STORY : The movie centres on the life of a boy who makes a living out of rearing and selling the fish Guppy, which also earns him the same name. His life takes a turn after a civil engineer comes to his village to build a bridge.
REVIEW : Right from its first frame, debutant director John Paul George takes the audience through a picturesque journey filled with pristine shores, colourful alleys, iridescent fishes and even more vibrant people. That’s exactly what grips the viewers in this movie, spanning over two and a half hours.
The movie revolves around the life of a boy named Guppy (Chethan), who earns a living out selling the fish of the same name and hopes to buy his paraplegic mother an automatic wheelchair. Interweaved in his tale is the life of young friends and his elder well-wishers played by Alencier Ley and Sudheer Karamana. With the entry of a swash-buckling engineer Tejas Varkey (Tovino Thomas), Guppy’s life takes a turn – with the duo engaging themselves in an ego tussle of sorts right from their first meeting. How they resolve the differences and at what cost form the plot.
Chethan as the loving son and the headstrong leader of his pack wins hearts with his performance. He gives his senior counterparts a run for their money during the emotional moments he shares with his mother (Rohini) and audacious ones with the conflicted engineer. Tovino is effortless in shifting his expressions within a moment’s notice and brings gravitas to his character, whose past the viewers are kept in the dark till the dying stages of the movie. The actor looks the part too complete with bandholz beard and a swagger to boot.
Actors Dileesh Pothen, Alencier Ley and Noby do their bit to keep the audience entertained but it’s Sreenivasan who takes the cake in his restrained role as the ever-vigilant grandfather.
Where the movie falters is its length – which becomes lumbering with one too many sub plots. While it all eventually pays off, it tests the audience’s patience and the interest to get the answers wane towards the end. The first half has too many songs packed in it. But the movie’s cinematographer Girish Gangadharan and music director Vishnu Vijay can take a bow; if Guppy is any indication of their calibre, the duo are sure to go places.
Its director and scriptwriter John too deserves credit for weaving the beautiful tale, even if it’s 20 minutes too long. Some crisp editing and restrain from indulgent frames could have turned this above average film into a delight to watch.
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Avg user rating: With its inherent honesty, debutant director Johnpaul George’s Guppy is a good film that has its fine moments. Master Chethan plays ‘Guppy’, which actually is his nick name as he is making a living rearing the kind of small fish that eat mosquito larvae. He takes care of his ailing mother and is saving money to buy her a wheelchair. With colourful visuals, nice music and competent performances, the picture of a coastal area is painted quite well, but the narration takes its own sweet time in the process. After a while, an engineer named Thejus Varkey (Tovino Thomas) comes to the locality to build an over bridge where an old man, played by Sreenivasan, is a railway gatekeeper. Read more: Tamilselvanum Thaniyar Anjalum review | Budhia Singh – Born To Run review | The Legend of Michael Mishra review | Srirastu Subhamastu review | Suicide Squad review The story then gains some pace and perhaps, a different direction as well, with Guppy and Thejus begin a cat and mouse game. And it slowly reveals the real nature of some of the characters. It’s a rather small theme that is being narrated here, but this one has been beautifully packaged. Johnpaul goes for detailing of the sequences, which is excellent, but at times there is a deviation from the basic theme that the film is trying to convey. The emotions are conveyed quite effectively and there are some cute sequences involving the youngsters from the area, which is a delight to watch. The visuals by Gireesh Gangadharan are top notch and the music is good. Master Chethan performs his role earnestly and with lots of maturity. Sreenivasan is convincing as the soft spoken gate keeper. The rest of the cast have done their parts well. But it is Tovino Thomas who comes up with an excellent show, with his weird style of dressing and mannerisms. Guppy could have been crispier and then, it could have been more appealing even to those who are not there to watch a serious theme, but this one has at its heart at the right place. If you have an eye for genuine movies, you won’t be disappointed with this one.
John Paul George’s dazzling directorial debut ‘Guppy’ is a one-of-a-kind film that is a brilliant, methodical deliberation on human struggle, strength and survival. Aided by a sturdy screenplay that refuses to be bogged down by compromises, ‘Guppy’ is a superb puzzler of a film that amply rewards!
Mikhael’s (Chetan) small world revolves around his ailing mother (Rohini), and the guppy seller boy dreams of buying her a wheel chair some day. When Tejas Varkey (Tovino Thomas) sets foot on the seaside village to oversee the construction of a railway over bridge, it throws a few lives onshore into turmoil, with overwhelming outcomes.
‘Guppy’ is without doubt a film that navigates along sundry lanes, and its take on human relationships is distinctly unlike to most films that we have seen. It does require the viewer to be an adventurer who would take an audacious plunge along with it into the numerous unconventionalities that it has in store.
Here is a movie that would latch on to you, long after it’s over, with its vagrant repercussions continuing to ebb their way into your psyche. There are challenges aplenty that the film maker takes up here, and he mixes up the strange and the surreal to create a merger effect that quite plainly stuns.
It isn’t only the unique ambience of the film that is dissimilar, but also the unsettling and imaginative mode in which the narrative acquires a visual form. Having its heart totally on its sleeve, ‘Guppy’ gallantly displays a touch of audacity that is quite scarce.
There are the inevitable questions regarding those opposites that confront us in life, day after day – the right and the wrong, the protagonists and the antagonists, the probity and the depravity – that are dealt with an almost deadpan sense of humour, that never really answer the queries themselves, but rather prompt an introspection.
‘Guppy’ would probably be remembered for a long time, for the tower house performer that Chetan is, and the boy effortlessly moves mountains with an unsurpassable feat that deserves nothing short of a standing ovation. Never for a moment theatrical, Chetan appears so much in control of his histrionic skills that it easily strikes us as one of the best performances as yet.
Tovino seems to be getting better with each film of his, and in ‘Guppy’ he has been admirably cast in a role that is bent on dividing the audiences into two. He is delectably good in the film, and earns for himself a place among the crop of dependable young actors in Malayalam cinema, and quite rightly so. There are also seasoned performances from actors as Sreenivasan, Rohini, Alencier Lay and Sudheer Karamana, just to mention a few.
Gireesh Gangadharan has come up with literally poetic frames for the film, that seamlessly add to the lyrical quality of the film. Together with an admirable musical score by Vishnu Vijay, Gireesh literally crafts verse on screen, with the sea relentlessly lashing away against a land where the film maker has vigilantly planted his characters. Editing by Dilip Dennis is top notch.
Back home, after an early evening show of ‘Guppy’, I couldn’t but help watching those tiny fishes in my tank, that swam away to glory, fluttering those gaudily coloured tails. And then invariably, think of the guppy boy, Mikhael and his exceedingly moving tale that John Paul George, the maverick film maker of the year has so delightfully laid out on the screen for us!