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Review: Manikyakkallu is mediocre fare

Last updated on: May 06, 2011 13:28 IST

A still from ManikyakkalluParesh C Palicha reviews the Malayalam movie Manikyakkallu. Post YOUR reviews here!

It is said that there are only a limited number of stories out there and the magic lies in how you tell the story.

If we gauge the story of Manikyakkallu -- the new film directed by M Mohanan (the man who impressed us with Kadha Parayumbol four years back), starring Prithviraj and Samvrutha Sunil -- will leave a lot to be desired.

The story is about Vinayachandran (Prithviraj), a government school teacher who selects an ill-reputed Vannamala Government Higher Secondary School in a remote area for his first posting. He has come with the agenda of reviving the school's fortune, which is on the verge of closure.

Not only the building of the school in a debilitated state, even the teachers and students seem to have reconciled with the school's fate and secretly wish for its closure. They have been using the school's premises for other profitable ventures like the principal (Nedumudi Venu) uses it as a warehouse for his fertiliser business. The music teacher (Jagadeesh) uses the classrooms for training his students to participate in the television reality shows. The physical trainer, Chandni (Samvrutha Sunil) is more interested in the growth of her poultry business than the well being of her wards.

There are trade unionists, who lecture about revolution, and commission agents who thrive on the booming real estate business.

Not to be left far behind, the students are extremists in their own right. Some are perverts of unmentionable kind and some perform the duty of carriers in the illicit liquor trade to earn pocket money.

The going is good till the scenario and characters are established, which takes almost one-third of the narrative. After that, the story flows in the predictable direction without any real heart-tugging moments. It seems as if the story is diluted to keep the audience entertained without providing any food for thought.

Mohanan's previous outing Kadha Parayumbol may have had a thinner storyline still, it touched the viewers (maybe it's because of Sreenivasan's script and his intrinsic humour that etched out a lifelike character of a barber). Here the director credited for the script, writes a very shallow one.

We should give credit where it is due; we have not seen so many beautifully shot songs except in the films of Lal Jose.

The actors have additional responsibility of making the premise look credible. Prithviraj's Vinayachandran is a character that is soft spoken and follows Gandhian principles (who gives just two slaps in the name of 'action' in the entire movie). Still, he can silence his rival colleagues, District Education Officer and the Education Minister with his dialogues, that too without being bombastic like Suresh Gopi.

Samvrutha Sunil's portrayal of Chandni is chirpy, independent and does not mind dancing with the hero all the time.

Manikyakkallu was a highly anticipated film as Prithviraj was doing a common man's role after doing a spate of inane action thrillers, and also because of director M Mohanan's track record of giving us a sensitively made Kadha Parayumbol earlier. But the film ends up being a mediocre fare.

Rediff Rating:

Paresh C Palicha in Kochi