Verdict: Suraj and Prithviraj compete with each other in this fun, enjoyable movie.
Driving Licence is Jean Paul Lal‘s aka Lal Jr‘s latest outing. Produced by Supriya Menon and Listin Stephen under the banner of ‘Prithviraj Productions’ and ‘Magic Frames’, it stars Prithviraj Sukumaran and Suraj Venjaramoodu in lead roles. The screenplay is by Sachi who is known for his earlier Prithviraj hits like Chocolate and Robin Hood. Alex J. Pulickal and Ranadive are the men behind the camera. Lalu Alex, Nandu, Suresh Krishna, Miya George and Deepti Sati play important roles. Driving Licence is a drama about the standoff between a superstar and his ardent fan.
What’s Driving Licence About:
Luxury car fanatic and superstar Hareendran (Prithviraj Sukumaran) has to produce his driving license if the shooting of his latest movie has to move forward. For this, he indirectly seeks the help of his devoted fan and motor vehicle inspector M. J. Kuruvila (Suraj Venjaramoodu) as his license is missing. Kuruvila is all ready to help and just wants to see his favorite actor in real life once. But some unfortunate events lead to misunderstandings between the star and his fan and the situation escalates as the media gets involved. Kuruvila is shocked by the behavior of his favorite star who humiliates him in front of his son. Meanwhile, Hareendran is planning a trip to the US to support his wife in her hour of need but is stopped by his producer. Now without the driving license, nothing can move forward. Some opportunists take advantage of the clash and push the situation from bad to worse. The rest of the film tells us a tale of the face-off between the star and his ardent fan.
The strength of Driving Licence is its screenplay. Sachi has outdone himself with this one. He and Lal Jr keep the audience engaged to every frame and dialogue and do not let them think about the time. The first half ends on an engaging note and you can’t wait for the second half to begin. Driving Licence is Lal Jr’s best work yet. He has superbly brought to life Sachi’s vision of a standoff between a superstar and his ardent fan.
It is interesting to watch Prithviraj Sukumaran and Suraj Venjaramoodu compete with each other, not just in the movie, but even as actors. Prithviraj must have found it easy to play the superstar with a conscience, just as he is in real life. He is very much Hareendran as he steps out of his car and waves to his fans. His love for luxury cars, his love for his wife, his understanding of himself as an actor – all seem to be taken from his own life. Similarly, Suraj plays his signature common man character with great ease. Kuruvilla goes through phases in the movie – the mesmerizing fan watching his favorite star’s action movie on first day first show, the hunted government official who is booed for standing up against his hero, and a helpless father who has to console his bullied son. Suraj is a class apart and the Malayalam film industry’s gem. Suresh Krishna, Saiju Kurup and Nandu also play key roles as the rival, politician and driver-cum-advisor, respectively. And it is imperative to mention Lalu Alex who seems to be back from a good break.
Sachi also tackles subjects like the rivalry between stars in the industry and the intrusion of media and news channels into the lives of personalities for the sake of TRP ratings. While the former provides for some comedic situations, the latter makes one feel frustrated and angry. It is an observation of how media can convolute a small problem into a big one and how it destroys a person’s life through intrusion. Another point to note is the portrayal of fan associations. They are a force unto themselves and will turn nasty when their stars are hurt. Driving Licence at some point is a commentary about the film industry and the people who live under its support.
What Could’ve Been Better:
Some of the incidents are predictable and cliched. A person who has watched the Malayalam film industry and its superstars grow would know how Hareendran as a superstar would react in some of the situations. Mia’s character as a braggart and loud-mouthed wife seems unsuitable to her.
Why Should You Watch:
Celebrate your Christmas holidays with your family with this fun and entertaining movie. Driving Licence has the complete package – comedy, tragedy and two superb actors.
– By Annifred Solomon