Prithviraj Sukumaran is one of the most popular actors in the Malayalam film industry. My introduction to him, however, was through a Hindi-language film – Aiyya, where he was captivating despite his relatively small role. It introduced me to his screen presence, where he can be commanding and subtle in equal measures. With ‘Gold (2022)’, written & directed by Alphonse Puthren (Premam, Neram), you see him being an ultimate conman convincingly after a mere accident that throws him into a web of lustful greed. All of the events in this man’s life occur due to sudden access to wealth. With a premise as simple as that and an actor like him, the film could have easily been a thoroughly rewarding experience. Except it isn’t!

In this crime comedy film, Prithviraj plays Joshi, a mobile phone shop owner from a small town in Kerala. Looking at his house and general mannerisms, you can see that he is sufficiently well-off. With the money he has, he decides to buy a new car for himself. However, on the day it is supposed to come, he comes across a van with tarpaulin on the back parked in the front lot of his house, which blocks the way for it to enter. He gets pissed and starts looking for the van’s owner. Since he cannot find anyone, he goes to the police to put an official complaint about it.

They cannot help right away due to an emergency. By the time they return, he gets curious and peeks under the tarpaulin, where he finds several boxes of portable speakers. He figures it to be smuggled material but takes one of those boxes when his own speaker stops working. He opens the box, takes out the new speaker, and tries connecting it to his phone. Sadly, he cannot press any of its buttons. It turns out it’s not a faulty speaker but a gold brick colored to look like a speaker.

Gold (2022) Malayalam Movie Review

The following narrative builds upon Joshi’s struggle to maintain this enormous wealth he suddenly finds in his possession. He cannot contain his excitement and starts dreaming of everything he can do with it. However, he needs to think of a way not to get caught with this gold and find the best means to carry out his secret plan. After leading his life like a fair simpleton by then, he suddenly gets this sweet smell of success. He does not want to let go of the possibilities it can afford him and makes every possible effort to hold on to them.

What opens up this gold is a messy affair. It turns out it was going to be used as just a ping-pong ball between two wealthy people, who are so wealthy that they would not give even a single thought before deciding to close an entire shopping mall under their ownership. While in one way or the other, these rich folks keep trying to retrieve the gold for a marital transaction, something keeps failing them at every attempt. Meanwhile, Joshi keeps evading every other obstacle coming his way, be it due to sheer luck or his efforts. Perhaps with this, the writer wanted to put forth a lesson in karma!

While the crime thriller could have been fairly easy to follow, the film insists on making it needlessly messy, with flashbacks abruptly entering the story and with dialogues that sound like incoherent ramblings. There are some random characters, played by some wonderful actors like Roshan Matthew, Chemban Vinod, or Vinay Forrt, which serve either zero or negligible purpose in the plot. While these characters could have started out as amusing, quirky ideas, they end up adding to the headache. Other characters played by Nayanthara and Deepti Sati that are integral parts of the plot suffer from being two-dimensional, even if the actors do their best to add that extra bit of quirk.

Suddenly, Soubin Sahir also joins some dancers, whose skit pops up out of nowhere in between the narration. You can see the impact of a film like Manmarziyaan, where twin dancers, who have no relation to the central plot, pop up out of nowhere to continue their dance routine. It adds to the mood of this Malayalam film and, luckily does not feel as jarring as the other interrupting elements. Unfortunately, that does not save Gold from being an incoherent mess due to a lack of unified creative direction.

Read More: Discussing Systemic Sabotage and Institutional Suicide in Jana Gana Mana (2022)

Gold (2022) Trailer

Gold (2022) Links: IMDb, Wikipedia
Gold (2022) Cast: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Nayanthara, Deepti Sati

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