Peruchazhi (2014)

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Peruchazhi (English: Bandicota) is a 2014 Indian Malayalam-language political satire comedy film written and directed by Arun Vaidyanathan. The dialogues were co-written by Ajayan Venugopalan, produced by Vijay Babu and Sandra Thomas for Friday Film House. The film features Mohanlal in the lead role, and Baburaj, Aju Varghese, Ragini Nandwani, Mukesh, Vijay Babu, and Sean James Sutton appears in supporting roles. The background score and soundtrack was composed by Arrora, while Arvind Krishna and Vivek Harshan did the cinematography and editing, respectively.

Jagannathan (Mohanlal), an Indian politician is pretty good at solving problems using wit and unorthodox ideas. To get rid of him, fellow politician Francis Kunjappan (Mukesh) offers him a never-did-before task in the United States which could give him enough money to fulfill his dream of a sports academy. Jagannathan ends up being the chief political adviser for a struggling candidate John Kory (Sean James Sutton) in the California governor's election campaign and his use of tactics standard in Indian politics to win the election.

Vaidyanathan got the story idea when he watched a political debate in a television channel in the United States. He originally wrote the screenplay in Tamil and English, it was translated into Malayalam by Ajayan Venugopalan in 2013, the same year the film was announced, he converted it into a Malayali context. Principal photography commenced during mid-April 2014 in Kollam, Kerala. Set almost entirely in the United States, majority of the film was shot in Burbank, California, some parts were shot in Trivandrum and Kochi, at where film wrapped in July 2014.

Peruchazhi was released worldwide on 29 August 2014 in 500 screens, the widest release for a Malayalam film until then. Distributed in Kerala by Friday Tickets and Fox Star Studios in the rest of India. The film received mostly negative reviews from critics, most of them criticised the overdose of popular yesteryear Mohanlal films references and its logic-less narration. After taking a good opening, the film found hard to sustain at the box office in the following weeks. The film was released on DVD on 22 December 2014.

In California, Republican gubernatorial candidate John Kory is trying to raise his dismal poll numbers. Sunny Kurishingal, Kory's chief adviser, is running out of ideas to ensure Kory's victory. Sunny asks Francis Kunjappan, a Public Works Department minister in Kerala and his friend, for advice on hiring a political consultant. Kunjappan, recommends his friend (and political rival) Jagannathan, hoping to rid himself of a threat to his ministerial position. Jagannathan, a young politician and sports enthusiast, knows no English but has a talent for solving serious problems prudently (as Kunjappan knows firsthand). However, Kunjappan thinks that Jaganathan’s unorthodox ideas will fail in the United States. Kunjappan meets Jagannathan and offers him the job for ₹30 crore (₹300 million), enough to realize Jagannathan's dream project of a sports academy. Jagannathan accepts the assignment and flies to the US with his assistants, Pottakuzhi Jabbar and Vayalar Varkey.

They are met by Sunny, who explains their job and the US political system. Unlike India, there are only two major parties: Republican and Democratic. The Democratic Party is leading in California and their candidate, George Hopes, is well-liked by the public. Jagannathan must increase the Republican poll numbers, enabling them to win the election, and decides to use Indian political tactics; he influences the media, recruiting screenwriters to craft effective speeches. He meets a Chinese man, Dupli, who sells counterfeit electronic equipment.

Jagannathan is also looking for a girl to marry. He meets a prostitute, Jessy, and they fall in love. Kory's poll numbers are rising rapidly because of Jagannathan's tactics. One night, though, Sunny and Kory visit him with bad news. Sunny tells him that a compromising video of Kory and a girl has been leaked; although all copies have been destroyed, the original is believed to be in Hopes' locked room. Jagannathan takes the video from Hopes' house, giving Sunny a message that the tape has been destroyed. The election campaign is declared over, and John Kory is certain to win. When Sunny learns that the campaign budget has been overspent, they decide to withhold Jagannathan's fee. Sunny promises that if he makes the campaign cost-effective, he will be considered for a cabinet post.

Jagannathan asks for his fee one last time, saying that he needs it to ransom Jessy's child, but Sunny dismisses him. Knowing that he has been cheated, Jagannathan warns Sunny that he will make Kory lose the election the following day. He comes with the money, but it is not known where it came from. Kory loses the election, which is a shock to the Republican Party. Jagannathan calls Sunny and tells him that he joined Andy and Hopes, who paid his fee. With Dupli's help, Jagannathan replaced the voting machines with duplicates. The video was not destroyed; Jabbar made a copy, which was released to the media. Jagannathan and his friends return to India with Jessy, and he opens his sports academy.

Mohanlal as Jagannathan
Mukesh as Francis Kunjappan
Ragini Nandwani as Jessy
Baburaj as Pottakkuzhy Jabbar
Aju Varghese as Vayalar Varkey
Vijay Babu as Sunny Kurishingal
Sean James Sutton as John Kory
Shankar Ramakrishnan as Andy, Sachidhanandhan
John Wusah as Dup Lee
Sandra Thomas as Sunny's wife
Ramesh Pisharody as Francis Kunjappan's assistant
Vyom Mathrani as Jamie, Jessy's son
Sanoop Santhosh as Jagannathan's playmate
Josukutty Valiyakallumkal as toy-store owner
Vineeth Mohan as Kunjappan's driver
Ashvin Mathew as Rohit Jee
Aneesh Menon as Joby Kuruvilla
Poonam Bajwa as Item girl (Cameo appearance)
Delhi Ganesh as Tamil Nadu delegate (Cameo appearance)

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