: Located on a coastal area, Phoenix College always has its students from the city and the locality clashing in the name of one silly matter or the other. When a new Vice Principal takes charge in the college, their focus shifts onto a bigger cause.
: Benny P Nayarambalam and Lal Jose have offered some minty-fresh stories to Mollywood, every time they have collaborated. Velipadinte Pusthakam, starring Mohalal in the lead, is no different. With multiple get-ups of various actors and a different style of narration, the film spices up the story all the more.
Phoenix College, a coastal area educational institution, has a campus like any other with its own set of silly clashes, quirky teachers and shortcomings. Though it was set up for youngsters from the coastal area, many city lads also take admission in the campus and the frivolous clashes between the two sections are everyday affairs there. Micheal Idikkula (Mohanlal) reaches the college as the newly appointed Vice Principal and earns a place of respect too, soon. He starts working with the students for a cause of common concern in the campus.
For a Mohanlal fan, there are enough moments of entertainment in the film – with the actor’s three different get ups, stunts and character layers. The role offers the non-die-hard fans too enough to stay engrossed. The story isn’t predictable at any point and tries to offer a mix of everything – suspense, comedy, drama, romance and even an ounce of the psycho thriller experience. The ‘Pusthakam’ is a decent page turner, despite its length. Anna Rajan as Mary miss, Sarath as Franklin and Anoop Menon as Viswan have also performed well and kudos to the team for their apt casting.
Salim Kumar has many evergreen comedy roles and scenes to his credit, especially in Lal Jose movies, but this isn’t one of them. His character Premraj is the one that has the maximum scope for humour, but it falls flat in most of the scenes. It’s tough to understand why a comedy actor of his calibre had to be made to borrow lines from other films’ comedy sequences, like it’s tastelessly done in many movies these days. For instance, the inclusion of a film shooting scene that is a poor imitation of an evergreen sequence from Azhakiya Raavanan. There is also a scene in which he uses a famous line from Mazhayethum Munpe. Here and there, the movie gets a bit hammy too, like in the first classroom scene of Micheal Idikkula and the one in which the coastal area crowd threatens Sidhique’s character. The initial part of the choreography for the song Mele Arimulla comes across as amateurish. The team could also have tried to shorten the film’s duration, which is too lengthy at 157 minutes.
Velipadinte Pusthakam can offer ample entertainment for those in the mood for an Onam flick. Keep your expectations in check, and it won’t disappoint you.