Cast: Senthil Krishna, Honey Rose, Salim Kumar, Dharnajan, Joy Mathew, Vishnu Govind
Chalakkudikkaran Changathi, Vinayan’s latest movie’s tagline itself says it is ‘A tribute to Kalabhavan Mani’. The film has clearly done justice to its tagline. The movie shows how Kalabhavan Mani became one of the major actors in South India, fighting poverty, discrimination in the movie industry based on his caste and colour, and finally his mystifying death which shocked the whole State.
Senthil Krishna plays the lead role of Rajamani, who is a daily wage worker and auto rickshaw driver like Mani but dreams of becoming an actor one day. He is gifted in music and mimicry and is well-supported by his family and best friends.
The initial half of the movie shows Rajamani’s childhood, his struggles to get into movies, his love for stage programmes and failed love affairs. He starts his career through side roles and later gets a prominent name in the industry. However, he’s often hurt by the discrimination showed by the industry toward him. In the second half, the movie focuses more on the actor’s personal life. It depicts how his inner struggles affect his career. Vinayan is one director who exploited the potential of Mani. The movie is a testament to Mani’s life and career by the director and he has honestly crafted it. Considering his recent outings, this is a movie that Vinayan can be proud of. Senthil has done his best to portray the gifted actor and has been successful to an extent in convincing the audience.
What the character lacked was Mani’s energy! The supporting cast members including Salim Kumar, Honey Rose, Joju George, Dharmajan, Vishnu Govind, Ramesh Pisharody, Kottayam Nazeer, Joy Mathew and S.P. Sreekumar have done their roles well. Many real-life incidents in Mani’s life are mentioned in the movie, but it has stayed away from controversies including the one surrounding his death.
Vinayan has also highlighted some issues that kept him away from the industry. The director has also taken a dig at some actors and technicians. The movie is supported well by the visuals of Prakash Kutty. Bijibal and Satheesh have succeeded in creating music that gels with the mood of the movie. The movie scripted by Vinayan could’ve been far better if the script was a little tighter in the second half. However, the movie is a decent watch. All in all, it is a tear-jerker that pays homage to a man who was one of the finest actors in South India.