Sathyan Anthikad’s film for this Easter starring Mohanlal and Manju Warrier is made on the lines of a family entertainer of the late 80s and early 90s. Like the commercials hits of those decades, the film is clean.. with a few melodious compositions (Vidhyasagar is the music director) and beautifully picturized song sequences.
However, I feel that more than the plot, the film tries to win its audience through the outside the film gossip … on the rumour of a lal-anthikad coming together after 12 years, a lal-manjuwarrier come back after Kanmadam (that is more than 12 years), a srinivasan who could have written the script recreating an antnikad-srinivasan, in addition to a srinivasan-lal come back. It also runs on the merit of a Manju Warrier’s return after 14 years and seems to garner viewership based on her incumbent marital status.
That’s how it all goes apart from the plot centered on the protagonists, Vineeth N Pillai (Mohanlal), a senior journalist at a Malayalam Weekly in its 50th year of publication and Adv. Deepa (Manju Warrier) who turns into a newspaper celebrity overnight because of a social cause she is involved in. The social cause is on Road Safety, and the citizen’s right to gutter free, smooth roads to walk/drive in. The plot revolves around Pillai’s chase after the advocate for a interview for the cover story of the golden edition of their magazine, also in an effort to prove his merit to his new editor, Kalyani (Reenu Mathews) .
Even if that is the plot, the film celebrates and foregrounds the woman – the working woman as wife, the wife as a home maker, a single mother, a divorcee, an entrepreneur wife, a doctor in all her different roles. She is shown to be mentally tough and successful, ready to take on a challenge at work and at home whatever her marital status. She even seen calling the death knell in the face of injustice and refuses to suffer. The film highlights the problems these women face .. In a way, although the main plot revolves around Warrier’s character, the film can be seen as the stories of a lot of women.. women being the lynch pin that brings it all together.
Warrier’s character is a junior advocate, she is a divorcee and a single mother to a 7 year old girl. She seems to be out of an abusive relationship, nevertheless, even after her divorce she is being continuously harassed by her ex husband (who is currently married to another woman, that is one plot.) Pillai’s mother is a character who is only talked about, from the nostalgic stories seems to be widowed at a young age, and therefore, a single mother, who brought up her only son all by herself, this is plot two. As a result, Pillai is a chronic bachelor in his 40s who is still in the look out for a perfect woman who has similar qualities like his mother (uffo!!). The character played by Reenu Mathews is of an owner of a publishing house.. strict and tough in work ethic, she has taken over the reigns of running it from her mother. There is retired couple who is enjoying each other now as their marriage was long distance during their working years. There is housewife turned business woman in the character Lena plays who travels for her work across states, she is mother of two kids whose husband has started on an extramarital affair in spite of the marital bliss they enjoy.. Lena is becoming an excellent actor with each of her roles..
With these characterizations and storyline the film joins recent films such as Mumbai Police, Diamond Necklace, 22FK in bringing out contemporary and urgent urban life scenarios. I think it is one of the first films which neither glorifies nor undermines the career woman, super woman or the home maker and sets forth to tell their story. In turn, these woman are treated at par with anybody else and not with the usual sympathetic or a look down approach just because they lack an active spouse or are not part of an ideal marital setting. The film celebrates the zest of these woman towards life in general without a trickle of regret for their past life, is captured very well.
Well, those are the brownie points, the rest of it is a reliving of some old Mohanlal movie dialogues .. “choyichu choyichu pokkam” is said twice by a seemingly drunk Mohanlal .. but it just happens that the line does not weave the magic or the humour it brought out in the original Ayal Kadha Ezhuthunnu. Or that line of Adv Deepa about responsibility.. which is taken from her comeback film of last year, How Old Are You. Mohanlal is hailed as the complete actor and westside seems to play the role of a sponsor.
Even if vineeth n pillai is happy, the audience may not be excited about the film as they walk out of the theatre.. because the pace of the film is a notch slow.. Lal and Anthikad need to understand that the actor’s antics with his legs and hands in his older superhit films need a revamp in the year 2015. There is a limit to which nostalgia can make a film, a hit.
The film also stars Innocent, Reenu Mathews, Gregory (DQ’s partner in ABCD..)
Picture: Google Images