The movie `Katha Parayumbol` is produced by popular south Indian actors Srinivasan and Mukesh under the banner Lumiere Film Company. Directed by debutante M. Mohan, the movie narrates a humorous village based story.
The story revolves around Balan (Srinivasan), a local barber in Melukavu village, a straightforward guy, who never likes to depend on anyone to meet his needs. He struggles to support his family of three children. Although he dreams of putting up a better shop with revolving chairs and the works, the fact remains that he is not able to meet even the expenses of his children`s education. Adding to his trouble a new barber shop with modern facilities comes up in the village and villagers flock to the new shop.
Meanwhile a film that is going to be shot in the village has popular actor Ashok Raj (Mammootty) in the lead. A news spreads in the village that Ashok Raj and Balan studied together in the same school and were childhood friends. This news begin to change the life of Balan and his wife Sreedevi. Balan becomes sort of a VIP in the village with each and everybody in the village wanting some favour related to the actor. His wife too boasts much about her husband’s friendship with Ashokraj. Unwittingly Balan is pulled into a series of unfortunate incidents as the story unfolds.
Mammooty is Ashok Raj and Meena plays Sreenivasan’s wife Sreedevi in the film. The rest of the cast include Salimkumar, Mukesh, Jagadish, Innocent, K.P.A.C Lalitha etc. The songs are beautifully tuned by M.Jayachandran. P.Sukumaran is the cameraman. The film shot at Thodupuzha in Kerala is ready for release during Christmas.
Sreenivasan plays a character that is outstanding only in its ordinariness. But he elevates it to a class of its own. His is the role of Balan, a barber in a village fighting modernisation in his own antiquated ways.
He can`t afford a revolving chair, now an essential for his trade. His tools are out-dated and he cannot afford to replace them. And no authorised agency will lend him money because he refuses to grease the palms of the powers-that-be.
Balan is a middle-aged man with three kids in school. He had eloped and married his sweetheart and settled in this hilly village, far from the urban world. He is an object of ridicule for all and sundry. His kids are nearly thrown out of the school for non-payment of fees. His wife has no idea where their next meal will come from.
Balan`s only defence mechanism against the harsh existential realities is his wit and his barbed tongue.
But, all this changes when superstar Ashok Raj (Mammootty) makes an appearance in the village for a film shoot. Ashok is supposedly Balan`s childhood friend. So the whole village converges around Balan seeking his favour for a meeting with the superstar. Balan is reluctant to approach the star thinking that Ashok may have forgotten his lowly friend in these intervening years.
The ultimate clincher for this film is its script. Authored by Sreenivasan, it is so layered that every frame has a comment to make about the world and every line of the dialogue on the mores of the society. The craze for celebrities and the problems of leading a principled life are discussed without being preachy or in-your-face.
Mammootty has the dignified presence of a real star and his aura and the mythical persona that surrounds him give a lifelike feel to the character of Ashok Raj.
There are other characters that fill up the space to present a microcosmic universe. The moneylender played by Innocent and the pseudo-intellectual poet played by Salim Kumar are hilarious. Meena plays the well-etched character of Balan`s beautiful wife.
Katha Parayumbol has Sreenivasan`s stamp all over it, and can claim to be one of his best.