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'Akashagopuram' - truly a masterpiece (Movie Review)

Film: "Akashagopuram"; Cast: Mohanlal, Shwetha Menon, Hilda Varghese, Geethu Mohandas, Nitya and Bharat Gopi; Director: K.P. Kumaran; Music: John Altman; Sound Designer: Nigel Holland; Cinematography: Santosh C. Thundiyil; Rating: ****

Sunday, August 24, 2008 | 11:41:30 AM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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Film: "Akashagopuram"; Cast: Mohanlal, Shwetha Menon, Hilda Varghese, Geethu Mohandas, Nitya and Bharat Gopi; Director: K.P. Kumaran; Music: John Altman; Sound Designer: Nigel Holland; Cinematography: Santosh C. Thundiyil; Rating: ****

Malayalam thespian Mohanlal has yet again given an excellent account of his histrionic talent in "Akashagopuram" (castle in the air) by melting himself into the skin of a character with shades of grey.

Albert Samson (Mohanlal), a middle-aged architect scared of young whippersnappers overtaking him, schemes and plots to stay on top.

To ensure his rise to what he thinks is his pinnacle, Samson kills the career of his mentor, played by Bharat Gopi (a fitting swansong for the late actor), meddles with that of his son (Manoj K. Jayan), uses his fiancee (Geethu Mohandas) to climb higher and cruelly ignores the wails of his mourning wife (Shwetha Menon, terrific) till he runs into a young, female admirer Hilda Varghese (Nitya).

For those who haven't read Norwegian author Henrik Ibsen's classic play 'Master Builder', on which "Akashagopuram" is based, the movie is a revelation.

Mohanlal has moulded his body language to suit his character and locale.

"Akashagopuram" is embellished with imaginative cinematography of Santosh Thundiyil who has captured the picturesque London into his frames and painted the scenes with a perfect palette.

The spirited music of "Titanic" fame composer John Altman etches its dramatic moments to the taste of an audience familiar with international cinema.

The sound design of Nigel Holland, who was associated with films like "Batman Begins", "Braveheart", "Congo", and "Resident Evil", accords the dialogue delivery, effects and scores the exact underlining.

National Award winning director Kumaran's master craftsmanship honed by majestic megaphone wielders like Adoor Gopalakrishnan is clearly visible as he brings out the best out of everyone in the cast.

Kumaran has rendered the play into a modern Malayalam masterpiece without sacrificing any of the original's twists.

"Akashagopuram" is a must see for film lovers even for those who do not understand Malayalam.

The film's only minor handicap is its length.


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