It is almost two months since Sathyan Anthikad’s 50th movie released back home, so a review may not be timely, but this is one movie you shouldn’t miss. While Sathyan moves out of his comfort zone and regurgitation to try something new with an intelligent and subtle screenplay, it is Mamta Mohandas who carries the movie through the slog overs with commendable panache making “Kadha thudarunnu..” one of the best malayalam movies I’ve seen in the last five years. And trust me I’ve seen them all.
“Kadha thudarunnu..” may not have the extreme intensity of Thalappavu, or the cunning intelligence and social commentary embedded in Paleri Manickam, or may be the breadth of emotions of a Kerala Cafe, but Kadha thudarunnu in the inimitable Sathyan style portrays the best within us and underlines the timeless creed that we, human beings, are essentially good. It appeals to the same heart’s side of the brain which classics like ‘list’, ‘life is beautiful’, and ‘redemption’ appeal to. The movie is a first from the Sathyan stable, inspite of ‘Achuvinte Amma’, which accepts ‘single mother’ as a respectable and inevitable social reality than as a sad transitional phase. Kadha Thudarunnu has around ten characters we will remember (not many movies can claim that), a clear strength of the Sathyan Anthikad style, while it stays clear of exaggerations seen in his movies like Sandesham, Achuvinte Amma, and Innathe Chinthavishayam. As my friend VN mentions in his NowRunning review “the film follows life rather than love”. It is a beautiful movie and every bit a must watch.
Story: The movie begins with a sneak peek into the happy life of Vidya, Shanavas, and their bubbly kid Laya. The couple antagonized their parents when they decided to live together, and are pretty much on their own, living on Shanavas’s meager income. Shanavas gets killed in a freak murder, a case of mistaken identity, which thrusts Vidya and her daughter into a harsh new world without a home, with no money left, and with no one to to turn to. Their world regains some balance when Vidya meets Preman (played by Jayaram), a superstitious auto-driver who once aspired to be a pilot. The movie follows Vidya and her daughter as they journey through one obstacle to another, and their endearing journey, and the story, continues in our minds(as the name puts it) even after the titles roll.
1. Screenplay: The suggestion has been made more than once, that Sathyan Anthikad and Blessy should rely on external screenplays rather than craft it themselves. Sathyan gives a fitting reply in his 50th movie. The screenplay including the song sequences are crafted with a lot of thought, weaving a woman’s anxiety and a mother’s helplessness into relevant social commentary and a thread of happy possibilities. It all fits in very well making the movie a repeat watch. It does not fall off the box-office cliff of tear-jerker into the the abyss of over-emoting. Sathyan says the story of good people, and as the saying goes, good people do not need many words between them. The screenplay does just that by answering ‘where does the money come from’ question in two frames in a song sequence, and even treating an amateur womanizer employer with a little difference.
2. Mamta Mohandas: and Baby Anikha lighten up the screen without the hyperbole one saw in Achuvinte Amma. Mamta refuses to cry, but still conveys deep angst, without the usual ‘podippum thongalum’ of our ‘kalathilakam’ heroines trained in ‘Kathakali’. Mamta once again proves her mettle with a strong performance without exaggerations and verbosity, and Anthikad makes a good call casting Baby Anikha who brings in a endearing freshness to several situations in the storyline which otherwise would have made the movie tad heavy. Jayaram understands where he fits in and plays his card with control and elan. KPAC Lalitha should be given JC Daniel award next year, it is already too late.
Not bad, but the supporting cast except a few can be placed in many a Sathyan movie from over the years. But Sathyan has been creating our own malgudis in his past 50 films, so I wouldn’t complain.
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Verdict: 3.5 stars of 5. Good Watch!
If I am not the last person to watch this movie, you shouldn’t be too.