Director - TK Rajeev Kumar
Producer - Manian Pillai Raju
Cast - Mohanlal, Sreenivasan, Sameera Reddy, Devayani, Suraaj Venjarammoodu, Nedumudi Venu, Siddique, Manian Pillai Raju, Nasrin & others.
Music - MG Sreekumar
Cinematography - Manoj Pillai
Art Direction - Cyril Kuruvilla
Editor - B Ajith Kumar
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues - Sreenivasan
Release Date - 9th July 2010
Oru naal varum, oru naal varum, ennu paranjittu kore naalayittu naattukare vattam karakkiya padam, avasaanam innu vannu. And I should say, it has been worth the wait. The family audience who have been starving for a good movie should be very happy with this one, which comes with the irresistible combination of Mohanlal and Sreenivasan, that too in a Sreenivasan script, after the critically and commercially successful Udhayanaanu Thaaram. Directed by TK Rajeev Kumar who has given us some great films like Pavithram, Chanakyan, Shesham, Kannezhuthi Pottum Thottu etc returns to Malayalam after a hiatus through this social satire.
The film tells the story of a corrupt Assistant Town Planning Officer Gopi Krishnan (Sreenivasan) and the troubles he causes to an ordinary man Kolappulli Sukumaran (Mohanlal) who wants permission to build a house. Sukumaran is also going through a rough patch in his life where his wife Meera (Sameera Reddy) who is separated from him wants their daughter's custody. The movie progresses with a lot of interesting twists and turns.
The film bears the mark of a typical Sreenivasan satire throughout its length. TK Rajeev Kumar deftly handles the subject, but he, along with Sreenivasan could have made the events in the second half much more spicier. Artistes performing naturally has become a rarity in Malayalam movies, which can only be seen in Sathyan Anthikkad movies. So this one comes in as a breather in between all the larger than life, Tamil style movies and the so-called youth movies that are flooding the industry. It tells the tale of ordinary people and talks about the serious issue of corruption in a satirical way. The plot may seem a little similar to Roshan Andrews' Ividam Swargamanu but the treatment and Sreenivasan's script makes the difference in this one.
Watching Mohanlal in this movie is a sheer delight, especially in the first half. He transforms effortlessly to the helpless Kolappulli Sukumaran shedding all his superstar glory and even gets addressed as a 'thadiyan' by one of the characters. Mohanlal is the only actor who can get applause from the audience without any dialogues, through his amazing expressions alone. The 'chammal' that we have been missing for long is there in plenty here. He plays an ordinary man, so the weight is not an issue here. In fact, that aspect also has been used well in the movie. His chemistry with Sreenivasan is as usual, fantastic. Malayalis have always loved it when those two are pitted against each other, and it happens yet again in this movie also. There are 2 stunt scenes that seem forced into the narrative in the beginning, but then when Lalettan does stunts, you cant help but watch it in awe. The way he finishes off the stunt with Biju Pappan is too good. Mohanlal and Sameera Reddy dont look all that great together as a couple and their chemistry is also quite thanda. But its great to see him in such a simple role which we have always wanted him to do.
Sreenivasan plays the corrupt Gopi Krishnan with his trademark sarcasm and plays the perfect foil for Mohanlal's Kolappulli Sukumaran. Both of them share equal screen space throughout the movie, and Sreenivasan makes sure that the role of the corrupt officer with slight negative shades is in safe hands. The scenes involving him and Mohanlal in the first half alone can give you your money's worth. He matches up to Mohanlal in each scene through the cat and mouse games in the second half.
Nedumudi Venu was superb as usual. The scene at the corporation office with him, Mohanlal and Kottayam Naseer was a howler. This movie is a perfect example of how our comedians can be used effectively. Suraaj Venjarammood who was slowly turning into a disgrace for our films, redeems himself through some neat comedy in this movie (no Trivandrum slang this time around even though the movie is set in Trivandrum). Hope he finally understands that comedy can also be done without resorting to vulgar toilet humour. (Thanks to Sreenivasan). Siddique in a short role proves again that he's an exceptional actor. His acting is top-notch and he gets one of the best lines in the movie as well. Sameera Reddy was just okay. She really didnt have much to do, and her lip-sync wasnt very good. Devayani was really funny as Sreenivasan's wife who loves to play good host to her guests. The girl Nazrin who played Sreenivasan's daughter is promising, whereas Mohanlal's daughter Anu could have been played by a better girl. Manian Pillai Raju, Indrans, etc are just there.
Sreenivasan proves yet again that he's the best in writing realistic and witty dialogues in Malayalam. The first half is full of such brilliant lines and the movie moves swiftly through well constructed scenes. On the flipside, the second half turns a little slow and predictable here and there and the climax is not very eventful. But that doesnt make the movie bad in any way, just that the tempo of the first half was missing in the second half. The cat and mouse games could have been done in a better fashion. The family angle looked a little half baked, even though the idea of the characters going through a divorce was good.
Manoj Pillai has done some nice work with his cinematography. His frames which include multiple actors together were done very well and was different from the stuff that we usually see. Cyril Kuruvilla creates the right atmosphere for the movie through his art direction. MG Sreekumar gives his career best as a music director. The song 'Maavin Chottile' is extremely melodious. The other melody 'Paadan Ninakkoru' appears during the end credits as a flashback sequence. Editing by Ajith Kumar was all right.
Rating - 3.5/5 (Being a little extra liberal)
(Photos from thecompleteactor.com)