Gods assuming human forms have always made for amusing storytelling, provided they are written and staged right. Rejishh Midhila’s pleasingly quirky and hilarious new film, Innu Mudhal, is one of those. It casts Kumbalangi Nights-fame Suraj Pops, a refreshingly unconventional choice for playing Lord Krishna.
He addresses everyone as ‘Bro’ or ‘Dude’ and even speaks in a Kochi dialect, using commonplace phrases like, say, “Athokke scene aanu, man” (That’s a problem, man).
He even breaks a few myths, especially with regard to his colour, appearance and the number of women in his life. When one character asks him about his gopikas, he clarifies, “It’s all make-belief, man. I have only one woman, and she has started suspecting me because of those stories.” And when Abhinandan (Siju Wilson) asks him about his flute and peacock, Krishna retorts, “If I walked around looking like that now, people might start calling me something else.”
But Krishna is not the protagonist of Innu Mudhal. It’s Abhinandan, who happens to be an uber driver with mounting debts, and Siju Wilson fits the character like a T. Abhinandan is someone who would remind you of some of those iconic debt-ridden characters played by Mohanlal in the 80s.
But he is not a completely virtuous man either. His unscrupulous behaviour is something that even Krishna got fed up with, a reason for his — in statue, sticker, and calendar form walking out from the former’s home.
This particular segment, where Abhinandan goes around looking everywhere for any Krishna-related iconography, combined with the scenes following the arrival of the “real-life” Krishna, are some of the film’s most entertaining moments.
Krishna wants to change Abhinandan’s life, but he won’t conjure up cash out of thin air to help him out either. “Giving other people money is not my job. You are not the only one in Kochi who needs cash,” he fires back.
However, he agrees to do something for Abhinandan show him his vishwaroopam if he mends his ways.
Innu Mudhal, which is now streaming on Zee5, has hardly four to five characters. I would be remiss if I did not mention Gokulan as Abhinandan’s neighbour and drinking buddy, Eldhoppi. Gokulan scores in every scene of his.
Be it his misguided attempts at pacifying Abhinandan or ridiculing him for seeing things that are not there, or his initial disbelief upon Krishna looking like some random guy on the street, Gokulan is a riot. I also cracked up at Eldhoppi’s interactions with his son, who seems way mature beyond his years.
It’s after the arrival of veteran Hindi actor Uday Chandra as a man who recently went blind in the third act that Innu Mudhal becomes a poignant Anbe Sivam-style drama.
Innu Mudhal is a perfect example of a film with a simple core idea narrated with enough colour and ingenuity. Gifted cinematographer Eldho Issac lends an appropriately magical quality to the film, with some enthralling light-and-shadow play.
Innu Mudhal is not without its flaws. If there is one place it falters slightly, it’s Abhinandan’s love track, which felt unnecessary to me, considering his meeting with her doesn’t last more than two scenes.
Thankfully, we don’t get any song-and-dance routines, and it also helps that Innu Mudhal has a runtime of 105 minutes.
The strength of its message also elevates it, irrespective of its simplicity and familiarity. Innu Mudhal makes you feel good without overdoing it.
Film: Innu Mudhal
Director: Rejishh Midhila
Cast: Siju Wilson, Suraj Pops, Gokulan, Indrans, Uday Chandra
Streaming on: Zee5