Campus movies have always had a special place in the heart of Malayali audience. We we have seen many beautiful campus stories about fun, friendship, love, politics everything that happens within a campus.
Malayalam cinema has witnessed some wonderful movies set in a campus backdrop like Sarvakalashala, Niram, Nammal and Classmates. Even the dubbed version of Telugu movie, Happy days was celebrated like never before and is even considered as the benchmark movie in this particular genre.
Aanandam is another movie to that bandwagon but entirely different from the above mentioned movies. Aanandam is a sweet coming of age story showing the lives of students in an engineering college presented in a travel mood. The first half is full of life, fun and vibrance. There is a whole lot of freshness in the movie.
The plot slowly evolves as the batch starts their IV trip. The best thing about the movie is, audience could totally relate with the college life and the characters. The four day travel covers Mysore, Hampi and Goa.
The team has done a wonderful job in exploring all the places and capturing the authenticity of these locations. In the coming days we can expect youngsters in Kerala planning trips to Goa via Hampi.
Ganesh Raj has written a simple and beautiful tale of friendships, love and life. There is a smile guaranteed in almost all the scenes. Innocence of the youngsters and how they face various problems during the trip are all conceived beautifully.
The writing is clean and never goes overboard. We do not see characters mouthing lengthy made up dialogues instead it is as if they are asked to perform instinctively. The debutant has arrived in style and he is here to stay.
Visuals are beautifully shot by Anend C Chandran. The forts in Hampi, beaches in Goa are captured in all its glory. Rich and serene visuals enhancing the total mood of the movie. Sachin Warrier has done a brilliant job as a composer in his debut movie. All the songs were awesome and was jelling totally with the narration.
Art department has also done a great job especially the climax sequence. The final few shots in the climax was one of a kind in Malayalam cinema and full credits to this young team.
Coming to the performances, Arun Kurian who played the role of Varun was perfect and he looked convincing as the mother hen of the group. Vishak Nair as Kuppy was a bit overboard during the initial few scenes with his quirky wits, but he slowly evolved and towards the end he totally owned the scene where he bursts out at his friends.
Anu Antony and Roshan Mathew as the fun couple also had their moments especially the latter. The plot majorly revolved around Akshay(Thomas Mathew) trying to win over Dia (Siddhi). Both the actors had good chemistry and portrayed their roles well. Anarkali Menon who essayed the character Darshana was like a silent angel amidst all the fun and chaos.
Roni David as the professor was a revelation and his portions were a laugh riot. Each character has different traits and through the journey they showed us how one can overcome fears, how we should stay true to ourselves and above all how to value relationships.
Last but not least, Vineeth Sreenivasan should be given a lion’s share of credits for producing this movie with a relatively new team and standing by them as a pillar of support. He will be rewarded with a legion of houseful shows.
If Happy Days is the benchmark movie in the genre, then one can say loud and clear that Aanandam stands a notch higher. Such movies are a rarity and should be encouraged without a second thought. Full credits to this young team for giving us this small but beautiful piece of art.
Again don’t wait for the Torrent release. Grab the tickets for the next possible show and spread happiness. Time for Aanandam