20 January 2017 | rahulmohan11
Clichéd, but not preachy !!
When was the last time we saw Lalettan as a down to earth family person — a caring husband and loving father? Of course, last year's Telugu blockbuster, Janatha Garage is one, but I would consider it as the latest in the list inspired from 1972 classic - The Godfather. So it was in Drishyam (2013) which re wrote most of the collection records in Malayalam cinema that we saw Mohanlal as a family man — a role which he plays with ease and excels like any other. Mohanlal always plays it safe with directors — we don't frequently see him associating with debutants or relatively newcomers and this is one factor which differentiates the two big Ms of Malayalam cinema. So when the film was announced with Jibu Jacob as the director whose debut film Vellimoonga was a surprise hit at the box office along with M Sindhuraj as the script writer, I had my doubts — 75% of which went wrong as I walked out of the hall after watching the film. Based on a short story Pranayopinashath by V J James, MVT narrates the tale of Panchayat Secretary Ulahanan played by Mohanlal and his wife Annie played by Meena. The screenplay captures various moments in their lives, mostly at the Panchayat office and the housing colony. Ulahanan is a middle-aged government employee, a man quite used to the boredom of middle age and his life is about home and office. Mohanlal plays this portion extremely well, with an annoyed face, salt and pepper hairstyle and a stubble. Anoop Menon, Alencier Ley Lopez, and Kalabhavan Shajohn play the roles of Ulahanan's neighbor's cum friends. The film after establishing the characters takes a turn when Ulahanan attends a college reunion, where he realizes its the absence of love and passion that's making his life boring. The flirt Venukuttan, played by Anoop Menon advises Ulahanan to get a girlfriend and Neha Saxena's Julie is introduced. Thanks to the script writer and director, the voluptuous Julie doesn't have that much of a screen time and the role is like an extended cameo. The character, however, is important in the screenplay as Julie is the reason for Ulahanan to realize that his LIFE is his WIFE which is the film's tag line — My Life is My Wife. The middle- age romance between Ulahanan and Annie is beautiful though their reconciliation scenes was a bit melodramatic and dialogue clichéd which were booed by the audience. This forms the crux of the story and we are presented with various cute moments from their lives along with sub plots and a convincing climax.The film was actually set for a Christmas release, however, was delayed by the theater strike in Kerala. Among the cast, other than Mohanlal, Meena impresses again. She once again proves that, among the contemporary actors, she is the best leading lady for Mohanlal. She is one of those rare actresses who gets/chooses script backed, performance oriented entertainers even after the comeback. Their combination is great and the same magic which we saw in Drishyam is more or less present here too, with Meena getting more screen time. Manju Warrier too would have excelled in this role, I guess. Aima and Sanoop play their kids. Aima does a decent job, especially at the climax while Sanoop has nothing great to do. Anoop Menon is a talent wasted. Venukuttan is a role that can be easily played by someone like Aju Varghese or so. Sharafuddin who plays the office assistant Reji, Suraj Venjaramoodu who plays the President, Sudheer Karamana who plays Chalakan all makes into the list of underutilized talents. I was glad to see Bindu Panicker on screen after a pretty long gap. Malayalam cinema is always known for its content and this film is no different. On the technical side, cinematography by Pramod K Pillai and editing by E S Sooraj is okay, nothing extra ordinary there. Music of this film is a big let down as none of the music directors — Bijipal nor M Jayachandran has offered a hum-worthy/catchy song. The visualizations of the songs, however, make up for the shortcoming as the audience is kept engaged to an extend. Bijipal's BGM was, however, satisfactory. I was not a fan of M Sindhuraj as a scriptwriter and this film doesn't prove me wrong. Many of the dialogues were clichéd and scenes unwanted. The film needs a bit of trimming here and there. MVT is typical Sathyan Anthikad type film — no suspense, twists or surprises, yet we are kept engaged till the end. The biggest positive of the film is that it doesn't get preachy anywhere, though there were ample moments for that in the film. The story line is highly predictable though the climax was a good one. The topics of extra marital affairs, teenage infatuations, and frictions in the marriage have been told and tested before and its the presentation and the lea pair's extraordinary chemistry that did the job here. Yet there were some highly melodramatic scenes and clichéd dialogues which were welcomed with boos by the audience and I seriously feel its time to say good bye to those sentimental scenes as not even a single scene are left without being booed. And not to miss the ending sequence where Mohanlal quotes the Bible, a quote remembered by the Malayalam audience for the great storyteller Padmarajan and his classic Namukku Parkan Munthirithoppukal. Also, it's not quite common to see novel or short story adaptations in Malayalam and the very latest one which I can recollect is Ranjith's Leela which was, of course, not made for the common audience. To conclude, after the thrilling Oppam and high voltage Pulimurugan, Mohanlal had made the right choice of Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol. The film's USP is Mohanlal and the Mohanlal Meena chemistry, go for it, you may miss the star but the actor definitely won't disappoint you.