film: matchbox; director: sivaram mony; cast: roshan mathew, visakh nair, mathew joy mathew, drishya
Matchbox is a movie that doesn’t have too many ambitions or complications. The narrative is pretty straight, the plot simple and the characters ordinary. Devoid of twists and turns, everything in it is predictable. That said, they are the same reasons that make Matchbox, directed by Sivaram Moni, a watchable flick. True that it celebrates friendship and teenage love with a plot as old as the hills, but thanks to its innate charm and realistic characterisation, Matchbox isn’t entirely a bad attempt.
ambu (roshan mathew) is a b.com student whose life revolves around his friends, played by visakh nair, joe john chacko and mathew joy mathew. her otherwise uneventful life comes into focus when he meets nidhi (drishya) and falls in love with her. But his love life is shaken when he learns that Nidhi is getting married soon. sounds familiar? that’s the matchbox for you. but, what saves it from sinking is the sincerity of the characters. whether ambu or pandi, they are very much the boys next door.
They ride a private bus, drink chai at a local tea shop, and just like everyone else, they fight with their moms over a lost t-shirt. when the main characters don’t relax together, they help the protagonist pursue his love interest. nothing else matters much in his little world. if these characters make us feel for them, kozhikode, as a backdrop, makes us support the film. sivaram takes every opportunity available to tell us about the flavor, warmth and atmosphere of the city known for its culinary wealth.
both roshan and vaisakh, joe and mathew play their roles well, which makes the characters relatable. however, no discussion of the matchbox would be complete without mention of the ‘little truths’ that sivaram has woven into the narrative. Although many of them end in a mere mention, Matchbox offers insight into how caste, religion, and money remain the deal-breakers when it comes to marriage. while nidhi’s father, played by ashokan, brags about how he successfully helped his friend elope with his beloved, he becomes a rude father when it comes to his daughter’s wedding. it’s these moments that give the shallow script a certain depth.
While most of his team is relatively inexperienced, matchbox has a certain sharpness to his creation, especially on the technical side. sivaram definitely has what it takes to be a good director. and for that reason matchbox is a good one time clock.