Star Cast: Jacob Gregory, Anupama Parameswaran, Shritha Sivadas, S V Krishna Shankar, Sunny Wayne and Nazriya Nazim
Director: Shamzu Zayba
What’s Good: An earnest Jacob Gregory who even makes romancing a tree look believable.
What’s Bad: There are rough patches, and they shine, which they aren’t supposed to. Also, the predictable plot points.
Loo Break: Just when the above-mentioned patches appear.
Watch or Not?: Watch it for the simple approach and a fantastic Jacob who with an able supporting cast creates a believable and beautiful character.
Ashokan, a man who has crossed ‘the marriageable age’ is still dreaming of marital life. He isn’t the quintessential hero; rather he is a man with less than average height, darker shade, and next door boy looks. In a weird turn of events, a glitch in his horoscope comes forward, and his world is turned upside down. A priest suggests him to marry a tree and this is what leads to an unexpected twist! Watch. The film is produced and presented by Dulquer Salmaan.
Maniyarayile Ashokan Movie Review: Script Analysis
When you try to make a commentary on social stigma, there are two ways, a bold take and the other with humour induced. Maniyarayile Ashokan takes the latter path and shows you the bizarreness of the arranged marriage system we all feel is normal. The obsession with good looks, the fear of the horoscope, lack of authority, and the (weird) rituals we tend to follow to align our stars.
Written by Magesh Boji, Vineeth Krishnan and directed by Shamzu Zayba, the film talks about all the aforementioned topics while tracing life through Ashokan’s eyes. Ashokan, who himself is unmarried, is seeing various shades of marriage around him. A newly budding romance, a just married couple, a couple on the verge of divorce, one that has aged together, and amid all this is the matchmaking that we all have heard and joked about for ages.
The writers are aware of how delicate this situation is, so they introduce humour. When a priest tells Ashokan to marry a Banana tree, you laugh at it. Lesser did I know I was prepping for a serious conversation.
The handling is simple and delicate. When Ashokan has to choose a tree to marry, he walks through the farm and rejects one tree after another pointing out lamest of the defects. But the scene stands out because this time he has the authority. The man who has faced rejections all his life is now on the choosing end. What if it’s a tree he is getting to reject. His inner battle was evident in that brief moment.
It is a series of these little moments that keep Maniyarayile Ashokan alive. Be it the forever supportive friends, a loving father, the breakdown moments.
What doesn’t seem to go easy is the predictable nature of the film almost through the major parts. You know what the outcome will be and you are already prepared for it, which brings me to the loose ends that are left untied. Maybe a bit more depth in the parts towards the climax would have done wonders.
Maniyarayile Ashokan Movie Review: Star Performance
I have already said this and will repeat it, Jacob Gregory is an actor with his emotions and art in his control. The man knows how to change shades and does it effortlessly. The scene I spoke about in which he chooses a tree, Gregory blows life in it, and how!
All the supporting stars including S V Krishna Shankar, Anupama Parmeshwaran, Vijayaraghavan, Sreelakshmi and others contribute just right to make this universe look authentic and relatable.
Maniyarayile Ashokan Movie Review: Direction, Music
Director Samzu Zayba does a good job. He translates the story on screen pretty well. Though the opening sequence bothered me a bit (too much actually), I made peace with the fact that it is just showing me the stigma with humour. Apart from patches that go dull (example the rehab phase), everything else is simple and digestible.
Music by Sreehari K Nair is for the ones craving for some good romantic tracks. There is a heartbreak track too, if you were craving for one.
Sayad Kakku’s cinematography is beautiful in parts. While the landscape is gorgeous in the daylight, I loved how Kakku captured the nights.
Maniyarayile Ashokan Movie Review: The Last Word
Maniyarayile Ashokan is a film you go in with no expectations or preconceived notions. Watch it for a message and the simplicity it is told with. Give it a try; maybe you will like it, maybe not. But you won’t regret it. Also isn’t Dulquer Salmaan presenting it a reason enough to watch it?
Maniyarayile Ashokan Trailer
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