A still from ‘Romancham’
The Ouija board is nothing new in horror movies. After all, there’s no better excuse than a board to open a portal to another world and summon wandering souls. But this eternal source of the supernatural becomes something else. RomanceJeethu Madhavan’s debut film. What happens around him often evokes uproarious laughter rather than fear. One of the reasons is how the director, who also wrote the film’s script, has envisioned the scenario. Others are some top-notch comedic performances from the entire cast, with impeccable timing.
It all takes place inside a rented house in Bengaluru in 2007, with seven bachelors struggling to survive despite having the time of their lives. The mix includes two men who have a job, a failed businessman, two who are forever waiting for a job offer after an interview, and two who have no job. It’s easy for viewers to fit into this small world of diverse characters, all of whom stand out in their own way, with their own unique brand of craziness. For anyone who has lived in the city during this period, the world the film creates is quite relatable.
Director: Jeethu Madhavan
Cast: Subin Shaheer, Arjun Ashokan, Saju Sunny, Abin Banu, Jagdish Kumar, Afzal PH, Sajan Gopu, Anantharman Ajay, Chemban Vinod
As in any bachelor household like this, there is the man in charge who is trying hard to create a semblance of order amidst the debauchery, and there is also the man who tries to correct his ways. Denies and fights for his right to use. Pan Masala. Curiosity gives way to fear when seven of them summon a spirit using a Ouija board. The arrival of a new person with strange behavior problems complicates matters further.
With its organic flow and uncomplicated scenarios, it may seem like an easy script to write, but to pull off something so seamlessly, the writer must have a clear understanding of what’s on screen. Will work and what to leave out. To Jitu’s credit, almost everything here works like a charm. The bachelor room scene itself has enough elements to evoke laughter. Unsold Western commodes from a failed businessman fill a good portion of the room, along with makeshift chairs, a rice box, and even a friend’s wedding present.
When the supernatural elements enter, the script also leaves some room for us to doubt the events. Sushin Shyam has composed the songs and the background score which complements the quirky mood of the entire film. After a long time Subin Shaheer gets a role that suits his acting, while Arjun Ashokan masterfully handles a character that is difficult to pull off. But it’s the crop of new actors who propel the film in every way, complementing each other.
Romance Considering the fact that so much could be done with this set of characters, leaves us with the promise of a sequel, something to look forward to. Horror-comedy is a genre that requires a very delicate balance, and Jeethu Madhavan gets it right, making it one of the best of its kind in Malayalam cinema.