This Malayalam drama brims over with a genuine outflow of emotionalism. Sadly, its over-emotional approach to the theme of abandoned parents, proves its undoing. The first-half will take you deep into its warm embrace. We see 78-year Velu (Indrans, brilliant) and his quietly supportive wife Kochammini (Uma KP) eking out a bare existence in their idyllic village. They eat what they produce and hope not to fall ill. For, who can afford the pill,let alone the bill?
There is this lengthy one-shot sequence in the first-half where Velu prepares a special herbal soup for his ailing wife. We don’t see much of what Velu is doing because it’s pitch-dark. But we FEEL his concern and love for his wife. The camera is respectful, attentive.
The Velu-Kochammini pair reminded me of Sanjeev Kumar and Mala Sinha in Zindagi, or if you prefer more glamour than Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini in Baghban. Though these are irrelevantly glamourised embodiments of neglected parents, Velu and his wife’s craving to see their only son for the coming Onam is so intense, I felt their impending disappointment will kill them.
I loved the languorous bucolic rhythm of the first-half. But the second-half set in the city simply falls apart. Velu and his wife suddenly travelling to the city to meet their only son’s family (whom they’ve never met before) and all the sloppy sappiness that flows out in an unhampered torrent, is not only out-of-rhythm with the first-half it is also vaguely annoying in the way elders can be in reformist cinema when they take upon themselves to teach the city folks a lesson in humanism.
The two halves of this split-personality film are hard to swallow. So I suggest you watch this misguided but well-intended film till mid-point, and then, like the ungrateful son, just abandon the film. Veteran actor Indrans who plays the desolate patriarch serves up a performance steeped in a tragic grandeur that this film denies itself.
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