Sunday, 8 May 2011

Maanikkya kallu

2011 by M Mohanan

A government high school in a remote village is fast getting extinct. For long, it has achieved cent percent failure in the school leaving examinations. Naturally, there are only a few students left in the school, obviously from the most poor people in the village. And nobody, including the teachers and parents, are interested in the fate of these students and school. Teachers are happy they get their regular salaries and also get more than enough time to engage in other business. A new teacher, who specifically requested to be appointed in this school, arrives and wants to take the responsibility of making a difference.

Being released as a main stream movie with prominent stars and actors, all is quite predictable about this movie and that is exactly what happens too. So there are teachers who have different interests, lead by a head master himself, some villagers who show interest in school activities and a story which , exaggerative though, talks about the situation faced by more than a few Govt. run schools in villages, with the necessary extra ingredients of a love story, an orphaned child waiting to be lead to good life etc.

It is not a bad movie and has more than a few beautiful moments. However, the script and the director seems to have put in some effort to not raise it above an ordinary watchable movie. As a director, Mohanan showed us that he held some promise with his Kadha Parayumbol, but with Manikkya kallu, he is not able to make a forward step, but steps backwards too, at least by one or two. It is also noteworthy that the climax in both his movies share almost the same sequence, which cannot be definitely termed as a style. But may I repeat, this is still not a bad watch and considering all the horrible main stream movies we are used to, it is a better one. At least it is glad to know that some one has touched upon the affairs of Malayalam medium Govt. schools in a full length movie.

Prithviraj plays the young teacher and has done a decent job. But just like the fate of George Clooney, in spite of all his efforts and sincerity in taking these kind of simple roles, Prithviraj always looks Prithviraj on screen, barring one or two exceptions.

Samvritha Sunil gets a role, a role which is more challenging than all what she have done so far, and is only just ok, I am afraid. I terribly wish, this actress with the most lovely facial features, typically Keralan, also puts in a bit more weight to enable her to take all kinds of matured roles. Even her colourful saris are not able to cover up her too sticky frame, which I am afraid is a draw back in her performances, especially for these kind of roles. For I believe, acting is not just facial expressions and a better physique and its body languages can always support and even improve the facial feelings.

Having said all this if an avid Bollywood fan, a North Indian, is watching this movie, he might still say this is an art film.