Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam Review: The Film Doesn’t Feel Gimmicky, Although It Is

The casually stylish film is daunting in its format and verbiage . Miraculously it doesn’t seem gimmicky.

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Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam Review: The Film Doesn’t  Feel Gimmicky, Although It Is

One-shot, 85 minutes, a squabbling couple driving down to a pregnancy clinic to ascertain whether she  is  in the family way. The  family certainly doesn’t get  in the way of this couple as they battle it out hurling  accusations and insults  at each other  during  a road journey that threatens  to tear  down their  relationship, until  you fear he  will crash the car while she screams at him for no reason. ‘He’ being  Jithin played by  Jithin Puthenchery, she being  Maria played by Rima  Kallingal.

As far as  I can see this  couple is  heading for a  ferocious breakup. Or at  least that’s  how  their  scuffle seems scripted,  although  it may not really be  so. I hear the actors  improvised a  lot of lines and  considering they drive together (while driving one another nuts)  for  85 minutes there must have been a  lot  of  impromptu insults hurled at one another.

Conceiving new ways of insulting one another on a journey that seems  to go on forever couldn’t be  easy. Why did they pick a clinic  on  the  other end  of town? Did they actually want  this time together  to  bicker bitterly?  Do they actually  get it off on mutual insults? Looks  like it. He calls her a litterbug. She says  he stinks as he doesn’t bathe for three days  at  a stretch. Ouch!  As I watched this new avatar  of  Richard Burton-Liz Taylor in Who’s Afraid  Of  Virginia Wolf (imagine if the  pair  were asked to bicker for  85 minutes in  one shot while the  director went off to attend  to more important chores) or nearer  home, Rajesh Khanna-Sharmila Tagore  in Aavishkar, I  wondered why these  two  are  together at  all.

She is  a certifiable  bully  and  borderline abuser. He is docile and has obviously allowed her  to get away  with her screaming bouts  way too  often without reminding her that raising your voice doesn’t make you right. I don’t know  much writer-director Don Palathara allowed  the  pair to  have their own say. But  the improvisations  in  their dialogues are not concealed  from the camera. The verbal  duel  at times seems to be straining to stay  afloat.  At other times the insults  just fly  in the car , free-floating in space  between the roof and seat  like  stale confetti at a party long  gone phut.

This is  a film that revels  in its own innovativeness. The lead pair holds fort to  the  best of its abilities. Somewhere  in the  long tedious  journey, the verbiage begins to get to you. That’s when the  director himself makes  an appearance, not in person but as a voice of a  director being  interviewed on the phone by Maria. Yes , she is an  entertainment  journalist. Which explains her aggression, though not her insistence  on abusing her  boyfriend for  getting her  pregnant.

Pregnant pauses are not what we get here, though. The casually stylish film is daunting in its  format  and verbiage . Miraculously it doesn’t seem  gimmicky,  although it probably is, because  of  the actors who have  gotten into the  85-minute  spat so well-rehearsed that it doesn’t seem rehearsed at all.

Directed by Don Palathara, Santhoshathinte  Onnam Rahasyam gets 2 and a half stars. 

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