Valiyangadi is not an exact remake of the runaway hit of 1980, though the original spirit of the head load workers of Angadi remains the same. They are as agreeable as ever in Salim Bava's version as well, and as men with hearts of gold, they live in perfect harmony, with little money but with plenty of goodwill. Manikuttan gets to play Ananthu in the film who is the leader of the lot; a highly educated youngster who gives up his ambitions of higher studies for his family.
That said and done, Valiyangadi is not exactly an appreciable effort at film making that would have you drooling all over it. And the major reason that contributes to this lack of interest on the part of the viewer is that the story that is as old as the Kozhikode bazaar itself has little new to offer.
There are films that boast of a huge supporting cast, that holds a special significance. Valiyangadi has a whole lot of actors in it, more to serve the purpose of a crowd and less to propel the story forward. They are often seen in tea shops hence, singing parodies that go on for an insanely long time and cracking petty jokes that seem to have been cooked up after the camera started rolling.
The script is what suffers from serious deficiencies, mostly related to creativity. The dialogues aren't any better. Lets take the scene for instance when Gowri (Varada) talks of her love towards Ananthu. In an emotional outburst, the girl proclaims that if she were to weigh her love and her IAS aspirations on the two pans of a balance, her love would totally outweigh the latter.
If you think that was a bit dramatic, you would have to wait to hear Ananthu reprimanding Gowri to forget her love and carry on with her life. There is no way in which the Indian Headload Service would go along with the Indian Administrative Service, he says. Gowri looks stunned; perhaps more by the ferocity of the statement than with the turn of events.
This is a film that depends entirely on its action sequences to keep the time rolling. The action is nothing much to crow about either sadly. There are the regular fisticuffs of course, but nothing to make your jaw drop in amazement. What is indeed amazing is the way in which villains drop out of the sky in the film. To start with we have someone called Kottarathil Pappachan calling the shots. Just as we get used to him, along comes John Christopher who warns that the second half is going to be one with several setbacks for Ananthu. He disappears without a trace and someone called Asal Alam Khan makes a momentary climactic appearance before being shown the exit.
Manikkuttan might be a good actor; but to cast him in a role that an entire audience identifies with one of the most macho actors of all times, is a great offence. Both to Manikuttan and the viewers. To his credit, the young actor tries his best to pump up some power, but Jayan as we remember wasn't all about muscle. The machismo of the yesteryear actor can in no way be replicated that easily, and its here that Manikuttan falters, though for no fault of his own.
Valiyangadi is a regal bore. Action film enthusiasts truly deserve something much, much better.