Mohanlal (2018) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen


Yahiya’s film is at best a cinematic accolade to Mohanlal, but far from a glorious one. It strikes you more as an animated and keyed up rant on how much Lalettan is adored all over, but does little justice to the deep ingrained adulation and esteem that we hold for this terrific performer and person, or to the spectacular emotion called Mohanlal that leaves numerous generations of Malayali film lovers, all over the world, hopelessly enthralled.


mohanlal-malayalam-movie-review-veeyen

When a visibly excited Meenakshi (Manju Warrier) opens up a treasure chest on her wedding night in Sajid Yahiya’s ‘Mohanlal’, her husband Sethumadhavan (Indrajith) watches in puzzled astonishment. Inside are the ticket counterfoils of all Mohanlal films that she has watched till date, and there is a brief flicker of concern on the husband’s face, before the lights are switched off.

No surprise if you are thinking of Hrudayakumari (Urvasi) and her carefully guarded suitcase of priceless riches in ‘Kadinjool Kalyanam’ that drives her husband Sudhakaran (Jayaram) nuts. Yahiya’s film has Manju Warrier playing a star struck fan whose entire life revolves around the star, with similar traits of slightly psychotic behaviour apparent all over her persona.

mohanlal-malayalam-movie-review-veeyen

The girl was born on the same day Malayalam’s much adored megastar had made a royal entry on the screens, in December 1980. When a school screening of Raghunath Paleri’s ‘Onnu Muthal Poojyam Vare’ leaves Meenakshi all teary eyed, her classmate Sethumadhavan is quick to notice. Little does he realize that this is the moment when Meenakshi throws open the doors of her little heart to Lalettan, eagerly draws out a chair for him and lets him settle down on it with his characteristic grace.

‘Mohanlal’ starts off with aplomb and looks like it could very well be a brilliant tribute to the actor, narrated through the eyes of an enamoured fan. There are the multiple visual references, the all too familiar dialogues that the average Malayali has rote learned over the course of the last several decades, and the dazzling parade of hits, super hits and mega hits that the actor had showered on us all along. There are also the simple, winner moments like the one where Meenakshi chooses the most uncharacteristic of all destinations for her honeymoon, or a few selective retorts that a nameless tramp (Soubin Shahir) comes up with, in the course of his conversation with Sethumadhavan.

mohanlal-malayalam-movie-review-veeyen

Once these are done, the quest for a real, compelling story commences, and it’s then that you realize that the film named after the star, has none of the profundity or insight that had made several of his films unparalleled crowd favourites; it has little of the awe or wonder with which not just Meenakshi, but also every film lover around, looks upon the acting legend that Mohanlal is.

There is a quick succession of wishy-washy scenes that sends the film spiralling down in no time, and dialogues that sound loudly histrionic, add to the clutter. There is a mind-boggling scene involving a dog that leaves you open-mouthed in disbelief, and if that weren’t enough, there is a follow up that involves the animal almost immediately after that makes you wonder if it’s all a spoof; if they are after all, pulling at your leg.

mohanlal-malayalam-movie-review-veeyen

A new house-help walks in named Sheela (Sethulekshmi), who at seventy hasn’t got over her fixation over Prem Nazir, and who gets involved in a plate tossing fight with Meenakshi over who, the greater of the two stars is. It finally requires none other Maniyan Pillai Raju and an anecdote of his to make Sheela see sense, and she tearfully acknowledges that she has no qualms of imagining Mohanlal to be the son that she has never had.

The fans association headed by a short, screaming, squinting, spouting man (Bijukuttan) marches into a hospital and when asked as to what their blood groups are, declares to an apparently appalled nurse that they have only one group – Mohanlal. Not sure as to how much that could have been helpful, but Meenakshi herself hasn’t been feeling too well, ever since ‘Thanmatra’ and Lalettan’s tragedy had sent her collapsing across the aisle, halfway through the film.

mohanlal-malayalam-movie-review-veeyen

‘Mohanlal’ celebrates these dramatics to the point where you just let it go, realizing that there is no turning back, either for Meenakshi or Sethumadhavan, or for us, who have been hauled straight into this cesspool, where adoration is resoundingly blaring.  Manju Warrier works it up a bit further than she usually does, and her performance strikes us as loud, and atypically garish, while Indrajith does his best to tone down the events with a feat that is resourcefully underplayed.

Yahiya’s film is at best a cinematic accolade to Mohanlal, but far from a glorious one. It strikes you more as an animated and keyed up rant on how much Lalettan is adored all over, but does little justice to the deep ingrained adulation and esteem that we hold for this terrific performer and person, or to the spectacular emotion called Mohanlal that leaves numerous generations of Malayali film lovers, all over the world, hopelessly enthralled.


Verdict: Fan Fluff


Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *