Lonappan which literally means 'God blessed' is the heart of the movie while the people around him are the soul. An unambitious man, whose dreams have been crushed by family burden, Lonappan (Jayaram) runs a watch repairing shop. He is not a sincere guy though, he searches for obit news of those in his locality, goes to wedding functions just to have good food and is even jealous of those who lead a happy life. However, it's not his fault; situations made him so. When his parents passed away at a very young age, all responsibilities, including taking care of his three sisters, fell on him. “What did Appan (father) leave for me, there wasn't a single penny to survive,” says Lonappan at a point only to remind us by the end of the movie that his father left the world leaving with him a natural talent of telling a story.
As per Christian religious rite, baptism involves immersing one in water which symbolises purification and here Lonappante Mammodisa (Lonappan's baptism) actually happens at the later stage of his life. In spite of becoming a failure many a time, finally he frees himself from 'chain-bond' life to pursue his dreams.
The frames of the movie are dense suggesting that there’s always something happening in the background (the funeral service agents, the people in the bus, the aged men before shops and so on). There is a scene where his friends played by Dileesh Pothan and Kaniha ask him to tell a story and Lonappan looks out from the frame, a moment of silence is followed and he begins to narrate. The concept of story telling and how stories can bring a difference in others life is well presented in the movie.
Drawing a fine line between Baiju from Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, who found happiness in whatever he did, Lonappan discovers it only later in his life. While Baiju was least bothered about his family, for Lonappan his family is his life.
Developing so many characters and giving depth to each of them is not as easy as it sounds, but the detailing with which writer-director Leo Thaddeus has presented it is commendable. However, one wishes that the second half was a bit more crisp.
Jayaram convinces us completely as a middle aged man who has his own share of sorrow and glee. Undoubtedly, it is one of the recent best of the actor and for sure reminds of his movies like Veendum Chila veetukaryangal and Manasinakkare.
The casting has been done with great attention to detail. Shanti Krishana, Nisha Sarang and Eva Pavithran win hearts as dear yet irritable sisters of Lonappan with Nisha taking the lion's share as a physcial education teacher. Reshma Anna seems an apt pair opposite Jayaram.
Hareesh Karnan and Joju George's characters are comparatively less explored, but manage to create an impact.
The humour in the movie is real and relatable. The film offers some good moments along with soulful music by Alphons Joseph.
An honest approach, Lonnapante Mammodisa is fun and in its own way insightful too.