Porinju Mariam Jose — It’s fine.
Porinju Mariam Jose is a movie starring Joju George, Nyla Usha and Chemban Vinod as central characters — Porinju, Mariam and Jose. It is directed by the legendary directory Joshiy, well known for his older hits like Number 20 Madras Mail, Dhruvam, Pathram et all. He’s not had many hits in recent times and there is a lot riding on this one. Did it deliver? More like a hit and miss.
Porinju is a local rowdy employed with an aristrocrat (Vijayaraghavan) whose family has got filthy rich from Porinju’s rowdiness. Porinju is very famous in his hometown, even rowdies and police (there is not much of a difference between them in the movie) are intimidated by his sheer presence.
Mariam, played by Nyla Usha plays Porinju’s love interest. He family was against their relationship because of their social status and mismatching caste. When Mariam tried to elope with Porinju, her father commited suicide. It is played as a joke, something that happened by mistake, but the trick essentially prevents Mariam from marrying Porinju because of the guilt.
Jose is the eccentric character who plays a wingman to Porinju and a dear friend to Mariam. He brings the much needed comic relief for the movie.
Most of the jokes land and are spot on. There is some clever direction decisions to pace the movie, there is some Joshiy brilliance sprinkled throughout the movie.
The performances are tight and Chemban Vinod and Joju George have very memorable roles. Nyla Usha does not match the other two, but is believable enough for the independent in-love damsel. Some tropes like Jose’s disco dance are good on the first try but then is horribly overused.
What went wrong?
The story went horribly sideways after the interval. It had likable characters and things to overcome and sort out. But it goes on to make certain choices that made no sense and did not contribute to the story in anyway.
What could have been better?
Here is when I wish things were better. These might not make it better for everyone. Spoilers for the complete movie.
The character of Jose is played out for comic relief in the first half and Chemban Vinod gives a very likeable performance. In a very obvious build up, the character dies and asks the hero to avenge his death. This is an obvious choice for the movie, as it utilises the likeability of the character to affect some anger from the audience towards the villain.
I get that it is okay for characters to die, but I wish it is in interest of the narrative. The three protagonists are united at a wedding party. After the party, while Porinju is just about to leave with Jose, Aristrocrat Aipe calls in Porinju to talk. Porinju and Jose have a disagreement as Jose tries to manhandle Aipe and Jose leaves the place alone. We also see the villains chase the car Mariam has arrived in. Mariam steps out of the car and the villains decide to retreat.
Let’s rewrite this a bit and say the villains had decided to kidnap Mariam at this moment. Jose who is also heading home at the same time runs across them. In a drawn out action sequence, Jose gets hurt when trying to save Mariam. While this still ends with Jose’s death, it also becomes a character moment for Mariam. Mariam has been rejecting Porinju because she believes that her father was sacrificing for her, but in reality he had been just holding her hostage with his life. Jose’s actions could prove to her what sacrifice really means and remind her friendship that they share.
In case of Porinju, now he takes Jose’s death upon himself, as he going with him could have saved him. Instead he had choosen to side with Aipe and now his best friend is dead. This justifies the vengence he feels and decides to kill the people who killed his best friend at whatever the risk. This I think rounds up the characters and gives them motivations for the second half.
What do you think could have been better? What worked best?