A scene from ‘Romancham’
There’s no trace of Ouija board innovation in a horror movie. After all, there’s no better excuse than a board to open a portal to another world and summon wandering souls. But this eternal source of the supernatural turns out to be much more. romanceJeetu Madhavan’s first film. What happens around it often produces loud laughter rather than fear. One of the reasons for this is the way the director, who has also written the screenplay of the film, has visualized the scenarios. Second is some top comic performances from the entire cast with impeccable timing.
It all takes place inside a rented house in Bengaluru in 2007, where seven bachelors have the time of their lives despite struggling to make ends meet. The mix includes two men who have jobs, one unsuccessful businessman, two who have been waiting an eternity for a job offer after an interview, and two who have no jobs. It’s easy for a viewer to fit into this little world of different characters who each seem different in their own way with their own unique brand of craziness. For anyone who has lived in that city around this period, the world the film creates is relatable enough.
Director: Jeetu Madhavan
Cast: Soubin Shahir, Arjun Ashokan, Siju Sunny, Abin Bino, Jagdish Kumar, Afzal PH, Sajin Gopu, Anantharaman Ajay, Chemban Vinod
Like any such unmarried family, the man in charge is working hard to bring about a semblance of discipline among the wayward herd, as well as the man who refuses to mend his ways and fight for his right to consumption. does Pan Masala, Curiosity turns to horror when the seven of them summon a spirit using a ouija board. The arrival of a new person with peculiar behavioral issues further complicates matters.
With its organic flow and simple scenarios, it might seem like an easy script to write, but in order to pull off something so effortless, the writer had to have a clear understanding of what would work on screen and what to leave out. To Jeetu’s credit, almost everything here works like a charm. The mise-en-scene of the bachelor room has enough elements to generate laughs. The failed businessman’s unsold Western commodes fill a good portion of the room, becoming makeshift chairs, a rice box, and even a friend’s wedding gift.
When the supernatural elements come to the fore, the script leaves some room for us to doubt the course of events. Sushil Shyam has composed the songs and background score which matches the quirky mood of the entire film. After a long time, Soubin Shahir gets a role that suits his acting prowess, while Arjun Ashokan expertly handles a character that is difficult to pull off. But it’s the crop of new actors who carry the film as a whole, complementing each other well.
romance gives us the promise of a sequel, which is something to look forward to, considering the fact that there is so much more that could be done with this set of characters. Horror-comedy is a genre that requires a very delicate balance, and Jeethu Madhavan gets it right, making it one of the best of its kind in Malayalam cinema.