Nobody likes uncooked food. I have decided to cook it properly and then serve it,” Malayali director Alphonse Puthren said in September 2022 when a fan asked about the release date of his new film Gold. So, has the movie starring Prithviraj Sukumaran and Nayanthara, which was released this week, lived up to the audience’s tastes as Puthren promised? Well, yes and no.
Returning to the director’s seat after seven years — since the massive success of Premam (2015) — can be overwhelming, especially when you are trying out a slightly different genre. Gold is unlike anything Puthren has ever made. The only similarity Gold has with his directorial debut Neram (2013) is that this film is also set within a timeframe of four days. Spearheaded by Sukumaran, Gold is a subtle and amusing commentary on greed.
The film is centred around Joshi S. Kunjan (Sukumaran) who wakes up one day to find a truck parked in his front yard, blocking entry for other vehicles. As he probes in and around the abandoned vehicle, it looks like the truck is full of 200 boxes of portable speakers. He starts worrying about making space for his own new car, which was supposed to be delivered the same day.
Much like any sincere citizen, he heads to the police station to file a complaint. Little does he know that the minor ‘headache’ in his front yard is actually a trove of gold. The next four days tell a story of different human behaviours and the ills of gluttony. The movie shows some who have so much wealth that they do not know what to do with it, while others are struggling even for a single meal for their families. Then there are those dealing with temptations each day but opting to side with their principles, unlike those who cave in at the drop of a hat.
Not all is gold
Alas, all that glitters is not gold — Puthren’s much-awaited film fails to fly high as per expectations. The 165-minute film evokes a lot of curiosity and mystery with the abandoned vehicle, but the hype fizzles out soon. The story lags with no sign of progress in the narrative to keep its audience engaged.
The biggest disappointment comes in the form of Nayanthara who is a wasted asset in Gold. If you see the ‘Lady Superstar’ on the poster of the film — especially when there has been little to no marketing in the run-up to the release — you expect to see a substantial or quality role. Instead, you are left with a guest appearance that could have easily been left out making no difference to the film.
It is Sukumaran’s show all the way — single-handedly running Gold on his shoulders. Those who are enamoured by his screen presence will have a good time. Besides him, Baburaj as Rakesh Manjappra and Lalu Alex as Idea Shaji are some of the characters who stand out.
Rajesh Murugesan’s music, slow-motion shots, and several instances of situational comedy shine through, but they do little to save the day. The only way to savour this crime-comedy is to be in the moment because there is nothing much that stays with you as you leave the theatre.
(Edited by Humra Laeeq)