Most of the successful films have one thing in common; they were all adapted by great directors from either novels or plays! We can list out hundreds of movies as examples. Why do filmmakers frequently prefer to adapt, especially the best sellers or the prestigious works of literary giants? Are they attempts to appeal to an existing commercial audience by exploiting the innovations and novelty of the author? Maybe, yes!
Anyway, adaptations can offer a minimum guarantee to the quality and success of the film. In this way, there can be no surprise, if Mohanlal starrer Aakashagopuram turns to be a true masterpiece of director K.P. Kumaran, as the movie is an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's classic 'Master Builder'.
Thespian Mohanlal has yet again given an excellent account of his histrionic talents in Aakashagopuram in which he enacts Albert Samson, a middle-aged architect who has made his way up the ladder of professional success with sheer determination. He fears that he will be eclipsed by the younger generation of architects. His obsession for his job has hardened and prevented him from having a meaningful private life with his wife Alice (Shweta Menon).
Albert Samson has an aged assistant Abrahim Thomas (Bharath Gopi), who wants his son Alex (Manoj K. Jayan) to have more freedom in the firm, which Albert doesn't allow. Alex's fiancee Katherine (Geethu Mohandas), an orphan brought up by Abraham Thomas, develops a liking for Albert Samson, which is something engineered by Albert Samson himself, because he wants to use Katherine to stop Alex from going away. Amidst all these tensions comes Hilda Varghese (Nithya), a young girl who had met Albert Samson ten years back and blindly worships him.
Albert Samson met Hilda in the early stages of his career, when he had built a church in her home town and climbed to the top of its steeple to place a flower wreath on it during its dedication ceremony. Albert had promised Hilda, then a girl of twelve, "a kingdom". Now, young Hilda has come to collect her kingdom. With her entry, the story takes a twist.
Mohanlal has moulded his body language to suit his character and locale. He is quite good as Albert Samson, though it may not go down well with die-hard Mohanlal fans, especially the 'front-benchers'. The late Bharath Gopi, in his last full-length character on screen, does full justice to the character of Abraham Thomas. Nithya has performed like a professional. Manoj K. Jayan as Alex, Shwetha Menon as Alice and Geethu Mohandas as Katherine have also performed well.
National Award-winning director Kumaran's craftsmanship is clearly visible in each scene as he brings out the best in every member of the cast and crew. The script, which has been penned by the director himself, retains the original spirit of the play. However, he should have made it a little more 'cinematic' on the whole. In the first half, one gets the feeling of watching a play, not a film, because of the script/ dialogues which lack cinematic elements.
Kerala's first international film, Aakashagopuram, brings together the best talents from Hollywood, UK, Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam film industries. Krrish fame Santhosh C. Thundiyil has created some outstanding frames. Emmy Award-winning musician John Altman (Titanic fame) has composed the music, which completely suits the dramatic mood and gives a Hollywood feel to the film as a whole.
Set in London among the Indian immigrant community, Aakashagopuram stands out on account of the sensitive manner in which it delves into the realm of complex human relationships. It is a finely-crafted movie, a must-see for all film-lovers, even for those who do not understand Malayalam.
Cast Mohanlal, Bharat Gopi, Shweta Menon, Manoj K. Jayan, Geethu Mohandas and Nithya
Director K.P. Kumaran
Cinematography Santosh C. Thundiyil
Editing Ajith Kumar
Music John Altman
Sound Designer Nigel Holland
Re-recording Robert Farr and Matthew Gough
Visual effects John Harvey and Jonathan Trussler