Mazhayathu (2018) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen


There are a few things that ‘Mazhayathu’ achieves without being sermonizing and its real resonance lies in its exploration of an issue that is frighteningly real. It flashes a light on a society that thrives on suspicion, where we have lost the basic impulse and inclination to trust and hold someone – even the dearest ones around – in staunch conviction.


Mazhayathu-Malayalam-Movie-Review-Veeyen

The camera remains focused on the Principal’s face (Shanthi Krishna) for what seems forever, as she shifts around nervously on her seat, and gets ready to break some real dreadful news to a parent who has arrived as per her beckoning. She gives up a few moments later and passes the arduous task on to a teacher, who takes it up with an equal hesitation.

Suveeran’s ‘Mazhayathu’ lets a cold terror creep in from under your toes with scenes as these that linger on a bit more than you would typically expect them to.  It’s a film that takes on a bleak reality – one that we have more or less become accustomed to through media reports and countless forwards on social networks – with a fierceness that focuses on the aftermath of a tragedy that leaves qualms and queries all around.

Mazhayathu-Malayalam-Movie-Review-Veeyen

Venugopal (Nikesh Ram) has had it with his wife Anitha’s (Aparna Gopinath) attempts to stand on her own feet, and strongly disapproves her decision to work at a boutique run by a friend. Anitha however refuses to budge; a resolution that pulls the couple apart, leaving their only teen aged daughter Sreelekshmi (Nandana Varma) alone at the school hostel.

There are a few things that ‘Mazhayathu’ achieves without being sermonizing and its real resonance lies in its exploration of an issue that is frighteningly real. It flashes a light on a society that thrives on suspicion, where we have lost the basic impulse and inclination to trust and hold someone – even the dearest ones around – in staunch conviction.

There are also the subtle statements on patriarchy that ‘Mazhayathu’ makes without being too emphatic. Locked out of her own house, Anitha waits as the evening turns into dusk and night, with her husband appearing nowhere in sight. She eventually gives up, but not before breaking down and confessing to her confidante over the phone that not everything works equally well for men and women as much comparable as they may outwardly seem.

Mazhayathu-Malayalam-Movie-Review-Veeyen

There are two scenes that deserve a special mention – one where a distraught Anitha is summoned to the school, where a terrible truth unfolds before her and quickly grows into monstrous proportions. Confronted with her daughter who is bewildered at what has been happening, Anitha totally loses it and goes at the young girl in sheer fury, even as the ones around her try to hold her back.

In another scene at the hospital, a crestfallen Venugopal is horrified at the cold stare that his wife throws his way, and hurls himself at her, screaming aloud and challenging her to reveal her morbid thoughts. Together, they collapse on the floor, along with the small crowd that struggles to free Anitha from his outstretched arms.

There are probably a lot of us who would feel that the film’s climax appears a bit rushed and more like an open ended compromise. There is also without doubt the dire need for some shine and finesse throughout, that could have transformed ‘Mazhaythu’ into a much more effectual film that it has evolved into.

Mazhayathu-Malayalam-Movie-Review-Veeyen

‘Mazhayathu’ has three solid performers, and it is Nandana Varma who deserves all the accolades for having essayed a character with multiple complexities with an amazing mellowness that is probably uncharacteristic of someone her age. Aparna has been a dependable actor for long, and there are at least a couple of instances in ‘Mazhayathu’ where she displays what she is truly capable of. Nikesh Ram has none of the overstated traits of a hero; he efficiently underplays his role of an ordinary man who finds himself in a world turned upside down post a life-altering telephone call from his daughter.

‘Mazhayathu’ offers a compassionate, no-frills take on the vulnerability that surrounds each one of us, and lets us into the horrific hollows that a customary life could drop into overnight. Suveeran’s film is a frantic call to the social conscience and offers a thought inducing insight on troubled lives during troubled times.


Verdict: Laudable Endeavour


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