For good or bad, in village or city, Sathyan Anthikad has never painted a character who is evil or the quintessential villain. And Ennum Eppozhum, the latest and much awaited flick from the good old pals, Anthikad and Mohanlal, is no exception too. In fact it has a villain, a true villain who, in a bid to avenge his separated wife, does not even hesitate to injure his daughter. However, fortunately the director keeps him behind the curtains, perhaps to not disturb his target audience, the peace-loving Keralites.
His characters are all good, perhaps goodness personified. Let the critics call him a wholesale dealer of human virtues, he knows for sure that there is a good number of people who religiously believe that the silver light that passes above their heads should spread happiness and happiness alone, and the movie is for them.
Though set in Kochi, the Metropolis of Kerala, the film has a strong undertone of the rustic innocence as the sandal paste (the untranslatable chandanakkury) worn by the protagonist on his forehead.
However, the plot could be summed up as the tale of how an interview was made.
Vineeth N. Pillai (Mohanlal) whom colleagues call 'Vineethan Pilla' is a senior reporter with a leading women's magazine. His attempts to get an interview of advocate Deepa (Manju Warrier), a single mom who shot to celebrity status with her one-woman army protest against the poor condition of the roads in the State, constitutes the rest of the story. Naturally, the professional affairs pave way for personal ones. The characters encounter crisis, one after the other, but they are all resolved without hitting much gridlocks.
As said earlier, the highlight of the film is its director-actors combo. While there was not much excitement of a comeback of the Anthikad-Mohanlal duo as their recent outings didn't fair well on the screen, what made the film a sought-after one was the Mohanlal-Manju Warrier combo. The actors offer good screen-presence, though there is nothing much to bring back to our memories the deadly combination scenes in hits like Aram Thampuran or Kanmadam. Manju has adapted easily to the role of a matured mother and a professional.
In obvious bids to satiate the fans, the director uses reference to the superstar's earlier films and even personal life apparently. (The fans who know that Mohanlal was a wrestler in his college days go into a frenzy, when Pillai is shown as a boxer in past). You might have been a critique of Anthikad for his stock characters and even actors. However, in this movie the director seems to have purposefully avoided such characters, though Innocent's neighbour-uncle is an exception. But chances are high that during the process of watching the film, especially when Mohanlal shoulders the sequences all alone, you would miss all the 'rustic souls' who used to bring bounties to Anthikad films.
Manju's character shares, knowingly or unknowingly, traces with Nirupama of How old are you as she dares to question and move out of the wedlock. Lena too plays a woman who suffers from a social system ruled by men and decides to overcome it with her professional skills.
Those who know that it was Renjan Pramod who penned Manassinakkare and Achuvinte Amma – two post-2,000 hits from Anthikad – has more reasons to expect big from the film. Though the script is not as tightly packed as the earlier ones, it doesn't disappoint. The story is by actor Raveendran.
While Jacob Gregory's parasite sidekick remains a stock character who evokes laughter here and there, the realtor-villain played by Renji Panicker and his 'men in black' cause fun enough. Child actors Minon, as the over matured aid of Vineeth and Adhwika, as daughter of Deepa, have perfected their roles. Neil D'Kunha's cinematography and K. Rajagopal's editing go well with the tone of the film.
Even as they could be misunderstood as being creations by Ilairaja, the tunes by Vidhyasagar, especially Malarvaka Kombathu penned by Rafeeq Ahammed and sung by P. Jayachandran, are likely to reverberate in your head even after leaving the cinema.
Ennum Eppozhum is for you, if you belong to that set of people who believe that films should be as light as possible since life is unbearably heavy.