When all the recent successful films in Mollywood are formulaic to the core, it's requires real guts to attempt a differently structured film, that too with new comers. Producer- Director Lal's 'Tournament' is one such instance which defies the norms of commercial Mollywood story telling and deserves a pat for deviating from the usual mushy love stories/mindless dialogue based action flicks.
The movie is all about the attempts of three young cricketers to participate in the selection trials of the prestigious Kochi team for the APL cricket tournament. As there are very few spaces vacant in the new team, chances are that more than one among three may not find a place in the yet to be announced team. The three decides to go together, but a bike accident eliminates one from the tour. In the events that follow after the cancellation of the flight to the venue, the rest try for some adventurous routes as proposed by Aswathy Alex, their pretty common friend who joins them on the journey.
One of the USPs of 'Tournament' is that every character on the tour to the selection venue at Bangalore, is out to double cross the other, with their portion of grey shades and the dangerous attempts that they indulge in makes it a thrilling cinematic experience. The scenes often get replayed to present the different perspective and standpoints of each one who plays foul in the backdrop.
One of the major highlight of the movie is this novel structuring and presentation. It helps to get the viewers involved from the very start itself and the first half is a roller coaster ride, with the freshers performing in the most believable manner as possible. But the film falters in the post-interval portions, as the stylish packaging remains consistent, but the script goes for a toss. There are loopholes in the screenplay and they partly erase the deep-seated impression that the first half had left on the viewer.
The problem with the movie is also that after a few replays, the viewer start looking for all odd possibilities around and the very grand climax exposure that must trick all becomes the mandatory for such a movie, which is sadly missing. And so this experiment may in the end caters to a tiny section of moviegoers who can be impressed with the story telling methods.
There's no denying that director in Lal has presented the story (with elements from flicks like 'Saroja' to Run Lola Run) with style and panache. Right from the titles to the few scenes before climax, the craftsmanship is visible in every frame. The shot execution is simply fabulous, as Venu's cinematography is also topnotch. But the penultimate scene could have been dealt with a little more depth, which could have given space for the audience to land into the unexpected twist in tale.
Deepak Dev's music scores are trendy, easy on the ears and of the three tracks; two can easily be singled out. 'Manassile' and 'Nila' are hummable while 'Heyoo' is foot tapping. But the BG scores by Alex Paul fail to grow up to the needed level in much of the scenes.
The other highlights of the movie are the performances from the cast. Fahad Fazil is lovable as Viswanathan while Manu definitely has got the safer start. Praveeen as Usman impresses with his comic timing, while Aryan, Prajan and John display their caliber as actors to look forward to, in future. The heroine, Roopa Manjari makes a confident debut in a complicated role. Salimkumar, Bijukuttan and Kochu Preman lend needed support to the young brigade.
On the whole, 'Tournament 'caters more to the youth audience and would appeal to those who understand and appreciate different cinematic experiences. Its business may get thinner as it moves from cities to towns to interiors. Even so, an interesting flick for a one-time watch!