Jan-E-Man Review Rating- 3.5/5
The one film that shows us the value of relationships, be it friends or family, is the 2021 Malayalam language film Jan-E-Man. The film is written and directed by debutant Chidambaram and stars Basil Joseph, Arjun Ashokan, Lal, Balu Varghese, Ganapathi S, Siddharth Menon, Riya Saira and others.
Premise of Jan-E-Man
Joymon (Basil Joseph) is a nurse who lives alone in the snow-capped regions of Canada. After being fed up with his monotonous life in Canada, he decides to travel to his native in Kerala and celebrate his birthday with his friends. He contacts his childhood friends Faizal (Ganapathi S) and Sampath (Arjun Ashokan) and arranges a party at Sampath’s house (without his knowledge). With the occurrence of certain unexpected events, the celebrations take a different turn and lead to several compilations.
Chidambaram, as a debutant director, has done a great job at helming the film. Jan-E-Man is a movie that has humour as well as intense, emotional elements. As a director, Chidambaram has done a good job in crafting these scenes beautifully and making them appealing to the viewers.
Jan-E-Man relies heavily on the written material. Chidambaram’s script is a finely written piece, mixing humour and drama efficiently. Several scenes are written so beautifully that they either leave the viewers laughing out loud or make them grab a tissue. The brilliant, emotional switch that takes place in a scene is also so smooth.
One thing I would say is that the humour wasn’t forced; it was natural. There were instances where there was no specific intention for the makers to make us laugh, but we do it automatically.
However, the screenplay for Jan-E-Man felt a bit dragged out and loosely written, especially in the middle portions. Had the writing in the middle portions of the film been a bit more crisper, Jan-E-Man would have proven to be a perfect humourous and emotional entertainer.
Themes in Jan-E-Man
Jan-E-Man touches on several themes through the character arcs.
Through the character of Basil Joseph, Jan-E-Man describes the theme of isolation and loneliness in a land far away from home and how it impacts an individual’s mental health. Through the character of Balu Varghese, Jan-E-Man shows us the theme of family issues and how they could escalate if there is no proper communication between family members. Through the characters of Basil and his friends, Jan-E-Man also shows us the value of friendship and how it is a superficial element in today’s time.
The most beautiful part of the film is that it manages to successfully explore several themes.
Jan-E-Man has some spectacular acting performances by the cast. Basil Joseph as Joymon is superb. The innocence in Joymon and the excitement of meeting his friends is shown so beautifully by Basil’s innocent and charming performance.
Arjun Ashokan as Sampath and Ganapathi as Faizal are superb in their roles as well. Lal as Kochukunj is flawless and lends an emotional touch to his character.
However, the show-stealer in the movie is hands down Balu Varghese. After seeing him in several comedy films, Balu Varghese gives a strong and mature performance in Jan-E-Man as Monichan. Though he did a character role in Operation Java, this one is far more intense and stronger a performance. The way in which he gets into the skin of the character is something to marvel at. The remaining supporting cast too has done a great job with their roles.
On the technical side, there isn’t anything Jan-E-Man offers that is worth marvelling at. The cinematography by Vishnu Thadassery is good. There are no exquisite frames he has captured that remain in the minds of the viewers. With several occasional long takes and some steady visuals, there is nothing special and unique in the cinematography. Editing by Kiran Das could have been better. As an editor, he could have easily cut down a few minutes of the film and made it a tighter watch. The background score by Bijibal sets the tone and mood for the film aptly.
Should You Watch Jan-E-Man?
As a whole, Jan-E-Man is a film that tried to explore different themes and was successful in it. The only flaw lies in the sloppy writing in the middle portions, which created a lag. The making and acting performances in this film are spot on. Chidambaram was able to prove that he is a capable and talented filmmaker. Though there are flaws in the film, the honest and humble attempt, along with the dose of natural humour and emotional elements, wins hearts. It definitely is a film that is an entertainer and could be categorised as an entertaining one time watch flick.
It is a film that would make you go through different emotions in different seconds of the same scene. I personally found the film to be a good one time watch. Do check it out!