S L Puram Jayasurya's ‘Angel John’ opens as a racy youthful story with plenty of directorial gimmicks and style in the very first hour. But with the advent of a too unrealistic angel, the movie suddenly appear to be in the genre of kids films, that isn't trying to be anything else. That too with the super star Mohanlal as the angel, the director is left with no choices but to fill in the later half to satisfy the star's fans, with the angel throwing himself into all kinds of star tantrums, fights and slow motions. And for those who feels it likable enough to right this point have that fatal third act, where the movie abruptly and unapologetically turns into the kind of predictable handkerchief-friendly melodrama-sentimental fest. And with that, we are pretty sure that we have a downer in our hands, though made with much noble intentions.
The movie has Santhanu Bhagiyaraj debuting into Malayalam as Maradona, a spoilt brat who fools around doing all nonsense for just a fun (''Oru Rasam'', as it is heard repeatedly all through in the film which paradoxically offers not much ''Rasam''). Being a failure in his studies, this commerce student, the only son of Bank manager Joseph (Lalu Alex) and Mary (Ambika) is now after ways to make easy money, to prove himself before his dad. His company of bad friendship and attitudes makes him fail in every endeavors like the internet cafe business and even drugs trading.
Maradona's father who is heavily affected by his son's ways suffers a heart attack, while Maradona is finally thrown out of his house. Much shattered with this, the young boy now decides to commit suicide by jumping into the sea from a light house, but is miraculously held back from the deed by a divine angel who appears from the skies. The angel now enter into an agreement with the prankster and decides to grant him a boon, every day. The film follows to tell how the association with the guardian angel spell wonders in Maradona's life, changing him to some one whom he never was.
The film, though with a different storyline and heavy messages seemingly inspired from films like ‘Bhootnath’ to it's wonderful life (1946), fails to work at the needed level as the director fails to find a narrative lineup that is either realistic or filled with elements of fantasy. The central path that he opts, is filled with plenty of cliches, which fails to ensure that there's anything enough in the story which could keep non-children of every age involved.
The other matter of curious interest is the in-film and subliminal advertising that the film stick to, in every adjacent frames. The movie can be readily advised for a communication student who has a taste in these kind of studies. From the sequences that deliberately show the inner wear brand to the carefully found wordings on the Maradona's T- shirts, the art director and the director seems have given heavy thoughts on to pick and write the right sequences to feature the products.
Santhanu Bhagiyaraj is clearly likable and adequate to the role, having finesse in every departments associated with filmi acting, But his loud dubbing takes out the grace of the character. Mohanlal is graceful as usual and does his role with Elaan, he often saves the sequences and often at least tries to. But had another fresh face appeared in the role, the majority would have looked on the film as a different attempt. But here his star image comes in the way of the characterization, which ultimately leads to messing up of the events. The supporting cast of Vijayaragahvan, Lalu Alex and Ambika are apt for the roles while Nithya shines as limping Soffie. Jagathy also appear in a distinct role of Khadar Moosa who is always ready to risk his life to find his name in the list of Limca book of records.
The technical side of the movie is indeed a winner with Ajayan Vincent and Bijith Bala doing a good job in cinematography and editing. While the two songs in the film set to music by year's national award winner Ouseppachan’ will not stay in your hearts, his background score and title music are exceptional.