Minnaminungu (2017) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen


‘Minnaminungu’ is not a mere tale of resilience and determination. It is an estimable film, the slip-ups of which are brilliantly veiled by a terrific lead, who thereby elevates it to much loftier heights. Unhurried in pace and simple in structure, it’s also a classic case of a fine actor standing tall over material.


Minnaminungu-Malayalama-Movie-Review-Veeyen

A day breaks. The camera pans high above the ground as a haggard looking woman totters along eagerly, along a muddy pathway laid out amidst a vast expanse of green vegetation. A couple of hours later, the camera takes to the air yet again, and the woman and her scurry and scamper remain unaltered, while the ground on which she treads is transposed into a wasteland of garbage, that eventually gets lost in a flurry of city lights.

This is the final shot of Anil Thomas’ ‘Minnaminungu’, that chronicles the voyage of a middle aged woman caught face to face with a tumult of a life. She is nameless, as are the thousands of women around her, and life presents itself as a continual knot game before them, with a new loop evolving as soon as one is resolved.

‘Minnaminungu’ is untainted, in the sense that it does not manoeuvre its tale to keep its viewers gleeful. This is a bleak world that the woman lives in, one where she sells eggs and a few bottles of milk, where she works as an office assistant swiping floors and setting tables rigbt, where she cooks and cleans for lonely men in apartments.

The politics of money that the film so evocatively explores, is one that merits very special attention. There is also the affirmation right at the start, that rousing tales need not necessarily have documented starts and finishes, and even sporadic instances of unadulterated life could make the matter for moving tales.

The thematic focus of the film is religiously maintained, and the single mother grapples continuously with hesitation, indecision and insecurity. The woman and her daughter inhabit a plane that is positioned further down the one that is occupied by the woman and her dad, which offers an arresting contrast in parenthood.

Minnaminungu-Malayalama-Movie-Review-Veeyen

‘Minnaminungu’ has its share of men as well, as much as it is a women centric film, and it even attempts to break down a few male stereotypes. The man with a glass of whiskey for once isn’t a lecher, and the one with an empathetic tongue doesn’t hesitate to paw a vulnerable soul. There is the office boss who occupies the grey space, who sheds his hard-line demeanour in a rare moment of compassion, and yet who cannot help but stare at what he gets to see as the woman walks out of his door.

There are indeed a few false notes that this film hits, like the sweeping comments on a new generation, the slightly amateurish acts by a few new faces  or the faintly theatrical scenes that make an appearance every now and then, that almost dangerously lets it slip into sitcom territory. There is also the inability of the script to raise itself to a slightly higher terrain than the one already infested with several other similar films.

Minnaminungu-Malayalama-Movie-Review-Veeyen

Perhaps this review should all be about Surabhi Lekshmi, the actor who plays the nameless woman in the film, who towers above all the inconsistencies in the script, and so efficiently covers it all up with an impeccable performance. This central feat is without doubt the major reason why ‘Minnaminungu’ needs to be watched, and I earnestly hope we get to see more of this amazing actor in the years to come.

‘Minnaminungu’ is not a mere tale of resilience and determination. It is an estimable film, the slip-ups of which are brilliantly veiled by a terrific lead, who thereby elevates it to much loftier heights. Unhurried in pace and simple in structure, it’s also a classic case of a fine actor standing tall over material.


Verdict: Above Average


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