are always taken for a ride by the shrewd. How a tragedy can shatter a woman and make her bitter. How a single death can wrought significant changes in people’s lives.

Jayasuriya impresses with his subtle changes of mood, his understated style, and a sweet boyishness. And, unlike in many Malayalam movies, ‘David and Goliath’ has a low-key ending, that one was not sure whether the film had ended, till the lights came on in the hall.
It will, most likely, be a sleeper hit, depending on ‘word of mouth’ recommendations.

(The New Indian Express, Kerala)

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