After Rajamanikyam, Chotta Mumbai, Annan Thambi, and Bridge (Kerala Cafe), Anwar Rashid is back with his next film Ustad Hotel. The movie was released worldwide yesterday.
Mammootty’s son, Dulquar Salman, plays the leading role and Nithya Menon is the heroine. Thilakan acts in a very important role.
Ustad Hotel was shot in Switzerland, Rajasthan, Mumbai and Kozhikode. Screenplay is written by Anjali Menon. Listin Stephen, who has produced Traffic and Chappa Kurisu, is the producer. Ustad Hotel is a different kind of thriller.
Anwar Rashid made a radical shift in making Bridge successfully, which made people wonder whether it was the same person who had produced megahits such as Rajamanikyam, Chotta Mumbai and Annan Thambi. Continuing in the same trend, he has come forth with Ustad Hotel. The encouraging attitude of viewers towards new films like Traffic, Salt and Pepper and Chappa Kurisu influenced Anwar’s decision not to include megastars like Mohanlal and Mammootty in his impending experimental film.
As the name suggests, this is the story of a hotel but it is also the story of a deep relationship between a young man and an old man set apart by the generation.
Kareem (Thilakan) has been managing Ustad Hotel for the last 35 years and his grandson Faisi (Dulquar Salman), is always there along with Kareem, knowing him, understanding him and loving him. The meaning of Ustad is a friend and friendship is highlighted in every aspect of Ustad, both in letter and spirit. Situated near Calicut Beach, people flock to the hotel for the wonderful cuisine prepared and served by the twosome. The food is wholesome and satisfying the customers including locals and outsiders. And Farisi vibes perfectly with his grandfather’s ideas and attitudes. This deep bond between the grandfather and his grandson forms the crux from which the story is woven.
To add lust and romance, Nithya Menon appears as Shahna who is in love with Faisi. Others in the caste are Siddique, Lena, Kunjan, Mamukoya, Bhagath and Prem Prakash.
The film tells the story of ordinary people in ordinary surroundings living ordinary lives. It contains humour, love and above all human values. It is a film one could relate to where you find simple people doing heroic things, not with fists but with their minds and emotions.
All the actors have performed out of this world with the beautiful and glamorous Dulquar proving once again that he is coming out of his father’s shadow in the role of Faisi. Thilakan proves that there is no substitute for experience with a subtle yet poignant performance. Nithya Menon is a revelation and will be a hot contender. Bhagath creates a niche for himself and the same could be said about Siddique, Mamukoya, Maniyan Pillai Raju, Kalbahavn Haneef, Lena and all of them at ease in their roles.
Anjali Menon has run riot with the characters giving them a free range to grow and in the process she could be forgiven if occasionally the plot suffers. The rest of the film crew like cinematographer (S Lokanathan), editor (Praveen Prabhakar), art director (Biju Chandran), costume designer (Sameera Saneesh) and their choreographer Sankar have managed to keep abreast with the tempo and spirit of the movie. Gopi Sundar’s music injects more life to the already colourful movie.
Ustad Hotel is a moving film, the story well written by an extremely gifted artiste, the film directed by a young and genuine talent and Anwar has definitely won the first round effortlessly.