Imagine a film by a stalwart like Sibi Malayil, the script of which has won the State Award remaining in the cans for more than five years. When you think about such a scenario, you feel a kind of numbness about the direction in which Malayalam cinema is headed.
Aayirathil Oruvan starring Kalabhavan Mani and Sujatha is the film. A social drama scripted by now famous T A Razak presents Mani as a Black Pearl. This was made before he developed his biceps and started aping superstars in his B class films.
Arvindan (Kalabhavan Mani) is an honest person with a heart of gold. He runs a ration shop in a rural area and has the burden of finding a match for one of his two younger sisters (the youngest had eloped). When a match is found for the other sister, there is a demand for exorbitant dowry.
The well-wishers of Arvindan convince him that the only solution for him is to marry a girl for dowry of an equivalent amount, and pay off his sister's dowry.
On the night after his wedding, it is discovered that the jewellery, which Arvindan got as dowry is fake. But, he would not allow his wife to be abused by his mother on this account. The problems that arise after this form the rest of the story.
It seems that the motto of the Razzak-Malayil team is to show how innocent people become victim of loan sharks and the so called blade mafia. But, the problem with the treatment is that it is all too simplified and is demarcated in pure black and white. There are no shades of grey in between.
Mani as Arvindan is so good a character that we don't even find a wrinkle let alone a squirm on his face. That is not all, he is also been called God in the latter part. The only saving grace is the unpretentious innocence in Mani's performance of those days.
About the rest of the cast, we feel pity that we haven't seen the charming beauty of Sujatha except in B grade Kotation. KPAC Lalitha is her usual self as Mani's mother. And, how much we miss a performer like Oduvil Unnikrishnan!
If not for anything else, you should see Aayirathil Oruvan if you are missing the old world charm in the movies these days.