Films made by good directors influenced by Tamil greats (Mani Ratnam in this case) more often than not have three qualities: intelligent dialogue, subtle humour, and sublime emotions. Bejoy Nambiar's David comes with an additional qualification: it is philosophical too. It doesn't mean that their films (including this) are entertaining from the word go, for they do look unexciting especially when the story line is not "cinematic" enough. The problem only becomes bigger if a nativity is absent (for non-Telugu audiences), and if the denouement is not "climactic" enough.
The film's story tastes like a short story written by a religious-minded but congenitally irreverent novelist. There is a beauty in the story, but could it have lent itself for a full-length feature film? No, if your target audiences are wider than the target audience of a classy "multiplex film maker."
Be that as it may, David deserves praise. Featuring two starry faces like Vikram and Jiiva, the film does come across as an experiment in itself.
Movie is set across different time zones (1999 & 2010) and locations (Mumbai & Goa). Jiiva plays the aspiring guitarist raised in a devout Christian family. He looks like a million bucks and charms in the first half with his chirpy attitude. His desire comes with hurdles owing to his family economic woes. He detests his father's (Nasser) over pious nature and exceeding social conscience, and has big plans of becoming a renowned Guitarist. A local political wing alleges the priest on forcing religion conversion and begrimes the family. Struck in shame and pain, the plot evolves slowly around David and his family. The follow up of incidents provokes young and suave David to take a step that would change his life forever. Lara Dutta makes a special appearance in this side of story as well.
The other David's character is etched as the freaky fisherman in Goa portrayed by Vikram. He essays a hopeless guy who boozes all day and night broods over his problems, only venting it out to Frenny (Tabu). Falling heads over heels for the fairy-tale kind of girl Roma, David jeopardizes his relationship with Roma as she is already engaged with his best friend. He finds solace by voicing his complications to his illusionary dad and Massage owner Tabu. The crux of the story forms by what he does to his love and friend. Watch out to find what happens to both the Davids!
Juxtaposed against the let-go-off attitude of Vikram is the frustration and angry attitude of Jiiva. God seems to have a plan for Jiiva, who is saved from a life of damnation by another angry youth, apparently because God has other plans for him. Vikram, who comes across as an unscrupulous and rugged man who takes pleasure in boozing and beating up just-married brides, is looked up for his mature reaction to a painful situation by no less a person than God's representative on earth.
The scene where a local businessman explains to Jiiva that his father was muzzled because it is business for the politico, who instigated her followers to go after the Christian preacher, is hard-hitting. Just as capitalism's goods are sold by creating wants through advertisements, so also religion is sold like a commodity by politicians, for whom politicizing religion is like doing business. From councilors who don't want to improve sanitation to ministers who don't complete irrigation projects, they will keep alive all kinds of problems so as to survive election after election.
The trauma undergone by Nassar and the scene where he tortures himself with the shaving blade out of sheer agony is heart-touching.
The comedy weaved around Vikram's character is interesting at a few places. A nurse interpreting the obstacles faced by him in marrying Isha Shravani as God's call to 'wake up!' is an example of interspersing humour and seriousness.
For all the pluses, the film is not universal as the emotions would not touch every one. How many know the pain of a person insulted publicly for no fault of his? How many can relate to destiny's curious game with Vikram? There is something poetic (but very much realistic) about an innocent girl fooling around him unwittingly.
Cinematography is by Rathnavelu and P.S.Vinod for respective scenes figuring Vikram and Jiiva and they give an intelligent difference with unique depiction. Music cannot be singled out, as it's a team effort and they have not given any jarring differences and instead treated the movie as two exclusive stories.
Verdict: David becomes the lover, turns into a guitarist, springs as a friend, jumps into a sea of anger, rolls in laughter and all said hold the phone!, the climax is the surprise element in the movie.
David is twin story induced in a single film with all elements making it a worthy watch.