Trust Vinayan to surprise you every time he comes out with a film. The director staunchly defies the star system that has gripped Malayalam cinema for years and succeeds on his own terms. His new film "Albhuthadweep" is nothing short of a miracle.
Inspired by "Gulliver's Travels", it features no less than 300 real dwarfs.
In recent times, Vinayan has taken upon himself the additional mantle of being the savior of Prithviraj, whose acting career is on a downslide due to his tiff with the Artistes Association. So you have Prithviraj as the hero.
Welcome to this Wonder Island (as the title suggests), where no man is more than three feet tall but the women are of normal size and extraordinarily beautiful due to a 1,000-year-old curse.
The island is called Vamanapuri with its own king and kingdom, hierarchy and populace. The director (who is also the writer) takes the first half an hour to explain life on this strange island.
The story then moves forward as six personnel of the Indian Navy swim to the shores of this island when their helicopter crashes. Two of them are immediately killed by the dwarfs because they see any man of normal height as a demon that will lure their women and wealth away.
How the other four save themselves from the wrath of these Lilliputians and sail back to their own world forms the rest of the story.
Vinayan deserves full marks for making this daring film. He has made the film topical by mentioning the tsunami and justifying the possibility that such an island might exist.
Technically, the set design by Saloo George is top rate. The cinematography by Shaji is magical because care is taken to make the tiny characters look normal in their surroundings, which makes the story somewhat credible.
On the performance side, Pakru, who plays prince Gajendran, the brave heir-apparent of the kingdom of Vamanapuri, is the real star of this film and carries the film on his tiny shoulders.
Prithviraj is sincere as the young naval officer. Model Malaika Kapoor as the beautiful princess just fits the bill. Jagathy Sreekumar, Jagadish, Indrans and Kalapana ably support the main leads.
The only grudge we can have against this film is the overuse of sexual innuendoes in the dialogues, which give a downmarket and crass feel to the otherwise classy product.