Movie - Malarvaadi Arts Club (Malayalam)
Director - Vineeth Sreenivasan
Producer - Dileep
Cast - Nivin Pauly, Aju Varghese, Shraavan, Hari Krishnan, Bhagath Manuel, Nedumudi Venu, Jagathy Sreekumar, Salimkumar, Janardhanan, Suraaj Venjarammoodu, Kottayam Naseer, Apoorva Bose and others.
Music and Background Score - Shaan Rahman
Cinematography - P Sukumar ISC
Editor - Ranjan Abraham
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues - Vineeth Sreenivasan
Release Date - 16th July 2010
There was a time in Malayalam Cinema where the antics and adventure of the unemployed youth made for some really interesting stories and feature films. Priyadarshan, Siddique-Lal, Sathyan Anthikkad and Sreenivasan made so many memorable movies telling the stories of the misadventures of such young people, which are still fresh in our minds. But as time passed, such movies became a rarity. And youth films became restricted to the so-called 'campus' films which came one after the other with almost the same storylines in every film. But now, this young guy called Vineeth Sreenivasan takes us back to a village called Manassheri and tells the story of 5 young, spirited, but unemployed guys and their friendship with lots of humour, music and masti.
The movie is about the 5 young guys called Prakashan (Nivin), Santosh (Shraavan), Purushu (Bhagath), Praveen (Hari) and Kuttu (Aju), the only members of the club called Malarvaadi Arts Club in their village. They have a mentor in their building's owner Kumarettan (Nedumudi Venu), who treats them like his own children. They are a bunch of fun-loving guys who also double up as taskmasters for a political party in the village. They go around creating and inviting trouble around them, having fun while doing all that. But then, Santosh's family goes through a financial crisis and in that stage, Kumarettan and the rest of the Malarvaadi gang, inspire him to pursue his real talent - music, and participate in a reality show. Santosh becomes an overnight sensation making Kumarettan and his friends very proud. But then an incident occurs through which their relationship is affected deeply. What happens next forms the rest of the story.
Vineeth got an opportunity to direct a movie so early in his career, only because of his lineage. But unlike other star-kids, he didnt waste that opportunity. Instead, he has worked hard to get the best out of that chance and the result is out there for everyone to see. The story is definitely nothing new and follows predictable routes mostly, but the whole package makes watching the movie a worthwhile experience. Vineeth's treatment, the performance of the newcomers, natural dialogues and the great music are the best aspects of the movie. Like most of the people in our generation, Vineeth also has been influenced by almost all the movies based on friendship and music, and that is very evident in the movie as well. There are portions which remind you of Dil Chahta Hai, Goa, Chennai 28 and Rock On. But still, he was smart enough to admit it beforehand that he has been influenced by all these movies. But he has treated them only as influences, rather than trying to copy them blindly, which is a very good sign. Vineeth has extracted fine performances out of all his new finds. His acting camp before the shoot of the movie has certainly enhanced their performances. The dialogues of the movie are excellent, and such natural dialogues are hardly heard in Malayalam these days, where each sentence is dramatic and over the top in almost all movies. Such natural conversations used to happen (and still happens) only in Sreenivasan films, and thankfully his son has acquired that quality from him effectively. He also takes some digs at politics and politicians, in true Sreenivasan style.
Nivin, who has played the part of Prakashan is the best among the newbies. He has amazing screen presence and his performance is the backbone of the film. His energy and aggression reminded me of Sasikumar from Subramaniapuram. Aju, who plays Kuttu, a modern day version of Harihar Nagar's Appukkuttan (the old one), has some hilarious lines and scenes. Bhagath, Shraavan and Harikrishnan also make impressive debuts as Purushu, Santosh and Praveen respectively. (I have a doubt if Vineeth Sreenivasan himself dubbed for Shraavan in the movie. The voice sounded very familiar). Bhagath shines in emotional scenes and his short romantic portion. Nedumudi Venu has the best written role in the movie and the veteran makes a huge impact through his performance. Jagathy Sreekumar and Salimkumar are wasted. Kottayam Naseer and Janardhanan are okay. Suraaj Venjarammoodu plays the same goonda role that he has been playing in all other movies. (Thankfully no vulgar jokes this time). Apoorva Bose and the other new girl do their parts well. The Senior comes in a short, but impressive cameo as well. In short, the newcomers have performed better than the established actors in this movie.
Shaan Rahman has done a fantastic job with the music of the film. The songs of the film have been out for a pretty long time and are already chartbusters. Each song gels well into the narrative of the film, the best ones being 'Innoree Mazhayil' and 'Changayi'. The climax song could have been a little more better. Vineeth's lyrics are also extremely good. (You can find my music review of the album here). Background score is excellent and it strikes an effective balance between music and silence. Shaan has sneaked in his 'Palavattam' tune in a scene with Salimkumar, which was damn cool. His 'Shashi' track for Salimkumar and 'Who let the dog out' for Suraaj were hilarious. His background score has certainly enhanced the movie very much. P Sukumar's shots were easy to the eye and the song 'Manyamahajanangale' and the finale song 'Aayiram Kaatham' had some nice frames. Ranjan Abraham's editing is perfect for the film.
Malarvaadi Arts Club is a team effort and it shows on each and every frame of the movie. It looks like the team had a great time making the movie, under the leadership of Vineeth. The multitasker has proved himself as a singer, an actor, a lyricist and now a writer-director. He has made a light-hearted, entertaining movie which can be enjoyed by people of all age groups and from all walks of society. It has its share of flaws, but the sincerity and the teamwork behind this project overshadows all those flaws. The movie is not pretentious like other so-called youth films and succeeds in narrating a simple story of friendship in an effective way. Dileep also deserves brownie points for taking up this project and producing it under his banner, thus making its reach much more wider than what it could have been otherwise. After all said and done, the film makes us smile while coming out of the theatre, and thats more than enough for one to call it a great film. Kudos to the entire Malarvaadikkoottam. Manyamahajanangale, these 'Kashmalans' are here to stay!!
Rating - 4/5