At one particular point in P Suku Menon's 'Kalabhamazha', Madhava Menon (Thilakan) wonders aloud on the deteriorating standards of the stuff being promoted in the form of art these days. Somehow, it sounds ironic, since the film itself belongs to another era altogether, and it's only with a sense of amazement that one would be able to sit through it.
Malavika (Devika) is the eldest daughter of Madhava Menon, who has just retired from the All India Radio. She is betrothed to Unnikrishnan (Krishna). Malu, is more than a sister to her two younger siblings, since their mother had passed away when they were quite young. Menon, is regretful that he hasn't been able to save much money for his children, and the family finds it hard, to make both ends meet, as days pass by.
'Kalabhamazha' is a film that falters big time, when it comes to the story that it's trying to tell. It's a creaky old story; the kind that has made its exit from even television serials. The all suffering daughter, who takes upon herself the entire responsibility of the family, isn't someone that we are unfamiliar with.
As per the tale requirements, the younger siblings need to stand in contrast to the older one. They are hence foolish, unwise and downright pragmatic. The younger girl for instance, falls for a film director, and soon realizes that her decision was wrong. The brother on the other hand, takes up a job at a local bank, and finds himself having transformed into a goon.
There is a Muslim family staying nearby, headed by Kunjali (Mamukkoya). His son-in-law, on a job in the Middle East, had been missing for about six long years. Kunjali's grand daughter, throws open the window and keeps singing heartbreaking songs that she hopes her dad would hear some day.
If that isn't dramatic enough, there are several other instances in the story that are way over the top. It's a small world, and Malu soon bumps into her sister's absconding lover, and almost meets with the same fate in his hands. And what follows, is even more theatrical.
There are quite a few debutante actors in 'Kalabhamazha', and performances vary from adequate to appalling. There are also seasoned actors like Thilakan and Mamukkoya, who look bewildered at the kind of scenario that they have found themselves in. There is Krishna too, who has found himself a meaty role after a long while.
The music of the film is what has been much publicized. Reportedly, it marked the coming together of three generations. ONV's lyrics are undoubtedly the best thing about the film, and the musical score that has been composed by Rajeev ONV does have a couple of lilting tunes.
Technically, the film leaves a lot to be desired, and the song picturisations would vouchsafe this fact. To cut a along story short, Kalabhamazha tells an obsolete tale, in a manner that is as archaic.