I had always felt that Shaji Kailas needed to rediscover himself, especially after those recent action potboilers of his that had made us root for cable TV. But now, after 'Madirasi', I seriously have doubts and second thoughts about the reinvention idea.
It's a cycle that ruins lives - both ours and those of the characters in the film. Apparently Chandran Pillai's (Jayaram) son has won a cycling competition, and the doting dad decides to head over to Madirasi to buy his son a racing cycle. Accompanying him is his friend-cum-aide Jayapalan (Tini Tom), and together they are framed in a murder case by Thevaram (John Vijay) the local cop who seems evil incarnate.
For those of us who wonder what Coimbatore has to do with Madirasi, along comes a voice over who good-naturedly explains to us that this Madirasi has nothing to do with the capital city of Tamil Nadu, Madras, which later went on to become Chennai. As of now, we shall have to make do with a tiny village on the Kerala - Tamil Nadu border that was fondly called Madirasi by the Malayali immigrants who inhabited the place.
Thus initial disappointments over, we find ourselves in this dusty, hot village in Tamil Nadu, where a girl named Maya (Meghna Raj) roams around. Maya lives up to her name indeed, in that she is a con-woman who has this unique skill of disappearing into thin air and making a reappearance elsewhere within minutes. So we see her as a lady cop and later as a parking fee collector.
Do not be misled by appearances however, and Maya has got a heart of gold. When she isn't robbing people she dresses herself up in designer clothes and helps those in distress. Strangely she doesn't seem to have a family and before long teams up with Chandran Pillai and Jayapalan to kidnap Thevaram's son.
Hold your breath. I suspect I might have got you all excited with that kid-napping bit. Believe me, even more exciting kidnapping is on its way, though it involves more than a kid. Someone suggests that they need to abduct the Tamil actress Mallika (Alphonsa) to bring Thevaram to book. Off they go with a sack (!!) - yes, the kind that you last saw in those films that had made you swear that you would never ever watch a comedy again - and manage to wrap her inside.
With Alphonsa around, you hope for an item song, and with the den that looks like more-than-an-apt setting, you keep your fingers and toes crossed. Tough luck however, and before you know it, she's gone! I wouldn't dare break the suspense and let you know how it all ends up. But I would indeed let you know that it's as miserable as misery can be.
If I forgot to mention Bhama (Meera Nandan), the school teacher who is good-naturedly waiting for Chandran Pillai back home, I would be doing a gross injustice. She is after all, one of those women characters whom you had believed had gone extinct. Bhama is a 20-something F Palakkad, who has obviously not had the opportunity to watch '22 F Kottayam' as yet. Not surprising however, since she is obsessed with a widower of a lover, Chanrdan Pillai, and even dreams of bearing his twin children some day.
Bhama runs along those fields like Manju Warrier did in 'Aaram Thampuran' and the teacher that she is, she keeps imparting valuable lessons in love to Chandran Pillai. The man is simply irresistible, and she cannot restrain herself from kissing him, no matter the time or space. She reminds you of a woodpecker that goes pecking all the time.
Come to think of it, you cannot blame her either, since this isn't an ordinary man, she has fallen in love with. You would find him on the fields on Monday, running an Ayurvedic dispensary on Tuesday, and he would be busy with his chits and funds on Wednesday. Do not forget that there are four more days and four more roles for the week, for this unbelievable giant of a man.
Performances! Technicalities! Music! Are you kidding me?
I am glad Christmas and the New Year are still a few weeks away. This isn't the kind of exhaustingly leaden stuff with which I am planning to wind up an year of otherwise beautiful cinema! Grr.