They call him fun-in-law, Mr. Marumakan, and he takes you to Bollywood, a good twenty years back. The film tries to get away with the trite story that it tells with some rancid jokes that would make anyone want to become a run-in-law.
Ashokan has rechristened himself as Chakravarthy (Dileep), since he feels that the latter name befits a superstar that he would be one day. He is beset with financial troubles, has a drunkard brother (Biju Menon) and runs a theatre company to make ends meet. Enter an ombudsman (Bhagyaraj), all set to confiscate his property for the bank, the loan of which is long due, and Chakravarthy finally sees a chance to put an end to all his troubles.
'Mr. Marumakan' has three women in it who lead the fray - Rajakokila (Sheela), her daughter Rajamallika (Khushboo) and her daughter Rajalekshmi (Sanusha). What they have in common is their antagonism to men in general, and the film cashes in on the assumption that women without men around tend to grow conceited and a bit too haughty.
So here are the three of them, having a whale of a time generally, until Chakravarthy decides to woo Rajalekshmi. He has had the opportunity to grow up along with her, and even has a tainted photograph of them together, stashed away in a photo album. He grins at the photograph sheepishly, and you know that he has fallen in love.
What does one do, when one has to teach a woman a lesson? As is the case with almost all such films, you could impress her with your intelligence, your word power or your humanitarian concerns, or could play the perfect rescue man, who would see to it that she is never, ever hurt. Or as is more common, you could simply stun her with a tight slap.
Talking of slaps reminds me that it almost seems like a slapathon is on in full swing, going by the way they beat the color off each other's cheeks! I'd have loved to count, but the instances are far too many, that you give up half way through. Rajamallika slaps the servant, the stenographer and the advocate for starters. Hamsa gets slapped all around, but given its Suraj Venjarammoodu playing the role, that one isn't a surprise. Chakravarthy slaps Rajalekshmi, who in turn slaps a security guard and a waiter.
They do finally resort to use that one last arrow that remains in the armor, and brings in a flashback that throws light on a sepia toned past that Rajakokila had been through. The world topples down before the women, and they finally see sense. Thankfully there isn't any thunder and lightning! They give up the flashy sarees, dress up coyly, sport some sindoor on the forehead and even wear some jasmine on their hair. As they stand in front of the men, with their heads bowed and voices pacified, their transformation though abrupt and swift is declared complete.
It was in 1990 that 'Jamai Raja' happened, and almost twenty two years later, the witty son in law who locks horns with an arrogant mother in law, are at it again. We do have a grand mother in addition, who is destined to add that extra twist to the tale. And of course the girl in question is no admirer of the hero, as it once happened in Bollywood.
There are a few songs in the film that appear at regular intervals. One even appears at the very end of almost three long hours, and the circumstances under which it drops on you like a bomb shell are plain revolting. The two song kinds that have almost become extinct - the rain song that has the lead actress all wet and soaked and the chasing around song in which they chase the much aggravated heroine around poking fun at her -make a reappearance.
Dileep looks quite comfortable playing the 'Marumakan', but the only actor worth remembering in this melee is Khushboo. She does a neat job of being the egotistical, big-headed mother in law, and is every bit the role that she essays on screen. Sanusha makes an impressive debut.
'Mr. Marumakan' offers little wackiness when it comes to humor since the jokes never build up. It has little on offer when it comes to emotions as the situations progress from clumsy to worse. The antics that he is up to make for tedious viewing, and this supposedly fun-in-law is in short, no won-in-law.