Finally, it seems to be the time to call a spade a spade. For those who haven't read Norwegian author Henrik Ibsen's classic play "Master Builder", 'Aakashagopuram' - the new Malayalam movie made on it, will be a sluggish, pretentious affair that hardly offers anything to treasure. And for those who had been with the master work, the movie is nothing more than an indifferent but awkward attempt. It is too sad to say that Director K P Kumaran, in his attempt to make a very faithful adaptation of the epic play, ends up making the flick as a dull, verbose drama.
The movie which made headlines much before the release, primarily due to the international crew associated with the project and for the lavish budget that was being offered, lives up little to the expectations. The movie has Mohanlal as Albert Samson, the middle aged, and much ambitious and renowned architect. A Known master in constructing churches, his custom to climb up the completed castles to perform a dedication ceremony was always widely admired with surprises by the masses. Having reached the pinnacle of his profession, with a singular pursuit for fame and glory, he had been sacrificing his personal life and ethics. He lands up in further turmoil as younger generation under him, asks for professional freedom. Samson has already pulled down his mentor Abraham, who is now in his death bed with a last wish of seeing his son Alex, an assistant to Samson, as an independent builder. Samson has also crushed the peaceful life of his wife Alice, who is now left mentally unstable, following the untimely death of her twin children and parents. Into this hardened design of Samson's mind arrives a spirited girl, Hilda Varghese, who slowly but hypnotically prepares him to climb down the way of the ambitions, realizing the real tragic consequences.
The movie which is snailishly paced even in its one and half hour narratives largely remains as a play pictured on a film. Faltering largely to give visuals to the ibsenisque symbolisms, many of the celebrated imageries like ''Nine dolls'' and every ''curious stories'' attached with the discourses between Hilda and Samsun lay flat in the ill constructed script lines. At times the visuals move to left and right as if we view in a proscenium and the actors follow the light patches in circles and rectangles, not bettering anything than in a drama stage, with little eye for cinematic wizardry.
Even Mohanlal, who tries to portray the mental tussle of Samson, fails to deliver them with sincerity ending up lip syncing umpteeth theatrical dialogues in one go. The new heroine Nithya shows sparkle in his debut venture and lives up to the mark but is often letdown by the overly heard voice patterns of her voice dubber.
Santhosh Thundiyil is the one man who has brilliantly captured the idyllic and picturesque London and its lakes, pastoral villas and dales, to lessen the suffering of this dialogue drama. Sabu Cyril's meticulous designs go well with the movie, but with the below par direction where even a close up of the well constructed castle cannot be kept cinematically engaging and realistic, the technician's work is not perfected.
The film is sure to raise very few discussions, as it rarely matches the power of the original in depicting insatiable desires that built and destroy humans. Even with such great artists like Lal and Bharath Gopi and with more than sufficient funds, this is the golden opportunity that was missed out by the director, to carve his name permanently in the history of Mollywood cinema.