Annarakkannanum Thannalayathu fits into the Kalabhavan Mani film mould quite adeptly. What I mean is, it starts off with an introduction to the village bumpkin with loads of goodness in the heart, lets him break into a foot tapping song quite soon enough, has him bash up a couple of baddies who simply refuse to listen to him, fall in love with a woman who sees the real him, and finally walk off into the sunset with the girl and his aides in tow.
Annarakannanum Thannalayathu tells the story of Changampuzha Pavithran (Kalabhavan Mani) who is a do-gooder who hails from the land of the great poet. Pavithran is bound to be around if a soul finds itself in distress. A bachelor who dreams about meeting his lady love some day, Pavithran's life goes topsy-turvy when an astrologer predicts that he would get married to a widow who would transform his entire life.
Mani through the entirety of the film looks like he senses something going up in flames. I guess that should have been the script. It very seldom holds water; forget care for logicality and reason.
Let's consider the hero's attempts to find a marriageable widow that are actually intended to rake up some insane laughter. We see his buddies walking into a textile showroom that's quite (un)imaginatively titled as Vidhav, and making a beeline for the salesgirls there who are clad in white.
There is another scene that follows later, which has them having a go at a bride who is waiting outside an operation theatre for the groom who has met with an accident. They are completely pointless and silly, and to top it all the film does not even have one of the most vital ingredients that often saves the film in times as this; which is entertainment.
The best thing about this small film is the title tracks. And I mean that in a very positive sense. It has the entire crew and cast beaming at us alongside their names that appear on screen. And this includes pretty much everyone from the spot boys to the director. It's quite sad that the enthusiasm that's evident on their faces ultimately didn't get transferred to film.
There is not much to talk about performances. The skinniness of the conception and the hollowness of the narration leave the entire cast with so little room to move around that they ultimately turn in evenly single-note performances. Mani is at his usual best though, and supported by Bijukuttan and Jaffer Idukki goes about his business with the usual earnestness. There are the trademark Mani songs as well. The new face heroines Nakshatra and Jayasree fail to leave a mark as well.
I strongly believe they must have run out of intelligent ideas once their basic ground was established. The rest of the script must have been added on like an appendage that would refuse to merge with the main body no matter how hard one tried. Most of the options must have been considered, and the seemingly best ones adopted.
Let me just say that it ain't much of an acorn that this squirrel has dug up.