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The Hindu

‘Meri Awas Suno’ review: Emotional pull drives the film, despite its predictable content

Fascinating are the ways in which people construct their own identities, choosing carefully the parts that present to the outside world. Radio Jockey Shankar (Jayasurya) has associated his identity with his voice to such a level that he politely refuses a request from his boss to appear live on Facebook, so that the radio station could cash in on his popularity. The RJ puts in a friendly plea, to let the world know him only through his voice.

For such a person, losing his voice one fine day would make him feel as if he were wiped away from the face of the earth. Prajesh Sen's third film 'Meri Awas Suno' chronicles Shankar's struggle to cope with larynx cancer (cancer of the voice box) and his attempts to overcome it. A remake of the 2019 Bengali film 'Konttho', the film sticks to the usual template of stories where humans battle against all odds, banking on the powerful emotional pull of the story.

Emotions are something RJ Shankar uses too to pull in the audience in his popular radio shows, of which we get a fair glimpse early on, before he is struck down by illness. He imparts life lessons, worldly advice and much more through his shows. The screenwriter turns an extended sequence, where a young girl, sitting precariously at the edge of the terrace of a high-rise flat, calls Shankar on the show to talk about her troubles, into an exhibition of why the RJ has become popular with the wider audience. Despite its convenient emotional play and the parallels with Shankar's own life, as he is also too busy to spend time with his own kid, that scene works.

Meri Awas Suno
Direction: Prajesh Sen
Starring: Jayasurya, Manju Warrier, Sshivada

It works in conveying to us as to what Shankar has lost, and the listeners too. But the script also provides ample space for the struggles of his wife Meryl (Sshivada), a television anchor, who has taken leave from job to take care of Shankar. Reshmi (Manju Warrier), a speech therapist with some unconventional methods, takes up the job of a personal voice trainer for Shankar. Some of her methods and theories to challenge him to overcome his difficulties makes one wonder whether any professional therapist would resort to such methods.

Jayasurya's role here might bring back memories of 'Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam', which also had him struggling with speech difficulties, but it is also a testament to how much he has grown as an actor since then, taking up roles that would challenge him. There is always a bit of Jayasurya in many of his roles, yet one can also see him yearning to be better with each passing film.

Despite the predictable ways in which the film proceeds, as most films with such themes are bound to, the writers have weaved in just enough conflicts and emotional turmoil to keep it at least mildly engaging all through.