Guruvayoor Ambala Nadayil Movie Review: An immensely satisfying laugh riot that doesn't aim for much depth, which is okay

Vipin Das
The movie has a vibe that Priyadarshan, Sathyan Anthikad, Sreenivasan and Siddique-Lal delivered in their peak era.
Guruvayoor Ambala Nadayil Movie Review

Guruvayoor Ambala Nadayil Movie Cast & Crew

Production : Prithviraj Productions,E4 Entertainment
Director : Vipin Das
Music Director : Ankit menon

Some comedies make good companions for a biryani, like those made by Priyadarshan (not the comedies that end on a tragic note) and Sathyan Anthikad in the 80s. You've seen them once long ago, and you want to rekindle the nostalgia, sometimes while... having a biryani, because you are in a good mood or a bad one and rely on a movie (with or without a biryani) to make you feel better.  Guruvayoor Ambala Nadayil (GAN) is one such movie. Of course, I wouldn't suggest watching it for the first time while having a biryani because, one, the theatre doesn't allow it; two, if you watch it at home later, there's the risk of choking because GAN is a full-fledged, slightly over-the-top comedy of errors littered with gags throughout. You never know when one of them would pop and tickle your ribs. So, it's safe to have a biryani the second time around. See what I mean?


GAN has a script by Deepu Pradeep, presently my favourite comedy writer in Malayalam cinema. He made his feature debut with Kunjiramayanam, a wedding comedy and recently made his OTT debut with Perilloor Premier League, another wedding comedy that also doubled as a political satire. The man has been making his living writing -- mostly -- wedding comedies. Stories of unmarried men still trying to get over past relationships and hoping a new relationship will get their self-esteem fixed. These men are desperate to get married, but bad experiences have made them anxious. GAN opens with one such man, Vinu (Basil Joseph), who is about to tie the knot with Anjali (Anaswara Rajan). There is a slight problem, though. We don't know the whole story behind why his last flame left him -- the movie will answer that later -- but it's eating at his brains. Thankfully, he has Anjali's brother Anandhan (Prithviraj) playing the shrink, his motivator who lifts his spirit like a good... biryani.


Why do I keep mentioning biryani? Well, GAN is like a well-cooked biryani, with all the spices, masala, and ingredients in the right measure and the meat marinated to near perfection. Speaking about perfectly marinating, that's what Deepu Pradeep and director Vipin Das do with the chemistry of Prithviraj and Basil Joseph. The former has more chemistry with the latter than he did with all his recent on-screen female characters. The chemistry is so sweet, and you wonder if the entire opening is necessary to establish their bond. But it all makes sense later. Basil -- his incredible comic timing and ability to alternate between anxiety, awkwardness, frustration, and joy -- fits his character like a glove. 


And Prithviraj sells his character in very little time. It's a tailor-made role, in the same way that his character in Driving Licence was. You wouldn't dare to befriend this guy -- he has a short temper -- but you also look at him and say that you wish every brother-in-law were like him. Everything appears so perfect. What could go wrong, right? Let's wait, shall we? Before the director's name flashes on the screen, a comical shocker of a twist. We now realise the opening credits served as a good appetizer for the... biryani. You now possess information that Vinu and Anandhan don't have. You think, "Damn! What's going to happen now? This should be a lotta fun."


The revelation is done in a manner typical of some detective stories. GAN is a comedy, yes, but like a good detective story, it throws so many developments and characters at us that, after a point, you no longer think if any of them makes any logical sense. Actually, it shouldn't matter because you get so caught up in the laughs and the absurd lengths to which some characters go to wreck -- or put together -- a wedding that you are just basking in the ingenuity of it all. After all, this creation comes from the mind of Deepu Pradeep, who has this incredible gift for creating the quirkiest characters and the most hilarious situations imaginable. I must, however, add that some of the jokes will be appreciated more by Malayalis than non-Malayalis, given all the references to old Malayalam films.


This, the vibe of GAN, is something that Priyadarshan, Sathyan Anthikad, Sreenivasan and Siddique-Lal delivered in their peak era. I regard Priyadarshan's Mazha Peyyunnu Madhalam Kottunnu, Sathyan Anthikad-Sreenivasan's Nadodikaattu and Siddique-Lal's Godfather as my favourite comedies. In these, the first and third have events that lead up to a wedding. GAN, too, follows the same pattern but with some refreshing tweaks. It has a couple of serious moments, but not serious enough to get our spirits down. In that regard, its spirit is closer to that of Mazha Peyyunnu...  


If there's one weak area, it's the portions with Yogi Babu. Doesn't an actor of his calibre deserve much better? And as comical as it is to have a team of videographers masquerading as cinematographers filming the wedding, I didn't think the whole 'thaali' episode was as impactful as I hoped. It seemed to me that the GAN crew was trying to work around certain limitations. But in the same segment, we get a chef's kiss moment in the form of a reference to Prithviraj's debut film, Nandanam. That last line... what a way to end a movie! Oh, and GAN has the most inventive use of yesteryear songs this side of Lokesh Kanagaraj movies.


I've not forgotten the women. It may seem like they don't have much to do compared to the men, and, granted, these aren't characters with much depth -- which applies to most characters in GAN -- but they make their endearing presence felt in the little time they get. How can you not like Anaswara's Anjali, who isn't bothered by what her brother or relatives think of her fiance? How can you not like Nikhila Vimal's misunderstood Parvathy, who has her reasons for doing what she did? This is not a movie that endorses the 'theppukaari' narrative. We are all flawed human beings, and everyone has a reason for doing what they do. Some things didn't happen to you back then because it wasn't the right time. What if rejection is redirection? A blessing in disguise?

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