Director: Pramod Payyannur
Cast: Mammootty, Isha Talwar, Meena, Mamukoya, Seema Biswas
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
For the really old, it is a trip down memory lane. For the not so old, too, it is nostalgia at a different level, a journey to a world they are so familiar with, a world of gramophone and Mangosteen trees that they had read about in Vaikom Mohammed Basheer’s autobiographic novels.
For new-gen viewers, some of whom may not have much of an idea either about the pre-Independence era or Basheer’s works, it is a rare peep into the past, into a world without Internet, mobile phones, television and tape recorder.
It was a pristine world where emotions were pure but raw, life was simple but hard. Debutant director Pramod Payyannur skilfully recreates not just the ambience but also manages to convincingly reproduce the unpretentious Malayali life of those days.
The narrative is in the form of a flashback and the scene moves back and forth between Kolkata and Kerala. Hari Nair wields the camera with care to bring out the old world charm that Pramod wants to project and it works best when the duo capture the growing up years of Majeed and Suhara.
The sequence of that golden joke – Majeed’s quip to his teacher’s question that one and one make a slightly bigger one – is recreated with aplomb and the child actors deserve a big pat on their backs.
So do the senior actors, led by none other than Mammootty for whom it is the best outing in recent times. Clearly, there is no other living hero who could have played Majeed better than him.
He excels as Majeed’s no-nonsense vappa too and emotes a whole range of emotions. The veteran takes care not to overact but to raise the tempo just when it is required.
The scene where Majeed realises with a start on the hospital bed that he has lost a leg and his subsequent disappointment cannot be watched without a shiver piercing one’s spine. Clearly, a master at work, in the full knowledge that he has finally got a role that can pose a challenge to him and bring out the best in him.
Casting is certainly one of the strengths of the movie and Seema Biswas’s Selvi and Preim Sheikh’s Praful lend credibility to the plot. The only place where the movie drags is when Sasikumar who plays Ameen Saheb gets a bit didactic.