The International Movie Review

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Maadambi – A typical Mohanlal flick

Posted by harino1 on July 10, 2008

The biggest deserving debate of the recent times in Mollywood has been mainly about the non availability of refreshing story lines and imaginative writers. Recycling seems to be word that is awfully repeated in this industry from the word ‘go’.

Adding to the list of these rehashed genres is B Unnikrishnan’s ‘Maadambi’, which doesn’t have anything fresh to offer. Every events and characters that you witness in the movie reminds of many that you had been with, much before. With a basic storyline as old as the hill, and Mohanlal in his every typical mannerism, why do you find ‘Maadambi’, an above average film?

With typical commingled formula stuff sprinkled all through, the movie largely captures our interest mainly due to the slick pace and undeviating narratives which never wander out of the lead lines.

The film is scripted in the lines of plenty of the old hits like Midhya, Vesham, Balettan, Valiettan and Valtsalyam taking bits and pieces from its every predecessor. The plot lines of sacrifices of the elder brother for the younger, seems one beaten up to death, but smart packaging is all that makes a difference to make the movie work.

Mohanlal for the first time in his career is appearing as a cunning money lender and a local banker, Puthen Veetil Gopalakrishna Pillai, from Ilavattom village in Pathanamthitta. And off course this is one of the rare films in which the super star has taken particular care to sound his accent so original to that of this central travancore district.

Set against this feudal Nair backdrop with ancestral mansions to the majestic ‘Gajaveeran’, Goplakrishna Pillai has a horrifying past, where his irresponsible father (Saikumar), a patron of arts and temple festivals has mismanaged their entire fortune to end up pennyless. The cheating of his good friend Parameshwara Kurup, who then built up a decent life for himself with the grabbed accounts, made Pillai’s father vanish from the village leaving his wife and two small children Pillai has given a word to his father -to bring up his younger brother and to look after his mother without peril and for that he has rebuilt all the lost grandeur, working day and night from his younger age  as a shrewd businessman, more a cunning money lender.

So the stage is set, with Kurup and his venomous sons always looking forward to devastate Pillai and the protagonist taking all steps to remain unscathed from the brooding enemies. Into this atmosphere arrives Jayalakshmi with a branch of a new generation bank. Pillai’s younger brother Ramakrishnan is an aspiring movie star who does not like to work on any thing, seriously. The whole twists came up when Ramakrishnan falls for the Kurup’s daughter. Kurup and his sons agrees for the marriage but had already plotted the plans for the ultimate destruction of Pillai. They persuade Ramakrishnan to bring down his brother .How Pillai stands the tycoon unleashed against him follows the rest of the very predictable flick.

The major drawback of the plot other than its recycled feel is the unconvincing final twists and flash backs. Even the court scenes appear too stagy and dramatic. Mohanlal as Pillai acts effortless but little can match his earlier similar ”ever sacrificing brother” roles like that of Balettan. Unnikrishanan has taken special care ” even to present the most brilliant actor of Mollywood, just the same way he was presented in ”Vellanakaludenadu”, 18 years  ago. Kavya appear pretty but is in an undemanding role with not even a single romantic scene with Lal. Ajmal Ameer as the self-centered younger brother and Mallika Kapoor as his sympathetic wife looks out sync with the timing of the other seniors in the frames like Pillai’s lawyer Mohankumar ( Jagathy) or  the local ‘Karayogam’ president (Innocent). Infact the Ajmal’s and Mallika’s character sketches are straight lift from the hit movie ‘Vesham’, with events shaping up very much similar to the later. Even the supporting characters and villains are typically regular ones, in their most regular outings and dialogues. Infact, the scriptwritor in Unnikrishnan seems to have never attempted to create anything in original than to recreate. Instead, he sticks to the most conservative image and sequences that hit films of Lal always exhibits.

Despite the shortcomings, ‘Maadambi’ works for a number of solid reasons and that’s what the viewer carries home. Mohanlal has got his share of punch lines like ”athu nee thaangathille’ which goes  very well with the audience , and he maintains a  brilliant restrained  act ,all through .Apart from the lead star’s unfussy performances, the movie hold fast  a strict pace  thanks to  good editing from  Manoj. The music and rerecording of the movie by M. Jayachandran is another highlight of the movie. The songs like ”Ammamazha” are quite hummable. Vijay Ulakanathan’s camerawork also perfectly suits the mood of the movie, though a couple of scenes seem to have been shot at noon with dark shadows all around.

Don’t expect too many fireworks and typical Lal numbers from ‘Maadambi’. It’s an extremely simple, uncomplicated old faschioned tale that never goes over the top. And if you are too addicted with the family movies of the eighties and nineties, this seems to be your best bet that has arrived in the recent times.

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