Story: Venkidi, who has a slight hearing impairment, dreams of making an aircraft on his own. He is termed crazy by all but his girlfriend Janaki stands by him. Their lives take a different turn following a move made by Janaki to help him realise his dreams.
Review: Vimaanam, inspired by the real-life story of Saji M Thomas, a speech and hearing impaired person, is the debut of director Pradeep M Nair. Set in a small village in Kerala, sometime in the pre-internet, Ambassador car erfa, it shows a young boy, who has no access to aeroplanes or their machinery, dreaming of making and flying an aircraft one day. Expectedly, he is termed crazy by all, and a slight hearing impairment earns him an additional nickname - 'pottan'. But Venkidi (Prithviraj) isn't discouraged, and with the help of his father figure (Alencier), manages to soar over his village one day in his own aircraft, but not before going through a series of failures. Meanwhile, his childhood sweetheart turned lady love Janaki (Durga Krishna) is all in support of his dreams but at a crucial juncture, takes a rash decision, in an attempt to help him. But the incident changes their lives forever.
The film has a series of spectacular scenes featuring an amateur aircraft taking off, flying, landing, crashing.. all of which are convincing and shot beautifully, something we couldn't have imagined in a Malayalam film a decade back. The music by Gopi Sunder complements the scenes and all in all, Vimaanam is a visually rich, neatly packaged film, without a dull moment.
Prithviraj as Venkiti has two looks, one as the young dreamer villager and the second as a grey-haired scientist. The actor had lost a lot of weight to play a teenager, but somehow, it feels like he does the older dignified act better than that of a shy and diffident villager, in terms of the mannerisms and body language. Alencier's is one of his best performances so far, while Durga Krishna makes a decent debut as the village belle deeply in love with her man.
However, towards the second half, the film becomes less about flying and more about romance, which offers nothing new. With a stereotypical father bent on getting his daughter married to his rich NRI nephew and the mandatory slap, the romance looks straight out of the 90s. At times, the dialogues and responses seem a bit theatrical. Perhaps, if the inspiring career of the protagonist had been explored further, the film could have been an even more successful experiment from a debutant director with great promise.