With hardly any movie releasing in the multiplexes this summer in Bombay, I decided to watch a Malayalam film "Passenger" just to stay in touch with my roots. Since the release of this film coincided with my cousin's wedding in Cochin, I watched this film in Cochin since Malayalam movies hardly release in Bombay.
Passengers gives the ordinary filmgoer a hope that there are new filmmakers, who want to try something out of the ordinary. The film written and directed by Mr. Ranjith Shankar, stays away from the cliches as far as possible. The gist of the film is simple: a common man with the courage can take on the high and mighty and fight injustice.
The backdrop of this film is a train journey and a group of people who use the train daily to earn their livelihood. They become friends with fellow travellers and pass their time playing cards and gossiping. Sathyanathan (Srinivasan) is a member of one such group. His character is established as an activist with zeal; running a signature campaign for cleaner toilets in Indian trains and demanding more trains on busy routes. But this is looked down upon by his family and friends. Running parallel to this is the story of a couple Nandan Menon (Dilip) and his wife Anuradha (Mamta Mohandas), who is a television journalist. They are also social activists. They locked horns with no less than the Home Minister Thomas Chacko (Jagathy Srikumar) over an environmentally disastrous case of sandmining.
There are numerous things for watching the film apart from the basic story and structure: This maybe the first Malayalam movie where new age technology tools like 3G cell phones, webcams, laptops are shown in positive light. Thankfully, the story is not overly dialogue-driven. Srinivasan is the pivotal character around whom the whole story revolves. Thankfully, there is no overdose of self-deprecatory humour. Dilip happily plays that maybe termed as a parallel lead. Mamta Mohandas is restricted to a tiny role and her oomph quotient has also been confined, which is a rarity.
On the whole, Passenger is worth your time and money.