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Prithviraj shines in Chocolate

By Paresh Palicha
October 15, 2007 14:47 IST
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The jinxed pair of Prithviraj and director Shafi (several projects the duo were supposed to do never materialised) seem to have made good the loss of the past with Chocolate -- an unusual campus story about a boy studying in a women's college.

The premise may sound weird when read, but Shafi miraculously pulls it off with gusto. He has pulled off a lighter role with uncanny ease, effectively silencing all those who felt that the young actor was becoming a tad repetitive with his intense roles.

In fact he has even don a petticoat (for a ragging scene)!

The story goes like this: Shyam Balagopal, our hero is a spoilt brat with nine suspensions and seven police cases under his belt. Fed up of her failing son, his mother, who teaches in St Mary's Women's College, uses a loophole in the rules to get him admitted as a first year MA student in the college in the face of strong opposition from a batch of students as well as a few parents.

What follows is a rollicking ride through campus humour, which sometimes borders on innuendoes, but nevertheless flows seamlessly without any feeling of awkwardness. In fact this film can be an advocate for an inclusive society as we see our man struggling to find a urinal to relieve himself. But looking for depth will be futile. So relax and enjoy things while the going is good.

Everything is hunky-dory till the interval. Then, as if as an afterthought, romanceĀ  (between the two warring protagonists) is added which provides the proverbial twist in the plot. This leads to confusion, misunderstanding and jealousy. It feels as if the debutant writer duo of Sachi-Sethu were trying to prove that they are deft in handling different genres.

But the overall bouncy effect does not dissolve till the end. Things move swiftly under Shafi's baton and don't jangle on your nerves.

Apart from Prithviraj, the three ladies Roma, Samvritha and Remya Nambeesan are good. Roma as Ann Mathew has an author backed role as the tomboyish rival turned lover of Shyam. Samvritha as Nandana, the silent one, is good. Remya is also a silent prop.

Among the supporting ensemble, only Salim Kumar (as one of the hero's friends) leaves an impact with his comedy. Rajan P Dev as Nandana's crude father has few scenes to be noticed while Jayasurya as fashion designer Ranjith, smitten by Nandana does not get enough opportunities.

On the whole, Shafi has made a watchable film that has a few highlights, the best among them being Prithviraj.

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