Sunday, January 22, 2017

മുന്തിരിവള്ളികൾ തളിർക്കുമ്പോൾ (Munthirivallikal Thallirkkumbol) (2017)

Director: Jibu Jacob
Writers: Sindhuraj, Pramod Pilla, Sooraj
Cast: Mohanlal, Meena, Anoop Menon
Language: Malayalam 

Ulahannan (Mohanlal) is a Panchayat Secretary with a wife and two children. He is going through midlife crisis and his only solace is the daily liquor fueled meetings he have his neighbourhood friends. One of them is a compulsive flirt who encourages him to spice up his life with an affair.

Jibu Jacob's debut feature  'Vellimoonga' is a film that I found to be very overrated and the script writer for this film, Sindhuraj, is a name to avoid. So this was a film on which I had no expectations when it was announced and was not planning to watch. But the month long film strike and the good reviews that it is getting changed my mind and I got to say it is a very decent one-time watch. It is the sort of film I wouldn't complete if I was watching it from the comforts of my home but a theatre experience vastly improves the film as it removes the option of changing channels and paper over lot of its cracks.

The film begins on all the wrong notes with a subtle veneer of casteism and classism that is quite common in most Malayalam films of this kind. But it picks up with the introduction of Ulahannan's short lived affair and is quite an enjoyable watch till the end with minor bumps along the way. Mohanlal sleepwalks through most roles these days and what you get mostly is the preachy ad version of him. He manages to get into this character which is a very welcome change even though he relapses towards the end which can be blamed on the script. The best thing about the film is that it is not centered on something very dramatic when looking from outside but can be for those who experience it. Director manages to do it in a very non-cringy fashion even though there is certainly a morality message in it. The fact that he doesn't opt to drive it through a hammer on nail approach certainly helps.

They could've easily avoided some songs, Asha Sharath's character (the whole conversation was pure cringe in the 'Niram eda poda fashion') and some of his job stuff, especially in the second half. People can make quite an obvious comparison with  'Anuraga Karikkinvellam' ,not just for the similarity of the font used for their respective roles. AKV  had its very real life like character interactions as its strongest point.  MVT is not nearly as good as it in terms of character interactions but will do very well at box office as it caters to the family audience with their concerns being a central issue in the second half. Overall it is a decent one time watch albeit with fair share of clichés like modern rich are loose on 'morals', middle class housewives are always chaste and very sensible for their age teenagers.

Jana Gana Mana Status: Watched it from a houseful multiplex screen and I sat through it without any consequences. Rest all spacemonkeys stood up for it.

Rating: 2.5/5