Bro Daddy(Malayalam, Disney+Hotstar)
Starring Mohanlal , Prithviraj Sukumaran, Lalu Alex, Meena, Kalyani Priyadarshan
Directed by Prithviraj Sukumaran
Rating: ** ½
First things first. Why on earth would two such towering giants of Malayalam cinema as Mohanlal and Prithiviraj Sukumaran get together for something as lightweight as this? Unless it was for this very reason: that some idiot like me would ask this silly question… But sorry, boss. When Prithviraj directs the mighty Mohanlal I want to experience something as potent as Lucifer, the 2019 massy masala-dosa garnished with spicy spine tingling stuffing with which Prithivraj made his impressive directorial debut .
I can see where this new Mohanlal-Prithviraj alliance must have come from. Fanboy that he is,Prithviraj must have gone to Mohanlal Sir asking him to let him direct him in another film . “Only if you act with me; but let’s do something fun,” Mohanlal The Great ,feeling the full weight of Markkar on his shoulder, must have said.
So, fun it is. At least the two actors playing a buddy-like father and son seem to be enjoying themselves negotiating the smooth but brainless moves of the script that seems to be inspired by Amit Sharma’s Badhaai Ho. Bro-Dad John announces to Bro-Son Eesho that he is going to be a father.
Appalled and scandalized Bro Eesho rants, “Before doing this, you should have thought of me.”
Bro-Daddy’s reaction: “Son, you want me to think about you when I am sleeping with your mother?”
The lines are designed to be cool and clever. This selfawareness that runs through the narrative like a stubborn virus(and we all know about that) kills the impact of the humour completely. Admittedly both the main actors are in top form: Mohanlal and Prithviraj complement one another comfortably and fluently.Regrettably they are unable to prevent the comedy from sagging at all the wrong places.
The set-up is way too self-congratulatory to evoke genuine laughs. Eesho’s Mommy gets pregnant just when Eesho’s girlfriend(Kalyani Priyadarshan , spontaneous and likeable) also gets pregnant. Before we can roll our eyes at that particular twist of fate, there are jokes by the droves about ‘Eesho’(images of Jesus Christ on the wall) .
Admittedly the first-hour communicates some spark specially in the scenes between Prithviraj and Kalyani which are surprisingly sprightly; surprisingly, because there is a larger age-difference between the romantic pair than between Prithviraj and his screen-Dad Mohanlal. Both actors go to great lengths to justify their seeming closeness in age.
That is the least of the problems in this off-kilter comedy that derails midway to never really get back on track. In the second plodding half character-actor Lalu Alex as Kalyani’s father(the brunt of a barrel of constipated constipation jokes) gets incommensurate footage .In the climactic confrontation , Lalu takes centre stage while Mohanlal and Prithiviraj stand listening to him like a paid audience at a political rally.
It’s like inviting Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan to a party where Shakti Kapoor is the centre of attraction. Bro Daddy may have worked better if it was 45 minutes shorter, and if it hadn’t tried to be so cool.