Appan Review: A terrific tale of a dysfunctional family
Malayalam cinema has seen several films about dysfunctional families. But not many like ‘Appan’. Maju KB’s film, set amidst a sprawling rubber estate, reminds one instantly of KG George’s classic ‘Irakal’. The treatment in both these films are also similar, and the result — a terrifically disturbing film like its inspiration.
Appan, the titular protagonist in the film, is played by Alencier Ley. His character Ittychan is bedridden. But not one person has an ounce of sympathy for him. He is a foul-mouthed, cruel womaniser who was a nuisance to the whole village during his heydays. Even after being half paralysed, he doesn’t mend his ways. He continues to harras, abuse and torture his family. His son Njoonju (Sunny Wayne) takes care of the family, which comprises of the mother Kuttyamma (Pauly Valsan), his wife Rosy (Ananya) and their son. All the family members await for Ittychan’ death, while the villagers who had bitter experiences with him in the past hatch plans to kill him. Njoonju, who tries his best not to be like his father, desperately wants him to die but isn’t willing to kill or let others kill him.
Appan is a great example for how minimal but effective writing can elevate a film. Almost the entire film is set within the house and the rubber estate behind it. But it hardly feels monotonous because of the grip in making. The screenplay is also structured smartly for the viewer to never complain of any lags.
Appan is studded with brilliant performances from all the actors. As Njoonju, Sunny Wayne delivers his career best act. He conveys the trauma and agony of a son, who despises his dad brilliantly. The women in the film — Pauly Valsan, Ananya, Grace Antony and the actor who played Sheela’s role are also equally brilliant. However, the standout performer is still Alencier. Despite having just half of his body to perform, the actor comes up with a performance that ensures every single person watching the film will hate Ittychan. We have seen Ittychans in our films before, as cruel villains who get killed by the hero. But here, we get to see the character in-depth, understand his psyche and the irredeemable ways. Alencier pulls it off stunningly.
The makers of ‘Appan’ have made a smart decision by opting for an OTT release. It is not an easy watch for everyone, but those who choose to watch it, will definitely love it and see themselves digging deep about the characters even after the film is over.