Producer– Josemon Simon
Director– Aji John
Cast– Jaysurya, Saiju Kurup, Anoop Menon, P Balachandran, Shankar, Joju George, Dhwani, Maria Roy etc.
Music– Shaan Rahman
Editing by– Xian
Review By : Unni R Nair (Kerala9.com )
‘Delhi Belly’ comes to Mollywood- that’s what I’d say about ‘Hotel California’, director Aji John’s latest offering, his third film after ‘Nallavan’ and ‘Namukku Paarkkaan’. Hey no, it’s not ‘Delhi Belly’ remade, but it’s just an attempt at that kind of filmmaking. I must say writer Anoop Menon and director Aji John have together succeeded partially in making such a brand of movie, but in total, I’d say ‘Hotel California’ is just average stuff and fails to impress beyond a limit. The film would appeal to people, especially youngsters, expecting a fun-ride, but that too in parts only. There are issues with the total structure, which make it just a so so kind of film…
‘Hotel California’, in the film, is the name of a film starring superstar Prem Sagar (Anoop Menon) and all set for release. Prem Sagar, who has been delivering flops after flops, and his fans have been pinning hope on this one film. So, on the one hand we have people attempting to smuggle in, from the Gulf, a pirated CD of the yet-to-be released film; the CD is sent to Kerala through Rafeeq (Saiju Kurup), a young chap who’s working in the Gulf for his family. In the meantime, we have Jimmy (Jayasurya), a Kochi-based don and pimp who has undertaken to oversee that the CD gets smuggled safely. Rafeeq is advised to wear a burka to avoid trouble at the airport. We also have Tarun Singh Deol (Saiju Kurup in a dual role), an upcoming, corrupt young politician who is involved in a multi-crore scam along with his father and who plans to visit Kerala very secretly, clad in a burka, to escape the media and the cops. We also have a young, rich girl Kamala (Maria Roy), who’s only too happy to pay a fortune to bear a baby via artificial insemination and by accepting the sperm of a Bollywood superstar. There’s also the story of Aby Mathew (Shankar), a lecherous rich guy who wants to bed young television actress Swapna (Dhwani); Swapna accepts it for a big sum of money and is all set to take a break from her shooting to join Aby Mathew at his hotel room. There is also Bharath Chandran (Joju George), the police commissioner; the team of goons (led by Nandu) who want to make big money kidnapping Tarun Singh Deol and the former media guy Sasi Pillai (P Balachandran), who’s chasing Jimmy and shooting everything that happens around him, with an agenda of his own. All this and much more get mixed, in a funny manner, in ‘Hotel California’, which entertains at points and goes unimpressive at many other places too.
The performance side is all OK, the technical aspects well in tune. But on the script side, there are issues. The take off is good, but later, at some stage, things go out of control. There are too much happening and you don’t have the time to stop, watch something and keep laughing. The laughs, some of them good, don’t last long. It just goes on, you are engaged in watching it and when it all ends, you just get up, shrug your shoulders and walk away. I bet you won’t go to watch the movie once again… And you won’t share the jokes from the film with your friends and laugh over it the way you do with most comedy capers. That’s where it goes wrong. In total ‘Hotel California’ is passable fare, just passable fare…
Everyone is good; everyone has done justice to his or her role. I don’t think I need to point out the actors one by one; everyone has played his or her part quite convincingly. Joju George, Dhwani, Jayasurya and Saiju Kurup impress the most.
Jithu Damodar has done a great job with his camera, while editing by Xian and art-work by Sajith Krishna is also good.
Shaan Rahman delivers the kind of background score that’s required of the plot and the theme; Anoop Menon has penned the song, which is not bad either.
Anoop Menon needs to be appreciated for trying his hand at all genres; but still, it’s to be noted that ‘Hotel California’ doesn’t come up to the level of his earlier works. He begins the story on a promising note and then, at a stage, with too many characters on board, he seems to go out of control and delivers a mishmash that fails to impress beyond a level…
For the director Aji John, ‘Hotel California’ definitely was a challenge. He had never done such a film and it’s not easy handling so many characters and so many narratives. To an extent he has done justice to the script (which itself has issues!), but on the whole the film ends up being just an average entertainer. But still, compared to his earlier ventures, ‘Hotel California’ is definitely better, from the direction perspective…
Verdict– ‘Delhi Belly’ kind of movie; average entertainer…