After Ezra, Tiyaan and Adam Joan Prithviraj marks the end of this year with a film based on a young man and his aeronautical dreams. The debutant director Pradeep M. Nair certainly didn’t disappoint the young students who rushed to the cinemas since schools closed for Christmas. An inspirational-slash-love story, a great concoction for a family film and finally a climax of reunion of the old sweethearts- in short, the viewer goes home happy, satisfied.
Venkidi, a small boy, with a hearing aid, is laughed at in his school and he drops out. His dream is to build an aeroplane. He grows up in a village, with his interest growing both in the making of an aircraft and in his childhood friend Janaki (played effortlessly by the new face Durga Krishna). Encouraged by his uncle Murukan (Sudheer Karamana), an automobile mechanic and his other elderly friend (Alencier) who is a film showman along with Janaki and the local Catholic priest (P. Balachandran) Venkidi proceeds on his flying experiments by trial and error method. After continuous failure, he gradually becomes the laughing stock of the village. At last, after an hour and forty minutes of the film (including interval), Venkidi flies his scrawny little aircraft above the village and proves himself before everyone. As for the inspirational part of the film, the hero receives a Padma award in his old age and his hard work pays off.
In the love part, the film is not very innovative. We see the age old clichéd story of ‘the girl from a rich family, boy from a poor family, girl’s father plays the villain, girl sacrifices her love for the welfare of her sweetheart and finally she comes back, aged and widowed, looking for the long lost love’. And there is this ‘iconic big box’ full of unopened letters that the heroine had been sending to her hero, reminding us of the classic Hollywood romance Notebook (2004) and Noah’s letters. When Venkidi and Janaki fly together, fulfilling their childhood wish, the love story winds up at that point without much of a poetic justice.
The love of Janaki and Venkidi goes parallel with the progress of the building of the aeroplane. And in the process, the little aircraft swallows the entire story by leaving all but Venkidi forgotten and wiped out. The important question is – Is there any humour in the film? Yes. But it is milked hard from a small team which includes a malicious local photographer (Asokan), a midget and Janaki’s prospective groom from Singapore played by Saiju Kurup. A few scenes where they try to harm Venkidi by damaging the aircraft and getting him arrested for the car theft keep the film running with all the drama expected in a rich-poor love trouble. When the crane lifts the submerged car from the water, the viewer anticipates the fate of the hero- same as they felt in Drishyam.
The story of young Venkidi runs in flashback, sandwiched by his Padma Bhushan scene in the beginning and his flight with Janaki in the end. With the topping of some beautiful songs (Music by Gopi Sundar) , a few magnificent aerial shots and a green painted small aircraft named M-Pet flying around a small town (thanks to CGI), the film gives off a pleasant experience with nothing to regret.