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Director Jayaraj's latest is Gulmohar, starring scenarist-director Ranjith in the lead role. It offers a different kind of viewing experience for filmgoers, as the film is narrated in a full-fledged flashback mode which was prevalent in films of the 70's and 80's. Moreover, the film sticks to the basics of simple storytelling and is worth watching.
Gulmohar revolves around Induchoodan (Ranjith), a school headmaster and a confirmed Maoist with a revolutionary past. He is totally different from other teachers in the school. One day, he unexpectedly meets his old friend Harikrishnan (Siddique), who is suffering from cancer. After this meet, Induchoodan's memories go back to the golden days of his past when he was a young guest lecturer at a college.
Induchoodan, Harikrishnan and a group of friends were members of the Naxalite movement. Ignited by revolutionary ideologies, they set out to fight against all social evils: corruption, injustice and exploitation. Eventually, they were arrested and subjected to cruel treatment by the police, after an unsuccessful 'Operation April' in which they targeted a cruel landlord but killed another person by mistake. Gulmohar later develops around the terrifying memories of the murder and its consequences.
With his macho look and mannerisms, Ranjith has performed convincingly as Induchoodan and deserves appreciation. His performance as an ideologist is inspiring and he has an amazing screen presence. Debutante Meenu Mathew, who plays Gayathry, a student in Induchoodan's college, has done a good job and provides a romantic angle. Siddique as Harikrishnan and all the others in the cast, especially Jagathy Sreekumar and Nishant Sagar, have done justice to their respective roles.
Debutante scriptwriter Deedi Damodaran, daughter of scenarist T. Damodaran, deserves special mention for a beautiful narrative. Cinematographer M.J. Radhakrishnan's work is brilliant and the songs, penned by ONV and set to tune by veteran Johnson, jell well with the mood of the film.
Produced by Saji Karuveli under the banner of Orient Films, Gulmohar in a sense shares the revolutionary fervour of the times and emphasizes the need for keeping the revolutionary spirit alive as long as social evils prevail in our society. All in all, Gulmohar is one of the best Malayalam films in recent times.
Producer: Saji Karuveli
Banner: Orient Films
Cast: Ranjith, Siddique, Meenu Mathews, Nishant Sagar, Jagathy Sreekumar
Script: Deedi Damodaran
Lyrics: ONV Music: Johnson