Writers: Chidambaram, Ganapathy, Sapnesh Varachal
Cast: Basil Joseph, Arjun Ashokan, Ganapathy, Lal, Sruthy Satyan, and Balu Varghese
Streaming on SunNXT.
Jan-E-Man, the latest Malayalam release directed by debutant Chidambaram is a breezy entertainer sprinkled with adequate humour and emotions.
The story focuses on Joymon, played by Basil Joseph, who flies to Kochi from Canada, to celebrate his 30th birthday and the events that take place during his birthday eve. While this one-liner may sound simple, writer-director Chidambaram’s thoughtful screenplay encapsulates a wide range of characters and their emotional conflicts into the narrative. What starts off as Joymon’s desperate escape from solitude, eventually also becomes the story of redemption for Monichan and a realization of self-worth for Faizal.
The idea of creating a conflict using two houses going through emotions belonging to different ends of the spectrum is a killer thought. While such a situation, if overdone, may go horribly wrong, the team skillfully uses humour to balance out the tension and elevate the events that proceed. The screenplay also makes it a point to surprise its viewers by taking unexpected detours like the sequence that pans out after Joymon’s birthday ‘blast’.
Even with a plethora of characters, Jan-E-Man manages to provide effective identities to most of them, through small conversations. However, the film does slow down in the second half when it focuses on Monichan’s family but the consistent humour and performances make up for it.
The writing team comprising of director Chidambaram, Ganapathy and Sapnesh deserve special appreciation. From making sure the chaos doesn’t go overboard, to sensibly intercutting the events in both the houses and making them look believable, this is a confident debut by Chidambaram on both fronts. The team’s command over clean situational and verbal humour is something to watch out for. The film is also technically rich, with the art, editing and visual departments putting up a strong show.
This is one of those movies where all the actors have put up a great show that it’s hard to pick a favourite. Basil as the childlike Joymon, who has a serious shortage of ‘Joy’, Arjun Ashokan as the externally tough Sambath, Ganapathy as the caring and empathetical friend Faizal, Balu Varghese as the estranged son Monichan, Lal as the understanding and sensible Kochukunju, Abhiram Pothuval as the witty and smart entrepreneur Akshay Kumar, Sidharth Menon in a surprisingly funny role as Ratheesh, Sruthy Satyan as the carefree sister, Ganga Meera as the supportive yet super cool mother, Gilu Joseph and Ria Saira as the shaken and emotionally drained daughters of Itty Avara, Prapti Elizabeth as the cute friend, Sharath Seba as the hilariously over-committed Palakadan right hand of the goon played by Sajin Gopu, each and every one of them brings out their best performances.
Overall, Jan-E-Man from this talented team is a surprise package that’s all heart and laughs. Just like the scene between Joymon and Monichan towards the end, it’s a film that tries to address something sensitive with an abundant coating of feel goodness and humour.
Verdict: 4/7 Stars.
Malayalam film Jan.E.Man is special for brothers Chidambaram and Ganapathy; it is the former’s debut film as director which he co-wrote with younger brother-actor, Ganapathy.
Jan.E.Man was initially planned as an OTT release
The makers later felt this would do well in theatres as well.
- Shot in late-2020, the film was completed in 35 days.