There is a history and tradition of political films in Kerala. These films deal with topical issues or those that are of historical significance.
The most prominent among the issues tackled by this genre is the positive and negative impact of communism on the lives of common people. These include films that deal with the corruption and stagnation that have crept into leftist ideology.
"Pouran", the latest offering from director Sundar Das starring Jayaram, is an addition to the legion of such films. But it is doubtful whether it will reach the cult status achieved by some of its predecessors.
The basic flaw with this attempt is the lack of firepower needed in such a project. Sure, it is topical. But writer Sajeevan's attempt to incorporate family drama and a love triangle robs the film of its intensity.
Divakaran (Jayaram) is an upright opposition MLA, more concerned with the well-being of the common people than with creating roadblocks for the government, which seems to be his party's official line.
He becomes an eyesore for the leaders of his own party, whose only motto is profiteering from any situation. But they cannot do anything about him because the Young Turk has got the support of the masses.
On the personal front, Divakaran is a simpleton with no personal aspirations. He was raised by a well-wisher after his father was killed. The well-wisher's son, Thomas (Riyaz Khan), is an MLA from the ruling coalition and is Divakaran's closest friend.
He is in love with Anne (Geetu Mohandas), his political mentor's daughter, but sacrifices it because his friend also expresses his love for her and wants to marry her.
There are rhetorical references to how the state has failed to reinvent its socialist ideals for economic development unlike China or West Bengal. The film suggests that socialism only thrives in poverty and uses its redundant tools like strikes to bring a place to a standstill.
Jayaram gives a credible performance. The audience, however, cannot help comparing him with the other stars who have played similar roles with aplomb.
Riyaz Khan is mellowed in the first goodie-goodie role of his career. Geetu Mohandas just has some moments.
Kalabhavan Mani is his true self. The screen lights up whenever he comes on, though there is nothing exceptional in his villainous role.
On the whole, "Pouran" is a so-so fare that had the potential to be good.