Valiyaperunnal (2019) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen


Most of ‘Valiyaperunnal’ ends up like the elaborately choreographed dance sequences in it – exquisite to initially look at, but exasperating after a while. This film does have a very human back-story of social exploitation that could have benefitted from some focused writing and crispy editing but as such strikes you as a slog piece that never gets to strike the target that it had originally set out for.


The question always remains if the running time of a film could work against it. The answer is of course not, and I am sure you would be in agreement if you have been through Darabont’s ‘The Green Mile’ or Anderson’s ‘Magnolia’, both of which we need to remember, clocked nearly three hours.

A film spanning three hours really need not necessarily be a yawn, but Dimal Dennis’ ‘Valiyaperunnal’ based on a script penned by Dimal himself along with Thasreeq Abdul Salam is so much overstuffed with characters and sequences  that you leave the cinema halls with a heavy head. It basically remains a rudimentary tale that rarely tantalizes, and mostly disappoints, that has been set in Mattanchery, the coastal town at Cochin that we have seen several other films recently based in.

The intent is made clear and the fingers are pointed at the hundreds of homeless families that inhabit the narrow streets of Mattanchery, while hundreds of houses in the city lie vacant. The boys who have never had a roof over their heads grow up into ruffians who have seen enough and more of bad bucks, blood and bones, even as the elder folks try to lure them away from the paths that should never be crossed.

The former half of the film is excruciatingly slow paced and it takes its own sweet time to establish a hundred characters in scenes that apparently have little connection with each other. It takes a while to get used to this commotion of sorts that involves several known and unknown faces, and at the centre of all this tumult is Akkar (Shane Nigam) and his bunch of friends.

There is talk of smuggling the star tortoise, there is Akkar in love with Pooja (Himika Bose), there is a man who has been to the Mumbai underworld and back whose speech resembles screams, there is a breaking into a house to snatch a friend’s lover who has been held captive by her family, there is the mother who hopes to have a dinner someday with her truant son and husband, there are the notorious twin brothers who are up and around with all kind of antics up their sleeves, there is a man who is neck deep in debt (Joju George) who comes up with the most inventive idea that he can possibly think of to mint some quick money, there is talk of a boat accident and the promised relief funds that were never disbursed, there are land deals, gold smuggling, corrupt cops, the central investigation team, murders, mayhem and more. Just as you end up a bit too dizzy to take it anymore, they manage to wind up all the loose knots as the interval flash sign comes up, and for the first time ever ‘Valiyaperunnal’ shows signs of making some sense.

The detailing is way too elaborate, in a sense that it starts being a liability to the film. Add to it the dialogues that are uttered by several of the supporting actors that are totally lost on the viewers and what you have left is an incoherent mass that dares to go that extra mile but reaches nowhere in the process.

Shane Nigam does give it his very best in ‘Valiyaperunnal’ as well, but there are also moments in the film that squander the very committed act of its lead performer. There are performances from several supporting actors – excellent ones and some underwhelming ones as well – that steadily push the film onwards to an excruciatingly long finale.

Most of ‘Valiyaperunnal’ ends up like the elaborately choreographed dance sequences in it – exquisite to initially look at, but exasperating after a while. This film does have a very human back-story of social exploitation that could have benefitted from some focused writing and crispy editing but as such strikes you as a slog piece that never gets to strike the target that it had originally set out for.


Verdict: Average


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