Marconi Mathai movie review: Old wine in new bottle, again

The story is set in an isolated village which is so cut off that even the all permeating FM signals do not reach the village.

Director: Sanil Kalathil
Cast: Jayaram, Vijay Sethupathi, Athmeeya Rajan, Joy Mathew, Aju Varghese, Mallika Sukumaran, Lakshmi Priya, Devi Ajith

When Malayalam cinema is marching ahead with realistic and believable storylines, some filmmakers still tend to take the old wine, new bottle route. Marconi Mathai is one such film. Marconi Mathai made news for the maiden appearance of popular Tamil actor Vijay Sethupathi in Malayalam. But looks like even the fine acting chops of the talented Tamil actor can do nothing to save the film.

The story is set in an isolated village which is so cut off that even the all permeating FM signals do not reach the village. Jayaram plays Mathai, a retired army man who now works as a security guard in a bank. Mathai loves music and eventually manages to rig up a contraption that brings the FM station to his village. Soon, everyone in the village turns into an FM addict and the station is playing everywhere — be it the bank, barber shops, tea stalls, houses and everywhere else in the village. Mathai’s bank too has the FM station playing constantly (wonder if banks allow that).

Now, for the clichéd part— like in most Jayaram movies, he is an unmarried and eligible bachelor who is secretly pining for his childhood love. Like in his earlier films, he is full of the milk of human kindness, helping others without expecting anything for himself. Again like his earlier films, he has a lot of friends and family trying to set him up with an eligible girl. But Mathai does not seem to like any girl till Anna played by Athmeeya Rajan makes an appearance. She is a sweeper-cum-cook at the same branch where Mathai works. Egged on by his friends, Mathai starts falling in love with the orphan Anna and then starts a sequence of ways in which he tries to express his love to her.

Finally, when Mathai does express his love for Anna through a love letter, the whole bank comes to know of his romance and they ridicule him. A hurt Mathai leaves town which is when Anna realises that she loves him. For all those who are wondering where Vijay Sethupathi fits in, the actor plays himself who, in the course of the promotion of his Tamil film, visits an FM station to turn a love guru for his listeners.

Mathai dials the station and talks to Vijay who is very impressed with Mathai’s views on love. After Mathai’s disappearance, Anna dials Vijay with the hope that Mathai listens to her confession of love and returns. Soon, the whole of the state is hunting for Mathai with even Vijay engaging in a virtual search and the actor’s FM pals joining in. In a climax that is reminiscent of Charlie, Anna sets out to find Mathai. Will she find him or not is the climax of the film.

The film is let down by a weak script and an old storyline that has been done to death. Jayaram playing a romantic lead is a little hard to digest. Athmeeya has played her role with finesse. The music is decent and the cinematography must be mentioned specially.

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