Some make issue-based films because they feel strongly about the particular subject, while some others do so just because it is a useful template that would help hide the mediocrity that pervades the film. Nadirshah’s Eesho belongs to the latter category. Child abuse, which was also the issue which he chose for his debut film, (the insufferable Amar Akbar Anthony) becomes the issue of choice in his fifth film too.
While in the former, the issue arrives as an afterthought — towards the fag end of a film filled with misogyny — in Eesho, it is presented quite early on, only to remain in the background for much of the rest of the runtime. In both films, the issue at hand becomes an excuse for heroic men to indulge in vigilantism.
The lack of conviction and the formulaic nature of the whole setup is evident from the first sequence in Eesho, which begins with a song in the voice of the child, who would soon become a victim. The song seems to have been included just because a similar song in the debut film turned out to be a huge hit. Always stick to the successful formula, as they say.
Much of Eesho happens over the course of a night. Pillai (Jaffer Idukki), an ATM security guard, is set to give his statement in court against a powerful man in a child abuse case. He is on night duty at the ATM, and there is a serious threat to his life. A stranger (Jayasurya), whose intentions are not clear (that’s what the scriptwriter intended, but it is clear as the light of the day to us), joins him and chooses to spend the night there.
After the first crime that happens in the prologue, in which justice is clearly not done, one would not need even half a brain to guess the identity of the stranger. In case someone did not get it, the stranger himself is made to give a third person account of this story to the security guard.
The rest of the movie is a painful attempt to keep the ‘suspense’ alive before the big reveal. Just as an attempt to mislead the viewers, the stranger’s behaviour to the security guard keeps on shifting from friendly to intimidating, but like everything else in the movie, it doesn’t work. Much effort has been taken to ensure that the movie does not engage the audience at any point.
Perhaps, the hardest effort for the filmmaker must have been in extracting some shades of grey out of Jayasurya, who has been perpetually playing the do-gooder on screen. The women, except the barely-noticeable role of a junior advocate played by Namitha Pramod, do not figure anywhere in the director’s scheme of things. Men commit the crime and men mete out justice in Eesho’s worldview.
With its mediocre making and half-baked understanding and concern of a serious issue, Eesho becomes a test of the viewer’s patience.
Eesho is currently streaming on SonyLIV