The elephant dung sure has fragrance. Punyalan Agarabathis is a hilarious watch and has a liberal dose of comedy and satire to keep the viewers engaged. The movie is a simple tale set in the iconic Thrissur. The place assumes a character of its own as the movie progresses. The very idea of making agarbathis out of elephant dung is funny. The tussle for procuring elephant dung from the Devaswom is equally comic. Who would think that a judicial case would have to be fought for elephant dung? Well, Punyalan Agarbathis is all this and more.
We have an idealistic hero, who dreams of making it big. His name is Joy (Jayasurya), whose talk and the Thrissur slang is endearing. He is not without flaws. He gets his grandfather (Innocent) married at the ripe old age with the sole intention of depriving his uncle of his inheritance…he is care personified as he promises his wife that he will pick her up, only to make her wait and not turn up at all. Greenu Sharma (Aju Varghese) is his sidekick, whose admiration and worship of Joy is nothing short of fanatic. “Oh! This Joy sir, he is something”, is the refrain.
Joy has a very supportive wife, a girl from Kottayam named Anu (Nyla Usha). Any man would love to have a wife like that. Anu is so supportive of her husband and the warmth the couple share has good vibes. While they meet for the first time, Joy, with his usual bravado says, “if you marry me you would be living with an Ambani or a mad man”. Anu’s repartee is again spot on. They get married. In one instance, the loving husband rushes with a box of sweets to their home after hearing that she fainted at work. In all jubilation, he teases her for not telling him the ‘good news’, only to realize that she fainted because of overwork and stress.
While all these are the icing, the cake is the agarbathi factory which Joy has. His procurement of elephant dung from the Devaswom has hit a roadblock in spite of an agreement. Joy moves court and the sitting judge’s pronouncement of the case is tickling. Joy wins the case, but a hartal has been declared and he cannot move the booty for which driver Abhaya Kumar (Sreejith Ravi) and his vehicle have been rented. But Joy has to transport the dung that day itself. Here, Abhaya Kumar does a brilliant turn in his comic role. Party men spot this and there begin a series of problems for Joy.
Thus the film now turns political. We have a political party trying to thwart a man’s livelihood by blocking the dung (!) and hartals and judicial cases again. Idavela Babu plays the role of the party leader known as KC. With his limited powers as a common man, Joy does try to hit back. Does it backfire or does it work out for his good? Does the tortoise once again win against the swift hare?
The character of Joy has been etched well. His bravado, attitude and personality have all been rounded off well. The rest of the characters too are very pivotal in the narrative and each of them have something to add to the story. The narration and execution of a comedy satire works well once more, for Ranjith Sankar. Like Molly Aunty Rocks and Passenger this movie too focuses on various social issues.
Jayasurya has done the role of Joy exceptionally well as have Nyla Usha, and Aju Varghese. Sreejith Ravi was a revelation, as he donned a hitherto unexplored character with ease. His comic timing is commendable and seeing him in this role was a revelation. Another very positive aspect of the movie is the music by Bijipal and both the songs as well as the BG score. Lyrics of the various songs by Santhosh Varma are apt and add to the narrative. Jayasurya’s song stands out with its freshness in tune and lyrics. He has also rendered it beautifully.
The light-hearted movie with a social message does spread its fragrance. The comic sequences that dot the movie are refreshing as are the characters which make the movie what it is. Joy and co lingers because they would be the people you have known or would love to know.