Marconi Mathai (2019) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen


There are two things that will continue to baffle you after a screening of Sanil Kalathil’s ‘Marconi Mathai’, the first one being the courage to decide to film a screenplay as this. The second one is much more confounding and involves the almost unbelievable participation of a judicious actor as Vijay Sethupathi in it.


There are two things that will continue to baffle you after a screening of Sanil Kalathil’s ‘Marconi Mathai’, the first one being the courage to decide to film a screenplay as this. The second one is much more confounding and involves the almost unbelievable participation of a judicious actor as Vijay Sethupathi in it.

That said, two and a half hours of ‘Marconi Mathai’ leaves you with nothing else but a few moments with this adorable actor, and the very earnest efforts that he puts forth to lend some life to it. While it remains that he elevates his own scenes to an estimable level, there is hardly nothing that could be done to salvage the rest of it from sinking like a stone thrown into a pool.

The first half an hour of ‘Marconi Mathai’ is haphazardly arranged, and there seems to be a beeline of characters walking in and out of the screen like there is no tomorrow. There are songs too that appear in quick succession, and we get to realize that Mathai is a fine soul that twits an antenna on the rooftop and brings in FM radio waves to the locality. Hence the name Marconi Mathai.

All fine, except that Mathai, is unmarried, and his friends and family cannot bear his single status any more. The alliances that are brought his way are rejected by the senior suitor in no time, and when Anna (Athmiya) arrives as the new domestic help at the cooperative bank where he works as a security guard, Mathai starts seeing a new rainbow over the horizon.

Squint your eyes as much as you please, and I assure you, no rainbows are visible to the unfortunate ones that sit across the screen. A bland romance that leaves you squirming in the seats springs up in no time, and it’s here that Vijay Sethupathi walks in, as the actor himself, who is in Kerala to promote his latest Tamil film.

It’s a weird world out there where Marconi lives. For starters, you have a bank, where a woman roams around, sweeping, washing clothes, and cooking during banking hours, making it appear like a working women’s hostel. And there is Marconi himself, who has developed the habit of halving his glass of tea to anyone who cares to gulp down the offer.

The virtue of it, is certainly not lost on us, but what makes it surprising is the illogicality associated with it. Like in the climax, you have an exhausted Anna flopping down on a Goan beach amidst a crowd, when someone offers her a cup of tea and walks away. You are all set to acknowledge the goodness that makes this world tick, when a guy who seems like a tramp gets up from his slumber beside her. Lo and behold, Anna doesn’t think twice before adopting the Marconian habit of halving the tea. She picks up a glass tumbler from beside her (!!) and offers him the tea, making you drop your heads at the realization that there are more glass tumblers around than you presume there are.

It also is a world where the moon never sets, and for the most part remains an almost perfect digital circle throughout. The idyllic setting for a perfect romance without doubt, but the plasticity that is put across is also as unreal as the love tale that is being told.

Performances are nothing to crow about either, and while Jayaram does his best in a role that offers him nothing, Athmiya plays out the lamb lost in the jungle act a bit too loud. The only respite amidst all this mess is Vijay Sethupathi who even does a dapper dance as the end credits roll, clad in Malayali attire. Despite some beautiful frames by the director himself and a lovely score by M Jayachadran what a royal disappointment ‘Marconi Mathai’ turns out to be!


Verdict: Disappointing


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