Mallu Singh Malayalam Movie Review
Producer- Nita Anto
Cast- Unni Mukundan, Kunchacko Boban, Biju Menon, Manoj K Jayan, Suraaj Venjaramoodu, Samvritha Sunil etc.
Background score- Gopi Sundar
Vysakh lets us down this time. I won’t say Vysakh is a great filmmaker or someone who’s indispensable. But he knows the art of churning out colourful entertainers, which seem to break formulae and stereotype, but are part of a formula that’s sort of new in Malayalam Cinema and which too would soon get stereotyped. I won’t say his ‘Pokkiri Raja’ and ‘Seniors’ are great movies; I like him because he has no such pretensions either. He knows it very well that he is churning out entertainers for the masses and wants the masses to flock to see his films. ‘Pokkiri Raja’ won as he tried a new combo, bringing together Mammootty and Prithviraj and cashing in on their box office appeal and strengths. In ‘Seniors’ once again he tried a totally new combo and brought together Jayaram, Kunchacko Boban, Biju Menon and Manoj K Jayan to deliver yet another entertainer. He was not repeating himself then. But now he repeated himself and also sought to repeat some other filmmakers and there he missed the mark. ‘Mallu Singh’ doesn’t bore you; but the big question is- Does it entertain you? The answer seems to be more negative than affirmative.
Let’s begin with the story; I’d prefer to narrate it in brief. Ani (Kunchacko Boban) hopes that his cousin Hari (Unni Mukundan), who left home about seven years back and who has left no trace as to where he has gone, comes back. But there are people (Hari’s villainous cousins) who want to establish that Hari is dead and wrest his property as and when the period of seven years, after which a missing person may be considered dead, is past. Three more months to go for that and Ani one day sees on TV a Sikh guy who looks exactly like Hari. The Sikh guy, whose name is Harinder Singh, lives in Punjab in ‘Mallu Street’, where people who have migrated to Punjab from Kerala reside. Harinder Singh is known there as Mallu Singh. Ani is sure that Harinder Singh is Hari. He travels all the way to Punjab. On the one hand he wants to find and bring back his cousin, who is also his friend, for his own sake. On the other hand, he wants to do that for the sake of his wife Ashwathy alias Achu (Samvritha Sunil), who has been in love with Hari and whose marriage was already fixed with Hari.
Ani reaches Punjab and gets acquainted with Pappan (Manoj K Jayan) and Karthikeyan (Biju Menon), both of whom are close to Harinder Singh. And then, he manages to get into Mallu Singh’s house too, where he works, looking after the cows. So, what happens to his quest for Hari forms the rest of the plot. Also in the story are the four sisters of Harinder Singh; the big brother is so protective of his sisters that he’d thrash anyone who dares look at them. (Hey, are you reminded of Mammootty’s ‘Hitler’ Madhavankutty? No need to think hard; the director himself reminds you, with a comment, that Mallu Singh is another Hitler Madhavankutty indeed!).
The storyline seems OK, but it’s the packaging that goes wrong. The film is intended to be a colourful comic entertainer. Colourful it is; it can’t be anything but colourful, since it’s shot mostly in Punjab, with lush green fields as the backdrop and the lead players sporting the most colourful of costumes. But comedy, that’s where it falls flat. Most sequences that are intended to be comic don’t make you laugh. The actors who could have made you laugh- Biju Menon and Manoj.K.Jayan especially- fail to do so, courtesy the flaws in characterization and not-so-good dialogues. The songs all fall in a pattern and offer nothing new. The climax is predictable. The film, if it had to be impressive should have had good dialogues, better comedy sequences and a pace that suits a comic entertainer. Characterisation should have been handled in a much better manner too.
As of now, the film is just so so and fails to deliver.
Kunchacko Boban doesn’t seem as impressive as he has been in other recent films of his. Something is lacking. Unni Mukundan looks good, but on the acting side, he has to improve. Manoj K Jayan and Biju Menon have not much scope for performance. The heroines- well, names don’t matter, the characters could have been done by just anyone and performances are OK. The others are not bad, except perhaps Suraaj Venjaramoodu. Are we not fed up seeing him repeat himself again and again?!
Shaji’s cinematography is brilliant; he captures the beauty of Punjab spectacularly well and does his part in as excellent a manner as possible. Joseph Nellickal does the art direction too with style and recreates the Punjabi atmosphere in all essence.
Gopi Sundar’s background score is good. Songs tuned by M.Jayachandran are good, but not outstanding. A couple of songs could stay alive in our memories for quite some time.
Sethu should have paid much attention to the humour element, which is what the film seems to be lacking. On the characterization side too, the film fails and dialogues don’t have much of a punch, especially comic punch, in them.
Vysakh is in full control, but with a script that’s not up to the mark and with the kind of flawed characterization and issues about dialogue quality that make the film go wrong, he is rendered helpless in a way. But I can’t help blame him too. He could have chosen a better script or perhaps could have made sure the writer gives him the kind of dialogue and characterisation that he needs. So bad the film lacks in these areas and we are not that impressed. Vysakh should now try not to repeat himself in his next film.
Verdict: Not up to the mark