Jacobinte Swargarajyam ( U ) (2016) (Malayalam)

‘Jacobinte Swargarajyam’ is one of those many survival stories that we have been through; one that dwells further on the human traits of endurance and fortitude that sees them sailing through many a turbulent storm only to robustly set foot ashore again. Brimming with optimism, Vineeth Sreenivasan’s new film plots a route along foreseeable trails and plays it out safely, albeit a bit languidly to its denouement.

Jacob (Renji Panicker) has established a business empire of repute in the Gulf, and thinks of his family that comprises of his wife and four children as the heaven that he has managed to build on his own. As the clouds of the global recession loom large over the Middle East, Jacob’s steel palace crumbles down, and he finds himself lost as a debtor in Liberia with the Interpol lying in wait to lay their hands on him.

Jerry (Nivin Pauly), Jacob’s eldest son is left with no other choice, and aided by his mother (Lakshmy Ramakrishnan), starts from the scratch once again, to rebuild the paradise that had come crashing down. Trying his hand in multiple business ventures, Jerry grabs it all back, and emerges as the rightful successor of Jacob’s kingdom.

‘Jacobinte Swargarajyam’, as claimed by the director himself, has been inspired by the real life story of a dear friend, and is even dedicated to him and his family, who have been through hell and back. Indeed a redeeming tribute to an individual who had simply refused to be bogged down by the tremendous travails that life had decided to put him through!

There is always the positivism that ebbs across from films as these, and while ‘Jacobinte Swargarajyam’ does make you heave a sigh , it falls short of that vital element that makes you want to revel in the fighter spirit in man. You remain terrifically inspired by the man who had made this all possible in real, and yet wish that the film had managed to move you, perhaps a bit further than it has.

Beyond that however, ‘Jacobinte Swargarajyam’ has manifold issues to deal with, the foremost being the immensely long running time of the film that stretches out a seemingly simple tale into an unnecessarily intricate one. The final hour of the film in particular, has several such scenes that have been wedged in to further build on its dramatic impact, and the film as such should have gained with a much shorter running time.

There are also attempts to over wring the nostalgic element that at times backfires. The minor glitches in characterisation, that occasionally come across as unconvincing add to turmoil in writing in the latter half. And thus after several tonnes, and more tonnes of steel business, Jerry wins its all back with aplomb.

I would hand it over to Renji Panicker this time who makes a clean sweep with a persuasive performance as Jacob, while Nivin Pauly, glad to be seen in the shadows for a while, emerges eventually to leave a mark. Supporting performances are uniformly impressive as well, and cinematographer Jomon T John strikes yet again with an array of imposing visuals of the city of dreams.

The stirring message in ‘Jacobinte Swargarajyam’ is the biggest reason why you should probably give this film a try. It’s however an emotional journey sans any surprises, and offers a proverbial take on the quite familiar matter at hand.

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