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‘Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil’ Review: A Wannabe Comic Camp Turns into a Passable Comedy

Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil has all the elements of a comedy roller-coaster, but a better script could have elevated it further. It indeed is a communal experience, best enjoyed in a packed movie hall.

Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil

The entire story of Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil revolves around a running joke; it’s a secret that binds every character in the movie, especially the two leads – Anandan (Prithviraj Sukumaran) and Vinu (Basil Joseph). Apparently, it’s the same gag that feels like the only weak link in the script. But despite this hiccup, this insanely entertaining wannabe comic camp makes a passable comedy, thanks to Basil Joseph and Prithviraj Sukumaran. Directed by Vipin Das, whose 2022 smash hit, Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey, elevated comedy set pieces to a new level, Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil talks about a feud. At the heart of this story are two soon-to-be brothers-in-law, Anandan, and Vinu.

Vinu has everything a middle-class eligible bachelor Malayali requires – he works as a corporate executive in the Middle East, his family is well-off, and he is the perfect man next door. Now, the only thing he lacks in his late 20s (or early 30s) is an arranged marriage. There’s something keeping him away from marriage, and he is reluctant to marry until his family arranges a suitable alliance. The person who convinced him to marry Anjali, his fiancée, was Anandan, Anjali’s older brother. The unbreakable relationship, a devotion rather, Vinu has with Anandan suddenly changes after he finds out an earth-shattering fact that binds all of them together.

What makes Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil an instantly likable film is its unrelenting energy. It’s a chain of comedy setups, and sarcastic and even slapstick humor. Sometimes the comedic scenes, made only for the sake of having comedy scenes, feel artificial. But mostly, the jokes land in the perfect territory. Basil, with his natural charm and comedic timing, elicits laughs. Prithviraj, however, struggles in the initial sequences but enters the zone and saves the day. Jagadeesh too allows the natural flow of the film to get his jokes right, but at times he also falters, giving an impression of forced comedy. Joemon Jyothir gives an eccentric performance. His jokes, most of them a copy of behavior comedy – a forte for the content creator – effortlessly sail through the sequences.

Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil

What drags this film most of the time is its weak storyline. Most of the time it looks forced, with jokes slipped in between scenes to deviate the audience and characters acting as travel guides to establish the next sequence. There are redundant explanations, worn-out 90s jokes, and a feeling of actors roaming free on their own. The cinematography and action choreography complemented each other beautifully, keeping the visual grammar steady and focused. The music also syncs well with the intention the film tries to serve. As the film moves into the climax, it turns into a mad, loud, freewheeling comedy camp, reminiscent of the classic Malayalam comedy Godfather (1991). And there’s obviously a nod to Prithviraj’s scintillating debut film Nandanam (2002), which also had at its heart the Guruvayoor temple.

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Anaswara Rajan played her part beautifully, conveying the nuances and restrictions of a soon-to-be-married Malayali girl. Nikhila Vimal, on the other hand, struggled a bit to enforce her presence. The writing was below par for her character; as the drama got intense, she was baited as a sorry-looking regular woman. The film featured an ensemble cast, but since most of these actors were known for their peculiar characteristics, it reflected poorly on the overall depth of the story. For instance, there are at least two characters in the same family speaking in two Malayalam dialects. The director also lost the plot when he tried to incorporate a purposeless side story to create a villain. Perhaps, he was trying to leverage the impact of Prithviraj – the superstar – who also produced the movie. To satisfy the commercial sensibilities of the stardom, this comedy often shows a tendency to come back to Prithviraj to arrive at a conclusion or a build-up.

Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil is a wannabe comedy camp turned into a passable comedy. It has all the elements of a comedy roller-coaster, but a better script could have elevated it further. This, however, doesn’t mean the movie is a dud. It indeed is a communal experience, best enjoyed in a packed movie hall. Perhaps this is a sign – if you have enough comedy sequences and meta-humor set pieces, a filmmaker can leave the movie hall unscathed – a pattern that emerged from the hit comedy Romancham (2023).

Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil
‘Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil’ Review: A Wannabe Comic Camp Turns into a Passable Comedy
3.5

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