Almost a two decade ago, it was Renjith who asked Mohanlal to lip-sync the dialogue "I will be there just before you put the ice cube to the last peg". It was for the character Jagannathan, the movie which had him become one of the biggest Mollywood hits of all times. The lovers of the star and character followed his screen habits when he was living as Induchoodan, Sreehari and Karthikeyen. And within a decade Kerala was ready to find heroism in every drinking habits and men, which catapulted it to the biggest consumer of foreign liquor.
But in another decade, so much has changed.. And even our Renjith too found solace in more refined stories which told more of ordinary men and contemporary realities. The latest from him - 'Spirit' seems be a statement of remorse from the director. A movie with a social commitment; more about the habits that majority of malayali men are currently into.
No silly romance of the over aged, or no super human vengeance tale here. All you see is the versatility of a refined storyteller who turns his camera to a story that one has witnessed many times in life away from movie cameras.
The movie has Mohanlal as Raghunandan, an England-returned ex-bank employee, who has done with his thankless, tiresome jobs. After proving himself as a journalist in other metros across the nation, he is now back to Kerala writing a novel named 'Spirit', more on his own life. He has a select list of best friends in the city including Meera -his ex-wife (Kaniha) and Alexy - Meera's husband (Shanker Ramakrishnan) who runs a resort in the city. Sunny, the only son of Raghu and Meera, with hearing and speaking disability is with his mother.
The cinema is more a chronicle of the life of Raghu, or how it make over itself into the novel. Raghu's sarcasm finds expression in his channel show - 'show de' spirit' -where he takes on a stupid politician to an earnest IPS officer. With an extensive collection of vintage drinks, Raghu is never repentant about his drinking habits or about his alcoholic, mocking nature which had led to the collapse of his martial life. But the fate had much more aching, drifting tales to offer him than his own- right from that of Manian (Nandhau), the drunken husband of his home maid Pankajam or the death of Sameer (Sidhharth) due to liver Cirrhosis. And it really rings the time for change....
The scripts and sequences of 'Spirit' are brilliantly crafted by Ranjith, who as usual etches out the best from his cast. And as you expect, Mohanlal is a treat to watch while displaying the life like lunacy of an alcoholic. Another perfect display of his acting dexterity, he is free of his heroic ornamentation's here in a role that is sure to be in his lists of bests. The others around him on screen acquire the celestial vigor from Lal, be it kaniha, Nandhu or the debutante Shankar Ramakrishnan, all putting up brilliant displays. Thilakan, Govindankutty, Madhu and Lena excelled in their shorter roles as is the case of every others on scenes. The songs by Rafeeq Ahmed-Shahbaz Aman team talked of sheer poetry and a couple like 'ee chillayil' are worth hearing many times more. The technical sides are top notch with good BGM support and fine visuals by Venu.
Though some may feel a big of drag while you are getting ready for a reformation, this 'Spirit' never lets you lose the track. A refreshing film, which just doesn't warrant to be missed.