You may or may not like 'Four Friends' inspired heavily from the Jack Nikolson-Morgan Freeman flick 'Bucket List', but you may not be able to resist the intense urge to hum the classic Hindi song 'Yeh Dosti...', when you come out of the theatres screening the movie. A best exemplification for how a song can add intense value to an average made flick, director Saji Surendran must this time owe his success with the movie, for the decision to include such a big hit song as the theme setter of the movie. Yes, from the first scene, that is in fact this song visualised on the lead men where the title scrolls go on, you will find this song played another half a dozen times before the movie comes to that heavily melodramatic climax.
The movie has Jayaram as Roy, a multimillionaire, Jaysuriya as Aamir a petty local goonda, Kukchakko as Soorya, a college lad from a well to do family and Meera Jasmine as Gowry, all suffering from a fatal disease and taking treatment from the interestingly maintained swanky resort like hospital named Pratheeksha run by Dr Nandakumar (Ganesh). In the course of their stay in the hospital where many others are treated for terminal illness, the four gradually make thick friendship. As they are sure to fall out of life in immediate future, they decide to make their rest of the life a big celebration by completing their final wishes and going to various places including Malaysia, where Soorya's Girlfriend lives.
The movie, though made with a noble message and intentions of spreading positivity, lacks the emotional depth and realism in its entire course of narratives. Except for the Kamal Haasan scene and the realistic dialogues that the universal actor uses to sermonise, even mentioning the names of Sathyan, Sreevidhya and Gowthami, most of the other dialogues penned by Krishna Poojappura lacks depth and intensity of a film that tells such a powerful, arresting premise. The sequence involving Lalu Alex and Seema and some dialogues by Meera Jasmine all invites heavy booing from the onlookers for its resemblance to emotional melodrama on mini screen. All the crew seems to have been in an easy go attitude, even while attempting a theme of potential. Though there are occasional suggestions about chemotherapy, neuro drugs and radiation, the actors appear with gym toned body and heavy make-ups at their desperate times and it is sure that the priority was just to use the disease as a potential tearjerker, than any serious attempt on telling lives of positivity. The action scene involving the quartet seems forcefully attached to the narratives. Little care has been given even to check the continuity of wigs used by different stars in the movie. But it must also be mentioned that it was only due to the packaging of the young director Saji Surendran, by which 'Four friends' has managed to end up as a passable film as it is now, at least for the family viewers.
In the acting front, Kamal Haasan in an exceptional cameo, in a very realistic performance in the entire movie works really well for the film which till then finds it's difficult to land to its premise. Another actor to note is Jayasuriya who gives another facet of gifted artistry with the role of Aamir. All others in the lead are just okay for their roles, though Kunchakko Boban appears more matured. At the same time Salimkumar and Suraj Venjaramoodu fail big time in making the sequences lighter, as their most of the attempts to tickle the funny vein falls flat.
The technical side of the movie is worth mentioning with Anil Nair attempting different and difficult shots all through, with better results. The shots in the climax from the suicidal bridge need special mention, and movie may succeed in promoting Malaysia as a tourism destination for Malayalees who hadn't been there. M Jayachandran seems to have earmarked some of his best songs in the recent times for the movie, which are all visualised colorfully.
All in all, 'Four Friends' may appeal to female folks who are regulars before television tearjerkers. For all others it may appear heavily melodramatic and far from any reality. But it must also be stated that even with these all shortcomings, Saji Surendran still has chances to market this to a family hit and complete his 'hatrick' in creating money making films.