Even after many visits to International film festivals with a number of recognitions, some movies find it difficult and take time to grace their ultimate audience. 'Manjadikuru' is also one such film which was waiting for long to fetch the best of the recognitions- that is the popular approval. And when we are finally into the film, we recognize that here comes a women director in Mollywood to look out for her creations that are sure to make their strong presence in the list of 'best's in Malayalam.
Yes, Anjali Menon with his debut movie 'Manjadikuru' (Lucky Red Seeds), unquestionably proves that she is the best among the few women who had ever contributed to the list of Mollywood history. A nostalgic trip down the childhood of the eighties, 'Manjadikuru' told through the viewpoints of a few children is undoubtedly likeable giving an air of similar international movies from countries like Iran. The movie has been rated best in many international festivals and is a treat to watch for its perfect pitching of the period and narrative styles.
The movie is told through the narration of 'Vicky' (Prithviraj), who makes a homecoming in his age of ten (A very convincing display by master Siddharth) to attend his grandfather's funeral. Back from Gulf with his pompous parents (Sagar Shiyas and Urvashi), Vicky is joined by the fragmented family members from very different places, who stay together for a sixteen day long funeral period, nurturing their differences and similarities.Initially Vicky finds it difficult to connect with the 'desi' friends and curious looking rituals but very soon he is in the centre of events, contributing to the fares with his childhood curiosity and consideration.
After the funeral, the interests of the adult members are more on the division of their ancestral property while young Vicky, and his cousins Kannnan and Manikutty (Rijosh and Arathi Sasikumar), are plotting plans to somehow send their young Tamil maid Roja(vyjayanthi) back home to Sivakasi to enjoy a better life.
The movie is in fact a near masterpiece with a nivcely woven storylines and the director's skillful handling of the masters and the children alike. Starting from a perfect presentation in a baritone voice by Prithviraj which is immensely likable, the movie's, heartrending narratives are wisely picturised by Peter Zyuercher.
Moreover, right from the selection of the name 'Vicky', to the very lovable, natural dialogues, the movie stands as a good example of rightest approach and execution of a promising subject. Effective performance by the child cast, all of them engaging us in more ways with their meticulous observations and contrasting thought processes than never before. Siddharth and Rijosh are revelation for their perfect natural acting skills. Perfect casting and near perfect performances by all including Jagathy, Murali, Praveena, Rahman, Bindu Panikkar, Sindhu Menon,and Urvashy. The music by Kavalam and Pt. Ramesh Narayanan is thoroughly enjoyable.
The only pitfall is a little drag that we feel in the second half. Had the movie been cut short by twenty minutes, it would have immensely boosted its BO chances too. Anyhow, this 'Manjadikuru' is a right addition to the list of well made films that came out this year. Just have a go into this scent of fresh air.