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 a generation. Kareem (Thilakan) has been managing Ustad Hotel for the last thirty five years and his grandson Faisi(Dulquer Salmaan) is always there along with Karim, knowing him, understanding him and loving him.
The meaning of Ustad is friend and friendship is highlighted in every aspect of Ustad, both in letter and spirit. Situated near the Calicut Beach, people flock to the hotel for the wonderful cuisine prepared and served by the twosome. The food is wholesome and satisfying and the customers include locals and outsiders. And Faisi vibes perfectly with his grandfather’s ideas and attitude. This deep bond between grandfather and his grandson forms the crux from which the story is woven.
Anwar Rasheed, who has already directed super hits like ‘Rajamanikyam’, ‘Chotta Mumbai’ and ‘Annan Thambi’, directs ‘Ustad Hotel’. Listin Stephen, maker of another hit film ‘Traffic’, produces ‘Ustad Hotel’ under the banner of Magic Frames. Dulquar Salman is Faisi and Thilakan is Karim, the two building a bridge between two generationa just as in the movie. And to complete the dazzling list, ‘Manjadikuru’ fame Anjali Menon writes the screenplay.
To add lustre and romance, Nithya Menon appears as Shahna who is in love with Faisi. Others in the cast 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, pain and above all human values. It is a film one could relate to, where you find simple people doing heroic things, not with their fists but with their minds and emotions.
All the actors have performed out of this world with the youthful and glamorous Dulquer 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 of Siddique, Mamukoya, Manian Pilla Raju, Kalabhavan Haneef and Lena, all of them at ease in their roles.
Anjali Menon has run riot with the characters giving them a free rein 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 the choreographer (Shanker) have managed to keep abreast with the tempo and spirit of the movie. Gopi Sunder’s music injects more life to the already colourful movie.
‘Ustad Hotel’ is a moving film, the story well written by an extremely gifted artist, the film directed by a young and genuine talent and Anwar has definitely won the first round effortlessly.
Hats off the whole team for a splendid show!
‘Ustad Hotel’ is refreshing, captivating and engrossing.
Verdict: Verry Good.