Star Cast: Unni Mukundan, Devinandha, Sreepath, Saiju Kurup, and ensemble.
Director: Vishnu Sasi Shankar.
What’s Good: An adorable Unni Mukundan uses his cuteness to create a character lovable and partly mysterious.
What’s Bad: The film takes too long to reach the main point and that feels dragged. Also it doesn’t create the mystery entirely around Unni’s Character like it should.
Loo Break: Not when Unni Mukundan is on screen. Also, there is nothing so bad that you will want to take it. But if nature calls, answer it in the first half.
Watch or Not?: If a story about keeping the faith alive and living with the hope that motivates you is your thing, you will enjoy this story.
Language: Malayalam (with subtitles on selected screens)
Available on: In Theatres Near You!
Runtime: 120 Minutes.
An eight-year-old girl, Kalyani (Devinandha), wishes to visit the Sabarimala temple to meet her dear lord Ayyappan. But her father keeps pushing the plan until one day he agrees. But fate takes a bad turn and the dream shatters. Kalyani with her friend Unni decides to take that trip to Sabarimala and there she finds her redemption.
Malikappuram Movie Review: Script Analysis
The exploration of faith and the test of it is a very tough subject in cinema. There are two ends, one where you question it (not recommended in the times we are in politically, pun intended) and another where you dive into the emotions of it. Malikappuram is a story that finds itself on the latter. It talks about a girl who is fuelled by her pure faith regardless of whether she will meet her deity or not.
Malikappuram means the girl who is taking the holy trip to Sabarimala for the first time. In the case of Kalyani or Kallu as she is fondly addressed, this trip has been delayed forever. Writer Abhilash Pillai credited for story, screenplay and dialogue writes the movie with an intent to cater to children. To make them feel that faith in anything is never irrelevant even with modernization and the culture where the environment questions everything. For Kallu the faith is in Ayyappan, but it is never about demanding something but just to go see him one day. There is purity in her wish and the writing sticks to that with complete conviction.
Set in a small village with its own set of politics including that of the existence of Brahmins and the others who are non-vegetarians (the movie doesn’t delve deeper into the divide than food, thus the term), Malikappuram takes a very long time to set the base. We are told that Kallu with her friend Sreepath from a different community wishes to go to Sabarimala. But between her wanting to visit to the point she sets on the journey a very long chunk is used quite unnecessarily in parts to set the trigger that leads her to take the drastic step of leaving alone. This kind of dilutes the entire plot.
But credits to Pillai, Shankar and the team that they pace up in second half and create a movie that starts entertaining. I love how they imagine a god-sent man in Unni Mukundan and never make him the god literally barring one scene where he summersaults, cartwheels and shoots arrows. The best thing about it is that while it is God-like, the script and visuals never turn him into the stereotypical god-looking character. Rather they twist his arc such that you are made to reconsider your entire understanding of the film.
While made for children, the movie is also being consumed by adults, the makers slightly forget that point and don’t dive deeper into the subjects about their main plot other than charging the entire vehicle emotionally.
Malikappuram Movie Review: Star Performance
Unni Mukundan has an adorable screen presence in Malikappuram. The actor plays a mysterious part that has to be human and divine at the same time. He becomes an ideal choice because he pulls off everything given to him with ease. He is good at action, chemistry with the kids and just being happy.
Devinandha is amazing as Kalyani. For her age she emotes the emotions so effortlessly and it never looks like she is being directed by a filmmaker. Everything about the part comes out naturally from her. So does for Sreepath, who brings humour and cuteness both the screen.
Malikappuram Movie Review: Direction, Music
Director Vishnu Sasi Shankar manages to translate the material on the screen well. While his approach is close to staple in the first half, he finds his hook in the second. The filmmaker uses his DOP Vishnu Narayanan’s clever camera work creates frames that are beautiful and very catchy. When they move to the forest, the entire vibe elevate. The way Shankar shows the 18 step climb at the temple, it has to be the most touching part of the narrative.
Ranjin Raj’s music is appropriate for the movie because it navigates you through the film and tells you how to feel about it without going over the top.
Malikappuram Movie Review: The Last Word
Malikappuram is harmless and a feel good movie. Watch it for the acting performance.
Malikappuram releases on 30 December, 2022.
Share with us your experience of watching Malikappuram.
For more, read our Yashoda Movie Review here.
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