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Times of India
: Basil Joseph may not have made a scintillating debut with his film Kunjiramayanam. However, there are moments when the film shows a tremendous promise, eking out genuine laughter with situations and dialogues that could carry the memorable tag, something that is hard to accomplish.
: One factor that might work in the favour of this film is its unabashed honesty. As a director who has co-written the film, Basil does not shy away from exposing his sources of inspiration - the self-admission comes straight from the character who utters the name of a film (as though by mistake) right at the moment when viewers sense a similarity. This ploy doesn't negate the effect of flaws, but it serves the purpose of inducing a good-hearted laugh, like the one offered to a naughty kid well-versed in cute confessions.
Kunjiramayanam plays out in a fictitious village filled with eccentric characters. A set of hare-brained beings find themselves occupied with the flimsiest of issues like bringing a particular brand of liquor safely to the village to proposed marriages being quelled for varying reasons. Basil does not believe in exuberance while dealing with the general, meaningless nature of villagers and derives fodder from the old, good natured rural tales.
He consumes his time building up sequences to establish the gravity of an issue with a sense of joviality. A part of his effort reaps hilarious results like a fantasy scene in which a character - who watches a coveted liquor bottle being redirected to the ground by the fluttering wings of a crow - exclaims: "It's for the first time something has hit a flying crow."
But, the prolonged treatment of an issue drains away the fun. There is a timid, rather cold attempt at spoof narrating the tale of a village mired in curses and populated with people immune to any kind of logic. Basil does not place his film within a specific time frame which gives him the liberty to give us quirky characters. An ever-drooling dimwit of a lover wears fanciful shirts printed with colourful designs while a scheming tailor has a curly shock of hair going well with his complicated array of ideas.
The film is to be loved for the playful humour resulting from never-ending schemes of weirdos that often misfire, triggering chaos. The director displays a faculty for sudden humour that enables him to patch up the monotony of cliched jokes like an adult film being stuck in a CD player. It is for this reason why none of the actors manage to be a show stealer. They stick to their terrain obediently, following the narrative course.