Lonappante Mamodeesa (2019) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen


‘Lonappante Mamodeesa’ is a decent, easy watch, that despite all its hitches retains its capacity to charm. It’s also an assertion as to how even the commonplace, at times, has the ability to draw and delight.


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There’s a bitter sweetness to Leo Thaddeus’ ‘Lonappante Mamodeesa’ that cannot be missed; the kind that had gone missing from Malayalam cinema several years back. In more ways than one, Thaddeus’ film is a walk back along memory lane, when cinema used to bank on conventional, yet poignant themes, and where technique often took a back seat behind the theme.

Lonappan (Jayaram) runs a watch repair shop in Thrissur, and has employed Shameer (Hareesh Perumanna) as the chief technician. Back home, he has three sisters who hover over him like bees over a hive, Valyechi (Shanthi Krishna), Sicily (Nisha Sarang) and Rosely (Eva Pavithran), all unmarried, and all too involved in his life.

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A phone call from a school classmate Kunjoottan (Dileesh Pothen) catches Lonappan by surprise. Off he goes to a school mate reunion, where he gets to see that almost everyone in his class has struck gold over the years, and when someone wonders aloud as to why he has been left behind in spite of having made a brilliant start, Lonappan returns home, all distraught and dejected at the way his life has turned out to be.

Thaddeus’ strategy is old-fangled in that he does not resort to a gimmicks and sticks to the conformist mode. What makes ‘Lonappante Mamodeesa’ the best film that he has done till now, is the staunch narrative that he works on, that abounds with a few characters that have been drawn straight out of real life.

The three sisters, for instance are on their own ample study material, and while Valyechi had resigned herself to a life in the kitchen, Sicily has her eyes all set on helping her students win a medal or two at the school athletic games that will soon get under way. Rosely, the youngest of the lot, has taken up the role of the pacifier in the event of a possible familial conflict, and has not entirely given upon her dreams of tying the knot, unlike her elder sisters.

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Lonappan’s transformation too into a determined version of his former self, for the most part is logical, and stems from a gross insecurity that has crept in. He also antagonises the ones who have always held him close in the process and the characters that encircle him are penned in different strokes, some of whom appear convincing while some others far from it.

There is a digressing track that involves Kunjoottan and his wife Neelima (Kaniha) that literally overflows, while the one that has Babu (Joju George), Lonappan’s affluent cousin, gently  moves towards an appealing high point. There is the stirring climax too, where Lonappan who has had the nickname Tolstoy in school, for his strong story telling abilities, narrates a tale yet again after what seems like years, before an astonished audience, following a decisive moment in his life.

There are occasions when it is real difficult to pick up your pen and put down a full stop once and for all, especially when the pen insists that probably a bit more could make all the difference. It is then that you commit the fatal folly of penning an epilogue of sorts that follows the climax, which further blows up a fine climax like a balloon until it bursts with all the overstatements that are forcefully thrust in.

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It’s refreshing to see Jayaram back in form in a role that is tailor made for him, and while his performance is one that holds no surprises in store, it is also one of the best that we have got to see from him in the last decade or so. The three women leads are equally impressive –  Shanthi Krishna, Nisha Sarang and Eva Pavithran – and so is Hareesh Kanaran in a robust supporting role. There is also Anna Reshma Rajan bustling around with a noteworthy performance and Sneha Sreekumar who distinctly leaves a mark.

‘Lonappante Mamodeesa’ is a decent, easy watch, that despite all its hitches retains its capacity to charm. It’s also an assertion as to how even the commonplace, at times, has the ability to draw and delight.


Verdict: Above Average


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