As I have mentioned already, I just re-activated my Netflix discs and immediately requested every Malayalam film they have available. Which means I am going to end up with some stinkers. This one wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t very good, or interesting. But not quite bad enough that I could justify stopping in the middle (it takes a lot for me to stop in the middle of a movie).
The real triumph of this movie is to make me go “Hey! Jayasurya really has something!” I talk in my book about the Shahrukh show I went to, how we were all “Abishek, pff! I don’t even care!” And then he walked in and we all Lost. Our. Minds. Because even the lowliest star is still a star.
I just checked his list, and my list, and I think I’ve only seen him playing villain type parts, and in Punyalan Agarbattis. And now it’s coming back to me, I really got excited about him in that! And then I saw Classmates, with him opposite Prithviraj, and I went “eh”. And then Iyobinte Pusthakam opposite Fahad Fasil and “eh” again. But now, seeing him in a hero role opposite a bunch of nobodies, oh boy! I am back in on Jayasurya! But only in mediocre movies with a bland cast opposite him. So it’s really not worth it.
This really was a mediocre movie. I almost turned it off, but then Jayasurya showed up, so I kept watching. And such a brainless set-up! They are friends because they are in a band? But it’s never clear if they perform or have regular rehearsals or anything? So much better in, for instance, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na, where you felt like they had actual band concerns besides hanging out!
(See, playing a wedding! That’s a normal band thing!)
And the cast was so bleh! Well, mostly. The second heroine was pretty good. It was her first movie, and she was the only one (so far as I can tell) who really went on to have anything close to a career. The rest of them were just people onscreen reciting lines, so far as I could see.
The plot was kind of interesting. I’ll save you the disappointment I had and tell you know, it is NOT about HIV. Why in the world would you name a movie “Positive” and not have it be about HIV? I was so sure that was going to be a mindblowing twist at some point! In fact, that is going to be my whole summary, all of the moments when they could have made a statement about HIV….and then didn’t.
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Right, they’re in a band! Our heroine Vani Kishore is the singer, two other guys Skanda and Ramesh Pisharody have been in the band with her since their childhood at camp, and the “new” guy Manikuttan (I think. I may have mixed up some of those actors, if anyone else has actually seen this movie, correct me!) has been part of the band for the past 5 years. And then they sing! For no real reason? There’s something about how it’s their anniversary so they are celebrating, and then suddenly it’s a music video of them singing in deserted cheap filming locations with no extras all over the city.
But, life moves on, post celebration they all go off to their little conflicts. Well, except Ramesh, his character never really gets a backstory. Vani’s mother is a powerful politician who is never around and wants her to get married. Skanda comes from a loving household, but his lawyer father is hated by the police so he is sometimes hassled by them. Manikuttan is rich but his parents are in Dubai, and he is left to shift for himself in Kerala.
Jayasurya arrives to view Vani, and adorably, she has the band serve as the family from her side, because her mother is out of town. But that also kind of makes it go wrong, because Jayasurya pulls her aside and objects to her closeness to the band, and she tells him off, and the marriage falls apart.
Meanwhile, Skanda’s little love story starts when he takes a bus ride and the girl sitting next to him throws up. Ananya, the best actor in the movie of the young people. He volunteers to stay with her at the little clinic at the next stop until she is well enough to ride the bus again the next day. And I think “Oh cool! I bet she is going to be sick because she is HIV positive! How neat, to have this little innocent love story with a positive person!”
But, no. It’s just a meet cute. They bump into each other again back in the city, start hanging out, and fall in love. Awwwww. But, right when he is expecting her to come meet his family, she doesn’t show up. And then she isn’t at her hostel any more. And he can’t figure out what happened. Okay, NOW she’s HIV positive! She’s found out her status and has removed herself from his life for his own good!
But, no. Cool twist though, Vani calls Skanda after months of his hunting for Ananya and asks him to come meet her right away at her apartment. And when he walks in, there’s a huge crowd gathered, including Jayasurya (yay!) who is a cop, studying a guy who hung himself from the ceiling fan. And over in the corner, Ananya! HIS WIDOW!!!! And she lived next door to Vani this whole time!!!
So, clearly, the dead guy is the HIV positive one, right? And Ananya will have to get tested, and we will learn a lesson about how it can spread to “good” married women just like everyone else? And how the “good” husband material guy isn’t always that great? I watched the whole rest of the movie waiting for that twist. And it never came!
Some other kind of nice twists did happen though. Ananya had to marry her husband because he helped her family out and they owed him. Vani became her only friend. Vani tries to get Jayasurya to help them now, but Jayasurya is all hard and cop like, while still charming and good onscreen. Seriously, it’s like he was the only one who even knew which direction to face to be on camera, how to wear a costume, had a professional make-up person, all of that!
(Although they also stuck him in this very odd green screened love song)
The kids decide to investigate themselves, especially after Skanya becomes a suspect. They find out that the husband was a drug addict and passing counterfeit money at work. So, there is a bit of a lesson about how “perfect arranged husband material” guys aren’t necessarily that great. They also figure out, after seeing the bottle the drugs came in, that they saw Manikuttan with similar stuff, and he is into drugs too! Unspecified unclear drugs! But, you know, bad ones.
Manikuttan confesses in like five seconds. Luckily, they’ve brought in Jayasurya to help. His shirt magically changes color off and on through out this scene, and yet I don’t care about the flagrant lack of continuity, because it is just so good to have a grown-up onscreen!
Manikuttan and Jayasurya go off to confront his gang, who they suspect of being behind the killing. Massive fight scene! Which really isn’t that impressive! Although, that could just be because 1:Nenokkadine spoiled me.
And then it turns out they didn’t do it after all? Because, the long hair found at the crime scene was dyed! Which is a bit of a misdirect, because we had a lengthy scene in which Vani’s eeeeeeeeevil politician mother is painting on hair dye while talking. And we already heard that her mother gave Vani counterfeit money to give the guard to pay their utility bill. Maybe the mother is somehow involved in the counterfeit money scam and killed Ananya’s husband because of that?
But, nope! This movie isn’t that interesting. No, it was the maid and the building guard all along. None of the wealthy “real” people. It was just like an old-school Agatha Christie or something, where it’s always the characters with bad blood or who aren’t “one of us”. Right, the maid was cleaning the house, found the stock of counterfeit money, called the guard to help steal it, the husband walked in, they killed him, and hung him on the fan. And then started passing the bad money.
And that’s kind of it? There really isn’t that much to talk about with this film. A couple of odd songs, a great performance from Jayasurya, and a plot that is almost clever, but not quite.