Thursday, July 16, 2015

മാണിക്യക്കല്ല് (Manikyakallu) (2011)

Director: M. Mohanan
Writer:   M. Mohanan
Cast:      Prithviraj, Salim Kumar, Nedumudi Venu, Samvrutha Sunil
Language: Malayalam

Film is centered around a government school which achieved the dubious distinction of 100% failure rate in SSLC examination (10th standard). It has got only around 50 odd students and its teachers and the principal have various side-activities to attend to. Things begin to happen when a young teacher joins the school and attempts at changing the mindset of his colleagues and students.

It turns out that the film is based loosely on what happened in Brennan Higher Secondary School, Thalassery. A reference to that is made in the film as well in terms of the history of the school. Film can be seen as having a skeletal form of 'Aaram Thampuran', but with the setting changed. In stead of the temple festival, you have the students passing the SSLC exams as final goal and in stead of Mohanlal's verbal and physical battles, you have Prithviraj's persuasive reasoning. Both of them have something from the past that attracted them to this place and even the respective female leads in them are quite similar. So it is not a stretch to say that they basically the same film but with different treatment. 

Film has a very basic and predictable story-line and the first half of it is quite nicely paced and good to watch. It does struggle in the second half and some very unnecessary songs in it does not help at all. Songs are good though and are quite familiar to me through radio even though I didn't know that they were from this film. Students in the film are also quite good and most of the supporting cast does well even though I am quite sick of Nedumudi Venu again playing a Headmaster role.

Overall the film, despite the imperfections that are there mainly because of it adhering to conventions, is a good one-time watch. Role is perfect for Prithviraj since it has him in his interview mode. He always comes across, during his interviews, as someone who speaks a lot of sense and the role in this film suits his preachy style. It is set in a very remote like village, which I think is a lazy thing that is prevalent in Malayalam cinema off late, and I would have preferred a straight adaptation of the real life story, set in Thalassery.

Rating: 2.5/5