'Gaganchari' movie review: A fun sci-fi film that celebrates old-school Malayalam cinema

'Gaganchari' movie review: A fun sci-fi film that celebrates old-school Malayalam cinema

KB Ganesh Kumar in 'Gaganchari'

KB Ganesh Kumar in 'Gaganchari' | Photo Credit: Think Music/YouTube

Arun Chandu's film is a brilliant blend of two different time periods. skywalkerOne is a story that evokes fear and the other is a story that evokes nostalgia. The events take place in a Kerala devastated by floodwaters and facing the threat of an alien invasion, even as the conversations between the lead characters evoke references and sensibilities of Malayalam cinema of the 80s and 90s.

It's an odd balance the makers are attempting here, something that could have easily faltered. But they land somewhere in the right place, partly because pop culture memories are powerful and partly because of how well they leverage VFX and AI-generated imagery, creating a believable world despite a limited budget.

Gaganchari (Malayalam)

Director: arun chandoo

Mould: KB Ganesh Kumar, Gokul Suresh, Anarkali Marikar, Aju Varghese

Runtime: 115 minutes

Plot: After the cataclysm in Kerala, a documentary team arrives to make a film on alien hunter Victor, who is locked in a futuristic bunker with two assistants. An alien arrives to complicate matters

Most of the time we spend inside the futuristic but cramped hideout of Victor (KB Ganesh Kumar), a national hero due to his past exploits in alien hunting. A team of documentary filmmakers visit the bunker to make a film about him. A good portion of the film shows Victor and his companions Alan (Gokul Suresh) and Vaibhav (Aju Varghese) going about their chaotic routine inside the bunker, which gets further complicated by the arrival of an alien (Anarkali Marikar).

A part of the setting, including a romantic track involving an alien, is reminiscent of Krishnendu Kalesh's song Hawks Muffin. However, it is made with a different sensibility and mood, which is light-hearted for the most part. The humor comes not just from the exchanges between the characters but also from the names (an alien called Eliamma) and even the voices (a virtual assistant who speaks like a popular travel show host, a young alien who speaks in the voice of a seasoned actor, much to the dismay of her would-be human lover).

Outside, there are wars over petrol and an oppressive government has banned petrol vehicles and monitored the use of electric vehicles. A fearful right-wing army roams the streets, enforcing moral codes, while synthetic 'geef' has replaced beef in the diet. All the pop-culture humour takes place in this context, which makes it all the more interesting. At the centre of the film is a story that goes nowhere, but it feels like a setting for these characters to take us on a fun, nostalgic trip through the films that have enriched our everyday conversations over the years. Still, at some level, the bigger anxiety about climate change and oppressive power structures getting stronger registers in our minds.

Also read:Parvathy Thiruvothu reveals why she was scared of her role in Malayalam film 'Ulozhukku'

Ganesh Kumar probably hasn't had this much fun in a role in a long time, playing the role of the flamboyant Victor who is steeped in past glory well. Gokul Suresh, who has not been impressive in most of his previous films, surprises everyone with the way he handles humour. Cinematographer Surjeet S.Pai and music director Shankar Sharma have carried the mood of the film forward.

In skywalkerWe see a filmmaker who is free from the pressures of the market, taking risks and letting his imagination run wild. Some of these miss the mark, but the ones that succeed are worthwhile.

Gaganchari is currently running in cinemas

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